Dysfunctional Family Dynamics

  1. Function vs. Dysfunctional families
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  2. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    • Provides: most maintenance functions
    • Does so much, feels:
    • Tired
    • Lonely
    • Taken advantage of
    • Neglected
    • Empty
    • Gets satisfaction out of being accomplished
    • Feels good when does

    Problem:  Unhealthy guilt & overdeveloped sense of responsibility
  3. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    • Provides: nurturance & sense of belonging
    • May also be Doer
    • Avoids conflict
    • Smoothes out situations
    • Fears abandonment
    • Fears family members cannot stand on own
    • Problem:  Tries to keep family together at all cost
    • Even in presence of violence or death
  4. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    Lost child/loner
    • Deals with family dysfunction by escape
    • Provides:  separateness & autonomy
    • Stays to self and plays alone
    • Aloneness is not healthy
    • Often overlooked because rarely causes trouble
    • Problem:  Has a deep loneliness
  5. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    • Provides: self-esteem
    • Is a high achiever
    • Secretly feels guilty about praise over other members
    • Makes the family proud
    • Problem:  Pays a price in what he/she wants to do
  6. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    • Often one of the youngest
    • Provides:  humor
    • Gives the family a sense of fun and playfulness
    • The mascot’s true feelings never get expressed
    • Problem:  Can be an emotional cripple
  7. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    • Provides: a way to act out the family dysfunction
    • Takes the blame for the family
    • Is the “black sheep”
    • Gets drug addicted, in trouble with the law, etc.
    • May have negative behavior and create controversy
    • If this member wasn’t a delinquent, the family would be healthy
    • Problem:  Costs the person quite a lot 
  8. Roles of dysfunctional family members.
    Dad’s little princess/
    Mom’s little man:
    • A form of emotional abuse.
    • The child becomes a little spouse to a parent and feels good.
    • Denied being child & boundaries violated.
    • Parent afraid or too dysfunctional to get needs met by another adult
    • Problem:  End up in abusive relationships as adults because boundaries were violated as child
  9. Roles of dysfunctional family members
    The saint/Nun/Rabbi/Priest/Preacher
    • Provides:  Spirituality
    • Consciously molded into role
    • Problem:  Feels has no worth if not perform role
  10. In a functional family a child can?
    • Have a sense of acceptance and worth
    • Make mistakes and be responsible for them without being abused
    • Be separate and not be lonely
    • Have fun
    • Have spirituality
    • Have a voice
    • Discuss things openly
    • Feel safe
  11. What are the "rules" of a dysfunctional family?
    • It’s not OK to talk about problems
    • It’s not OK to express feelings openly
    • Don’t address issues or relationships directly
    • Always be strong, be good, be perfect
    • Don’t be selfish
    • Do as I say not as I do
    • It’s not OK to play
    • Don’t rock the boat
    • Don’t talk about sex
  12. What happens in families with weak/diffuse boundaries?
    • Weak and permeable
    • Lacks organization
    • No sense of family 
    • The line between child and parent is not clear
    • No sense of unity
    • Putting children in adult roles violates boundaries
    • No one seems to be in charge
    • There are no clear rules and limits
    • Doesn’t feel like a family
    • Can happen after a divorce
  13. What happens in a family with very rigid boundaries?
    • Person/family is protected and at a cost         
    • Parents 
    • Have difficulty expressing love
    • Are not emotionally or physically present 
    • Won’t empathize with children
    • Won’t play with children
    • Will appear uncaring, distant and detached 
    • Child:
    • will feel alone and unloved
Card Set
Dysfunctional Family Dynamics
Mental Health