Correcting behaviour

If you’re unfortunate to be born into a dysfunctional family where there’s no parent taking responsibility, or one parent’s being given too much responsibility and control over another, it’s easy to see why the cycle might continue with the children.

With dysfunctional families, it’s standard practice for parents to unconsciously delegate roles to their children without realising, so that one child becomes the scapegoat child; another child becomes the rescuer child and another becomes the problem child. I was the scapegoat child, the problem child and in my more lucid moments, the pleasing child.

From an early age, we are all aware of the family dynamics and how family interact with each other. It’s the nature of families and although it took me many years to change my own perceptions, I never stopped trying to carve out a life for myself where and when I could and I have to say that part wasn’t easy. In these circumstances, opportunities are seldom, but learning to become more vocal on how we want to do things, allows us to set our own boundaries.

Through self-questioning and a determination to change things, there’s no reason why anyone can’t learn to stand up for themselves, on their own two feet. We may not be able to change family circumstances, but at least with our own set of beliefs and ideals in place, we eventually get to live our lives, because no one can interfere with those.

As I began to question everything, I began to see and sense an acceptance of where we all were. Not only did it make it easier for me to stand back and look at my situation objectively, it also helped me piece the bigger picture together, so I could see where I could personally make improvements. It’s up to each of us to change things, but I believe our perceptions and approach ultimately do improve dysfunctional behaviour.

I still believe that if nothing improves, we should continue to re-state our own position. That way being in contact with family won’t always feel like a challenge.


20 Jan, 2014

4 thoughts on “Correcting behaviour

  1. I didn’t consider my family as dysfunctional, but maybe we we’re a little.

    I was the one that was the troubled kid and my sister was the perfect kid. Then it carried on to my daughter, as she was the troubled kid and needed nanny to take care of her and my mother’s other grandchildren were or are the perfect children and didn’t need nanny to care for them as much.

    Now that mom is gone, I am the mother I should have been all along, but I can’t give my daughter everything like my mom did, but I can give her support and advice and help in other ways.

    My mother basically took care of my daughter, not because I couldn’t, it was because my mom felt the need to come in and just take over and of course I protested many times, without results.

    1. We’re not always aware that the household we grow up in is dysfunctional, but sometimes that’s exactly what it is. It’s good that you’re able to see that now and with your mum no longer around you now have the opportunity to be a parent to your daughter.

      It’s good that you managed to protest your feelings to your mum Lisa and although you should never have been put in that position, at least your mother knew how you felt about how she was handling your daughter. We cannot always change how things are with certainly family members, but we can be more vocal about what we’re not happy with.

      From what you’ve said Lisa you managed that. You should be proud of yourself. From my own experiences it’s not so easy to do.

  2. Wow, to say my family was dysfunctional is putting it mildly! It wasn’t quite as bad as the show “Shameless,” but I see aspects of it, when I watch it.

    My oldest sister was the scapegoat, my brother the hero, my other sister was the peacekeeper and I was the people pleaser. It was just devastating to me considering how much I wanted to do with my life, but never felt worthy of having anything that was truly my own!

    It highly contributed to the way I lived my life not knowing how to stand up for myself and do what was right for me, not everybody else. I’ve spent many years recently to try changing my behavior so I wouldn’t continue being the same person I was. I still find myself very angry of choices I made when I felt people disapproved which I have to work on.

    I turned my back on someone I really cared about and she may be dead now, so I can’t make that amends. It can be very confusing and frustrating at times, but I know I’m the only one who’s behavior I can change.

    I just want to be a decent human being and be able to be comfortable in my own skin for a change!

    1. I think you’re absolutely right when you say you know you’re the only whose behaviour you can change.

      It must have been hard turning your back on someone you cared about, but you come first and had to. I think you were a different person back then and what you went through will have taken you down many different paths you probably wouldn’t take now. Don’t feel too bad or be so hard on yourself.

      You’re experiences are similar to mine, not knowing how to stand up to those who should have been looking out for me. I have turned things around now, although it has taken me many years.

      I have confidence in you Randy. Feel better soon.

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