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.