“You know when you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss
Even if we’ve had our heart broken a few times, and we believe that being cynic is easy, fairy tales portrayed in movies always warm our hearts. The best love stories are the ones that go beyond life and death. They not only foretell happiness or togetherness but they triumph over mistakes and missteps in life and arouse the feeling that goes beyond insanity that’s socially accepted.
Love is sacred and the greatest love stories provide the kind of feeling we always aspire to enjoy in our lives. I know you’ve heard stories of Romeo and Juliet, but there are more heart wrenching stories that are sure to make you emotional. Check out these 10 crazy real life love stories that would warm your heart.
1. Dashrath Manjhi – The man who broke mountains for love
“I would move the mountains for you.” If you’ve ever been in love, you might have heard soothing lines from your partner or chances are you might have told your loved ones too. Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the ‘Mountain Man’ did it for real. He split a mountain for his love.
Dashrath Manjhi, a destitute person in Gehlour, a small village in India lost his wife when he could not take her to the doctor after she fell off of a cliff. With strong determination, and often being called a ‘psychopath’, Dashrath took 22 years breaking stones in the mountains to pave a 400 feet long and 30 feet wide road that connected the village to the nearby city. His only motive was to provide people of his village with access to medical services so that nobody would lose a loved one like he did.
2. Faizul Hasan Quadri – The man who made the second Taj Mahal
Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz in 1632, Taj Mahal is often considered as the epitome of love. A 77-year-old Indian man named Faizul Hasan Quadri also vowed to build his ‘monument of love’ for his wife Tajammuli Begum in Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Faizul married Begum when she was just 14 and he taught her to read and write in Urdu. The couple had no child and his wife always worried if she would be forgotten after her death. Quadri promised to build her a mausoleum and that she’d be remembered for ages.
“We were together for more than 58 years, and love grows with time. Now that she is gone, she is always there in my thoughts,” he says. Tajammuli died of cancer in 2011.
3. Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook – Love that went beyond death
Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook had plans to get married soon after Deffy completed his studies. But his life was devastated after he learned the news of Sarinya’s death in an accident even before the two finalized a date to tie the knot. But death could not beat his love. Deffy married his deceased girlfriend in a combination funeral and wedding ceremony where he placed a ring on Sarinya’s hand, his girlfriend of 10 years and kissed her in a ceremony in Thailand’s Surin province.
4. David Hurd and Avril Cato – Two lovers who became one sharing letters
People write letters to their loved ones all the time. But, the story of two people who got close through letters and got married the first time they saw each other is pretty heart-welcoming. Yes, that’s how David Hurd and Avril Cato became one.
David Hurd moved to New York City in 1907 and that was when he started writing letters to Avril Cato, an unknown woman in the Caribbean who he’d never seen in life. The two started sharing letters and became close. A year later, David proposed Avril to get married and the two met for the first time on their wedding day in August 1914 in Jamaica. These two faithful pen-pals developed a deep and passionate commitment through their exquisite use of art of letter to become one.Advertising
5. Kurt Klein and Gerda Weissmann – Love during a time of war
Gerda Weissmann, a Polish-born American writer was forced to March by the Nazis for months along with 4000 other Jewish women. She lost 65 family members during the time of war and only 120 of those women in the march were alive and abandoned in a factory where they lived without proper food for days. She was one day shy of her 21st birthday, wearing rags and not bathed in three years when Kurt Klein, a Lieutenant in the United States Army force found her and rescued. The couple was engaged in September 1945 and married shortly after.
6. Anna and Boris – Two lovers who reunited after 60 years
Russian couple Anna and Boris were only married for three days, when Boris bid him adieu to join the Red Army Unit. Anna and her family were sent to an exile and the two lost contact with each other. Boris tried finding her but had no luck while Anna also had thoughts of committing suicide but remained hopeful that she’d find her man someday.
One fine day, Anna Kozlov caught sight of an old man moving out of his car in Borovlyanka in Siberia and she was breathless. She could not believe her eyes when she knew that the man clambering out was Boris.
“I thought my eyes were playing games with me,” Anna said. “I saw this familiar looking man approaching me, his eyes gazing at me. My heart jumped. I knew it was him. I was crying with joy.” The couple reunited and romance blossomed again after 60 years.
7. Eija-Ritta Berliner-Mauer – The lady who married the Berlin Wall
Eija-Ritta was only 7 when she saw the Berlin Wall for the first time on television and she felt head-over-heels when she saw the wall. Eija developed a fetish for inanimate objects and married the concrete structure in 1979. Her surname also means Berlin Wall in German and when the structure was brought down in 1989 she was in tears and said ,”What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband.”
Eija-Ritta was later diagnosed with a condition called Objectum-Sexuality. Though she remained virgin as a human, she insists she has a full, loving relationship with the wall for having married the structure for more than 29 years now.
8. Bonnie and Clyde – Two accomplices who loved each other
Love is blind and Bonnie and Clyde prove the same. Bonnie and Clyde, two lovers who disobeyed laws in the United States during the Great Depression robbed a lot of banks, small stores and gas stations while also killed nine police officers and several civilians.
The two met on January 5, 1930 at Clarence Clay’s (a friend of Clyde) house at 105 Herbert Street and became close friends in no time before confessing their love for each other. The two ran a gang and were known to be involved in a lot of notorious crime during the Public Enemy Era (1931-1935). The two remained loyal to each other during their life and even at the time of the violent death with gunshots they predicted as inevitable in 1934.
9. Helen and Les – A lifetime of love
Couples make promises to live together and die together. Helen and Les proved the same. Call it a matter of sheer luck or crazy true love, Helen and Les were born on the same day on December 31, 1918. The two attended the same school where they met each other and fell in love.Advertising
These high school sweethearts eloped and lived 75 years together. During the last days of their lives, Les was sick with Parkinson’s disease and slipped to coma while Helen was battling stomach cancer. She died on July 16 and Les passed away a day after without even knowing about his wife’s death. The couple were both 94.
10. Shah Hussain and Madho Lal – Two lovers together even after death
Shah Hussain, a Punjabi Sufi poet also called as the Sufi saint fell in love with a Brahmin boy called “Madho Lal”. Though gay marriage was not legal anywhere in the world before this century, the two shared a mutual feeling for each other and dared to confess their love in Pakistan, a Muslim state when they lived during their 1960s.
The two are often referred to as a single person with the composite name of “Madho Lal Hussain.” Thousands of people visit the shrine and the tomb during the “Mela Chiraghan” (Festival of Lights) where the two rest together in silence.
Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via pixabay.com
Last Updated on November 11, 2019
Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?
A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.
You know how this looks:
- Parents constantly comparing children.
- Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
- Domestic violence.
- And many others.
For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.
Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.
Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.
This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.
In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.
If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.
Table of Contents
How to fix a dysfunctional family
In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.
And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.
Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?
It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.
Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.
Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.
There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…
Dysfunctional… Or just average?
Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.
The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.
You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…
A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.
Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.
Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of interest and time spent together
- Lack of empathy
- Unequal or unfair treatment
- Disrespect towards boundaries
- Control Issues
- Verbal and physical abuse
- Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse
The link to productivity
You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…
If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.
Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.
How to turn it around
When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.
But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:
One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.
We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?
As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.
What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?
Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?
Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…
Correction is possible
In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.
All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.
Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.
This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.
But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.
So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.
Putting it to work in real life
In real life it would be something like this:
“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”
“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.
“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.
As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.
This is what you have to remember:
2-Why it’s wrong?
3-What you need.
And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.
It’s a family thing
A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.
Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.
In other words, you will need cooperation…
So don’t be afraid of asking for it!
Approach your family member and ask to be listened.
We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.
You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.
It’s not a free-for-all battle
In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.
No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.
Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.
And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…
1. Drop the ego
Wherever there is conflict there is ego.
You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.
Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.
What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.
It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.
After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…
Tell the other person how important all this is to you.
Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.
Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.
And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.
You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…
2. Not blame, but responsibility
When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.
But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…
When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.
What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!
Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.
As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.
You will do something like this:
“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.
I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.
You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.
I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.
It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”
What happened here?
We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.
We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.
We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.
And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.
You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.
This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!
3. Doing the work
What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!
This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.
Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.
If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.
It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.
“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.
I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.
But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”
You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.
Love is all you need
You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.
That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.
And what happens if it simply is not there?
What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?
What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?
There is only one thing you can do:
To break away.
Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.
There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:
“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”
If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…
Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.
You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.
So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.
What do I mean?
Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.
Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.
Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.
Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.
They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.
Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:
I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…
I choose my peace of mind.
And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…
Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.
Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.
How to prevent it
There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:
- To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
- To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)
Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.
You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.
Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.
Priorities and clear thought
You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.
You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.
You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.
Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…
If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.
And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.
Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.
But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.
Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com