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13 Things You Finally Understand When You’ve Found Your Soul Mate

13 Things You Finally Understand When You’ve Found Your Soul Mate

My Soul Mate causes me considerable discomfort. He sees the beauty of my soul but he also sees the ugly small fears of my ego. He knows me intimately and despite or because of this he loves me. He holds me accountable to be my best self. This is incredibly valuable but he is not just a hall monitor of my soul. He protects and provides for my soul and he does the same for my heart and my more corporeal needs. He is my Soul Mate, play mate and so much more. I am the same for him. Here are some things I have finally understood after finding my Soul Mate. I hope you will too.

1. You Don’t Have To Lie Anymore

When you meet your Soul Mate you finally understand the most valuable lesson in life. You no longer need to lie about who you are. This can be a painful realization. Your lies can be prettier than your truth. A soulmate says “show me your uglies” and though they may not like the lies you’ve told yourself and others – they stick around and help you restore authenticity. The little lies may be pretty but the authentic you is stunning both to your soulmate and the world.

In my life I have made some pretty difficult decisions and some enormous mistakes. I have hidden past embarrassments, lied to myself about my own personal foibles and lied to others about my short-comings. Meeting my Soul Mate released the demons. Will the real me please stand up? Yes, with pride.

2. You Learn About New Ways To Have Fun

When your Soul Mate walks, runs or falls into your life suddenly you have a lot more fun. You do things you never thought you could do. You take up skiing, you learn to speak German, you read to each other in bed – and you laugh during sex. Things that are fun – are a lot more fun. Things you thought you could not enjoy – become enjoyable. Your Soul Mate is your play mate.

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3. You Find Meaning In The Mundane

You are folding laundry with your Soul Mate and your eyes meet his. He is there and you are there. In that moment there is magic. You realize that the best moment of your life may be when he is holding one end of the sheet and you are holding the other. It’s like the dogs eating spaghetti in Lady & The Tramp.

4. You May Be Out Of Sync

You and you Soul Mate may not always be in sync. I have had moments where I have felt incredibly connected to him and he has been thinking about hockey. I have come to understand through my Soul Mate that it is okay if we are having different experiences at different times. This is your Soul Mate – he’ll stick around: you’ll get another shot at this kind of moment. It’s also funny in retrospect. I am gazing at him with love and longing and he is coming to grips with The Canucks decision to trade Luongo.

When you meet your Soul Mate you realize that there are indescribable things that make them perfect for you. You may not go sailing with your Soul Mate but you sure do like the cut of their jib. There is something about their toed-in walk, the width of their shoulders, the curve of their neck, their gummy smile, their unibrow, their lispy talk, the callouses on their hands… There are things that you find absolutely irresistible about them that probably wouldn’t be listed together on the top ten list of any other person in the world but they really do it for you.

5. You’re There When They’re Down

Your Soul Mate is having a bad day. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  When you have a Soul Mate you finally realize that you need to do what they need to help them – not what you would like to do. You listen. You don’t talk. You don’t make things better. You understand. You wait until the dust has settled and bring on the chips, the haagen daz, the foot massage. You do what is needed because you understand this is one of the days your Soul Mate needs to release the poison before you help heal the wound.

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6. You Read Their Mind

Your Soul Mate sends out waves that only you pick up on. You sense, from across a crowded room, that they need to be extricated from a dire conversation with a dour companion. You burst into laughter with them as they merely think a funny thought. You nod your head in agreement as they lift an eyebrow in response to an irrational proclamation. In short – you have a Soul Code with your Soul Mate.

7. You Make Your Soul Mate Better

It is a popular idea, a sweet idea, that your Soul Mate accepts you as you are. Well, I don’t know about you but I have some pretty ugly scars and I don’t mean my stretch marks. So does my Soul Mate. It is my job and it is his job to say hey, you have a little scar tissue built up here and you are using it as an excuse to behave in a very unflattering way.

Take my stretch marks. My stretch marks are no reason whatsoever to prevent me from swimming with my son. My lack of facility with numbers does not allow me to be a bad bookkeeper. A frustrating day at work does give my Soul Mate a free pass for the grouchies when he walks in the door. We make each other better by acknowledging that each of us can be or do better. It does not mean we love less or are not accepting our Soul Mate. We accept and expect the best of them and offer the best of ourselves.

8. Your Heart Goes Boom When Your Soul Mate Is In The Room

Zing go the strings of your heart. Over and over again. My husband is my Soul Mate and he takes my breath away. He can also make me supernaturally enraged but that’s another story for another article. Getting back to the taking my breath away part. He does. It’s not any one of the innumerable things about him that makes my heart skip a beat it’s the all of him. In his entirety, in an inexplicable way… he is it for me. No one can compete.

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9. Your Soul Mate Is A Surprise

Your Soul Mate may not be who you thought he would be. I thought my soul mate would be an Atticus Finch type and we’d live a child-free life on Park Avenue, read the New York Times in our matching pajamas in bed. Imagine my surprise when I met my lumberjack of a husband and went to live in his off the grid cabin in the woods. Then at the ripe old age of 44 I and the lumberjack (who is 50) have a baby. Surprise! He doesn’t even wear pajamas but he does make a mean cup of coffee and it’s certainly a pleasure to watch him chop wood without a shirt on. Lumberjacks stay pretty fit from all that chopping wood and hauling water.

10. Your Soul Mate Is Not You

When you finally meet your Soul Mate you understand that the love your your life, the mate for your soul, does not have to be just like you. It’s not important that you share a sense of humour, read the same books or hold the same opinions. You may not. What you do have is the spark that comes from divergent ways of seeing the world. This is not opposites attracting but finding the piece of the puzzle that fits.

It doesn’t mean you were not complete prior to meeting your Soul Mate – it means that your Soul Mate gives you the strength or ability to be more with the goods you were given. It’s like an upgrade – suddenly the you machine runs much better. Your brain expands when you’re with your Soul Mate. You are able to see life in an entirely new way. It is because you are so close and have such respect for one another that you can see the world through their eyes.

11. You Trust Your Soul Mate

Your Soul Mate can be trusted with your secrets, your fears and the keys to your car. There is never a moment of doubt. Your Soul Mate is safe as houses. The older you grow the more you realize that most people are fighting for themselves. Expect your Soul Mate. Your Soul Mate is also fighting for you and he is the one you completely trust.

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12. You Feel At Home

Speaking of houses…your Soul Mate is your home base. Whether you are living in a cabin in the woods, a penthouse on Park Avenue or a house in the suburbs you are finally and inextricably home. Your Soul Mate is your own personal feeling of home.

13. You Are Free

Your Soul Mate doesn’t mind if you leave for a while. If you have to travel for work or you need to be alone for a day or two your Soul Mate can let you have that freedom. A Soul Mate understands that something stronger than physical presence tethers your souls together. When your Soul Mate is free… you are free.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

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.
  • Adultery…
  • 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.

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
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

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?

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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.

Verbalize it.

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”

Or:

“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.

Or:

“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:

1-Stop.

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.

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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…

The method

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.

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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…

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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.

Putting distance

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

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