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20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About (+ How to Ditch These Worries)

20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About (+ How to Ditch These Worries)

Sometimes my life feels like it’s stuck in neutral – like I’m stuck in an endless loop of introduction with no progress. It’s during these times in my life that I stop, sit down, close my eyes, and reset my brain for 10 to 15 minutes. In doing this, I drop my so-called “problems” from my mind and awaken feeling fresh and energized.

I am a nerd with a penchant for numbers and tech, so I tracked my worries as I released their grip on me.

Here are some problems I found myself worrying about far too often before I discovered how to meditate and refocus. Life is too short to worry about…

1. Bills

Death and taxes are far from the only guarantees in life. You’ll repeatedly have your heart broken; enjoy the sun, the moon, eat drink, and be merry – and you’ll have a hard time in life without paying bills.

Whether monthly, quarterly, or annually, bills are relentless. If you ignore them, they only get bigger, louder, and more destructive. The thing is: we all have bills…and letting them run your life isn’t going to improve its quality any time soon.

It’s easy to say not to worry about bills. Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to worry about them, but when you’re drowning in debt and have minimal to no income, it’s a little harder to keep wipe those pesky bills off your mind. Being told life is too short to worry about bills is one thing; having the confidence to stand tall despite insurmountable debt is an entirely different beast. I can assure you that losing your house, car, cable, gas, etc. won’t kill you.

Stop fearing your bills – you’re letting them control your life.

What to do instead?

Here’re some tips:

  • Create a budget for yourself and stick to it. Put your budget over anything else. This will help you get a better view of your bills and how they affect you.
  • Cut unimportant bills. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, cut some of your nonessential bills. Cable TV is one of the easiest bills to cut. There’s a plethora of entertainment options out there, and even if you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you’ll be spending less annually than a cable bill.
  • Pay back any debts to family and friends first. They’re the people who will be there for you at the bottom, not your bank and utility companies.
  • Keep your collateral loans (i.e auto loan and mortgage) current. The last thing you want to lose is your home and car. If you have to choose between the two, sacrifice your home over your car. In a worst case scenario, it’s better to be mobile.

2. Money

Money is the cause of and solution to life’s most unnecessary problems. We need bread – there’s no denying that – we just don’t need to allow cheddar to be the source of undue stress.

Always remember that currency is imaginary, and economies don’t exist in nature. Since moolah is imaginary, all of your worries about said funds are in your head. People do some strange things for paper, and I’ll never understand why. Material wealth doesn’t equate to happiness.

What to do instead?

Instead of stressing about your supply of coinage, try focusing on the things that make you happy. If you pursue a job that satisfies your desire for greenbacks, you risk ending up in a career you hate. Dinero won’t solve that problem, nor will it help you find like-minded friends.

People who pursue their dreams and passions always have more fulfilling stages than those motivated by loot.

3. The past

The beef-witted among us who don’t learn history are doomed to hear it repeated over and over by those who do. Most of humanity’s violent wars were waged because of conflicting beliefs over what happened in the past.

The past is important to learn from, but you shouldn’t let it get in your way and become a burden. Instead, face forward, and brush that dirt off your shoulders.

What to do instead?

We all faced obstacles in our past. There’s no need to run from or be ashamed of who you are or where you came from, but don’t let what happened to you distract you from your personal goals.

Learn from your hardships, and fight harder next time. The only way you can continue being harmed by something that already happened is if you let it.

4. Who’s sleeping with whom

Gossip is the worst. I don’t mind talking to my friends or partner about what’s going on in their lives, but I’m entirely uninterested in hearing about everyone’s dating and sex lives.

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Is it doing you any good to know that Joe and Donna are hooking up in the break room at work? Sure, you’ll know the counters aren’t safe to eat off, but you really should already know that. What else are you gaining – a conversation starter? You’ll end up looking like the work gossip, who nobody likes nor trusts.

What to do instead?

Instead of joining the grapes on the vine, worry about you.

While we’re on the subject, there’s really no need for everyone to know who you are hooking up with either. It’s not necessary to hide your sex life (and you should certainly be honest about it with your partner), but it doesn’t need to be in your repertoire of icebreaking conversation fodder.

Life’s just too short to worry about the sex lives of others.

5. Haters

Think about all the celebrities you don’t like or don’t care about: Kim Kardashian has no business being famous, Justin Bieber is overrated, LeBron James is no Michael Jordan. Regardless of how you feel about any of these people, they have successful careers.

Although they get their share of hate mail, successful people continue doing what they’re doing. Now apply this concept to your own life.

What to do instead?

People aren’t always going to like what you do; there’s Haterade in the water everywhere. Whether you’re a local celebrity or a virtual unknown, you’re going to step on some toes.

I’ve met people who are the absolute kindest, compassionate, most thoughtful, and likable human beings, and they STILL have had haters say and do some of the most despicable things to them. If I stopped and stressed out every time someone didn’t like my decisions, I’d never have accomplished anything in life. Don’t stress the haters.

6. Work

There will always be projects, chores, errands, and emergencies at work. Nobody has a career that’s without stressful situations. It helps to love what you do, but even if you don’t, work is a silly thing to get uptight about.

What to do instead?

If you’re not at work, there’s nothing to worry about. If you are at work, then stop crying over spilt milk, roll up your sleeves, and be productive. The less you worry about work, the quicker it goes by.

Never be ashamed of who you are or what you do to earn a living. You’re not defined by your career; you define it.

7. Aging

Getting old is a difficult and scary task – there’s no denying that. We all go through the same stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt. It’s understandable to feel a little bit stressed about aging, but you have to keep in mind there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re going to age whether you like it or not.

There’s nothing you can do to stop the process, but you can embrace it and make the most of your time.

What to do instead?

Aging is a part of life. Instead of worrying about your impending geriatric state, enjoy the present you exist in right now. You’ll only be this old once, so do all the fun things you always wanted to do at that age. Stop wishing you were younger.

Don’t waste your time worrying about not being old enough yet either. Being a kid has its advantages. You get small punishments for making mistakes at school or at home, admission prices are cheaper, and bills are usually free. You can’t speed or slow time. Enjoy your life the way it is right now.

8. Death

Sooner or later in your life, you’re going to have to face the inevitability of your own death. You can’t dodge the grim reaper, and hiding is only going to hinder you from living your life to the fullest. You won’t give your all when you’re holding back.

After you face death, you’ll find it easier to face over and over throughout life. You’ll have more courage and tenacity.

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Death isn’t easy to face; religions have spawned throughout the human history in an attempt to soothe people’s fears of oblivion. If you go to sleep, you may not wake up, and even if you do wake up, no matter how safe you are, we could be nuked by another country or a meteor could fall out the sky and kill us all.

What to do instead?

Unless you’re reading this from a professional shelter, you have no chance of surviving an extinction-level event. Now face mortality, and go live your life.

9. What people think

When I was younger, I always said I didn’t care what people thought of me, but the reality is very different. In my mid to late 20s, I completely stopped caring what people thought of me. By the time 30 hit, I jumped out of an airplane and hit the ground running. I blew the whistle on the banks and started living my life as though nobody was there.

I started being me, regardless of what my friends, family, or the guy at the other end of the barrel aimed at me thought about it.

Fitting in is an advantage in certain situations, but it’s certainly not the end-all, be-all for every situation in life. There are times when you need to keep a low profile, but for the most part, unless you’re a secret agent or political leader, feel free to let loose sometimes and have fun, regardless of what people think of you.

10. Celebrities

Paparazzi follow celebrities everywhere they go, snapping pictures, videos, and sound bites to feed to the convoluted masses. They’d have no reason to take pictures if there weren’t hordes of people hungering to learn the latest celebrity gossip. Why does it matter, though? Does knowing what Mariah Carey is smoking or who Daniel Radcliffe is dating get you anywhere in life?

What to do instead?

There’s plenty more going on in the world outside the lives of celebrities. Stop worrying about their drama.

11. What other people are doing

It’s not just celebrities – some people get into everyone’s business. What can you learn about life from other people’s business?

I’m reminded of times as a kid where I would say “but ___ is going to the movies” as a way of convincing my parents to grant me permission to go. Their answer was a useful lesson: don’t worry about what other people are doing. They’re not paying your bills or putting food on your table. Their problems aren’t yours, and there’s no reason to take them on.

What to do instead?

If you’re constantly following the example of others, you will never get ahead in life. People who get ahead don’t emulate their peers. They walk their own path and inspire others to follow suit. Don’t worry about where everyone else is going or what they’re doing – focus on you.

12. Safety and comfort

It’s nice to have somewhere safe and comfortable to lay your head at night. Comfort foods and our comfort zone are important aspects of our life, and it’s difficult to feel comfortable if you’re not safe. This is why some aspect of safety and comfort is necessary.

You can’t get too comfortable in that shell though. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone and experience life.

What to do instead?

Taking chances is important in life. If you never take chances, you’ll never stand up for yourself, and you’ll likely not have very much fun.

Instead of being meek and introverted, stop worrying about living to be 100, and start worrying about having a little bit of fun. After all, you only live once.

13. Mistakes

Don’t worry too much when you make a mistake – nobody’s perfect.

When you make a mistake (especially a string of them), it’s easy to get frustrated and feel like everything is falling apart. Stress can compound as you race toward deadlines, and the inkling to throw in the towel starts to build up inside.

It’s ok. You may need to pay some sort of retribution for your mistake, but that which doesn’t kill you only gives you an opportunity to prove who you really are.

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What to do instead?

Figure out what caused the mistake and what you can do next time to avoid it or improve the outcome in at least some minor way. Remember what Thomas Edison said about mistakes being the key to innovation; we stumbled upon some of our greatest inventions by mistake. It’s not the end of the world.

14. Winning the lottery

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally throwing a couple dollars down on the lottery. Someone has to win, and it very well may be you.

Someone else also has to get eaten by a shark, struck by lightning, and abducted by aliens, but you’re not waiting for one of these pivotal moments to occur in your life before finally taking action. Why would you wait for some imaginary (and highly unlikely) windfall before giving life your all?

What to do instead?

While it’s ok to play the lottery, don’t put all your chips into that. Don’t depend on the lottery, God, or some other unlikely external factor to come swoop you away from your life – work with what you have.

By pursuing your dreams and goals, you won’t have to worry about the lottery; you’ll feel like you already won.

15. What can go wrong

I’m not going to drive to the store today.

I may run out of gas, traffic will be busy, the store’s probably closed or crowded, they won’t have the item I’m looking for or it’ll be too expensive, I’ll forget my wallet, my car will get hit in the parking lot, someone may shoot up the store while I’m there, my car will break down, I’ll lose my key, and my house will get robbed while I’m gone…

Because of these possibilities, I’m going to sit home all day and do nothing instead.

If you don’t start something because you’re scared of all the things that may go wrong, you’re probably better off, because you can’t be successful if you don’t know how to react when faced with adversity.

No matter how well you make your plans, something is going to go wrong. The United States government is one of the most powerful entities in human history, and they’re constantly running damage control. Do you really think your plan is going to go off without a hitch if even they can’t do it?

What to do instead?

Stop letting what might go wrong stop you from doing what might go right. Start taking actions and stop procrastinating.

I know that fear is hard to conquer, so you must face it, and this guide can help you: A Step-By-Step Guide to Face Your Fear and Stop Procrastinating

16. Worrying

After a while, your worries start to pile up to the point that you begin to even worry about worrying. Once you’re stuck in this cycle, it’s very difficult to get out.

Although you’re better off not doing it, there’s nothing wrong with worrying – worrying about worrying is a good sign you need to stop and take a minute.

What to do instead?

If you ever find yourself in this position, the first thing you need to remember is to breathe. Now stop getting frustrated with you.

If life is too short to worry about death, it’s certainly too short to beat yourself up over being human and having a natural reaction.

17. The pricetag

When I was a kid, I loved Pop Tarts, but my parents were poor (which came hand-in-hand with cheapness), so we’d get the generic version, which taste like cough syrup. Sure, they saved $1 on the face value of the generics, but it put me in a position where not only did I still crave Pop Tarts, but we were stuck with generic garbage that inevitably went stale since no one ate it.

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This is a pattern that continued throughout much of my childhood.

Price isn’t everything. Worry about the quality and value of the product you’re getting (especially food and pharmaceuticals). McDonald’s dollar menu won’t cut it when you’re in the mood for a good steak.

What to do instead?

I hate to sound bourgeois, but quality is an important aspect in life.

If you want a really nice jacket, work hard, sell a few things, and save up the money to buy the one you really want instead of settling for a product you’re not happy with simply because it’s cheaper.

18. The small stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Little things go wrong every day in our lives.

You woke up late, a dollar short for your lunch, got splashed by a car walking through the parking lot, tripped going up the stairs, and your zipper was down for a really important meeting…

If you consider that a bad day, you’re archiving your life the wrong way.

What to do instead?

Instead of getting frustrated by the little things, focus on all the positives.

The sunset, cloud formations, the smell of the trees and flowers around you, food, drinks, love, passion – there are entirely too many great things happening on a day to day basis to worry about the little annoyances in life.

19. Anything else outside your control

My girlfriend’s mantra when life gets too stressful is, “this too shall pass.” I mix it up between “this is only temporary.” The general idea is to stop yourself from getting annoyed about that which is outside your control.

I don’t like the President, and I’m appalled at the way whistleblowing heroes like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are treated, but there’s nothing I can do about it at the present moment.

I had a cat named Shady (aptly named so because of his tendency as a kitten to purr, nudge, and kneed, then suddenly bite you). Shady was convinced that I controlled the weather and would angrily meow at me whenever it rained. That must be what God feels like listening to everyone’s prayers. I can’t stop the rain – it’s autonomous. Instead, I make the day with hot cocoa, s’mores, and espresso liqueur.

What to do instead?

The easiest way to reduce stress is to stop thinking about all the dumb stuff you can’t control so you can focus on whatever task is at hand – whether it’s good or bad, focusing on your present is the easiest way to either resolve or enjoy what’s happening to you.

20. Being perfect

At the end of the day, you need to accept yourself for your own faults. Life’s too short to dwell on anything for too long unless it makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, but that’s part of the fun.

What to do instead?

Stop wasting your time trying to be faultless. Test your own boundaries, and you’ll begin to enjoy life so much more.

For example, I can’t stand when I don’t finish something up to my personal standards. I have an almost Sheldon Cooper-level impulse to finish things, but to help suppress that worry, every so often, I don’t finish…

If you think you’re prone to having a perfectionist mindset, this article may help you: How Perfectionism Secretly Screws You Up (And How to Change Your Perfectionist Mindset)

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

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: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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