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20 Things Only Those Who Are Neither Introverts Nor Extroverts Understand

20 Things Only Those Who Are Neither Introverts Nor Extroverts Understand

Are we like others? Do we exhibit the same traits as our peers, can we be put in a neat little box, or are we unique? Not to get too existential right at the start – but although you’ll find that all people have certain very specific traits that make them who they are, most of us can relate on some level. We all like to belong, to have a group that understands us and shares our interests. This is why you’ll see so many articles online detailing the good and the bad sides of being either an introvert or an extrovert. But what if I told you that you don’t have to identify with one or the other?

Morpheus

    There are actually a lot of people out there who can exhibit some textbook introvert behavior, but at other times they seem like a true extrovert. We are often called ambiverts, but I’m not that big on names, so I just see myself as an in-betweener. It can be a bit weird when you can see eye to eye with both people who like to keep to themselves and people who are always out making friends, yet can’t truly be understood by those living either extreme. There are some things that only those who fall somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert will understand, things like…

    1. We are only an extrovert as long as we need to break the monotony

    Bored

      If you live the life of an introvert (e.g. doing things on your own or being passive during conversations) and yet are not a true introvert, it’s easy to get into a rut. When I get into a routine I start to get nervous, and start planning fun activities with my friends and family. However, I’m only going to party for as long as I need to spend most of that extra energy, and then it’s back to the Fortress of Solitude.

      2. We sometimes wish to be all by our lonesome, but still have plans for later

      alone

        It’s easier than ever to just focus on yourself and have some quality alone time. Just one look at the online shopping statistics is enough to show you that a lot of people prefer sitting at their computer than driving around town and interacting with other people. While I personally enjoy having a quiet day to myself once a week – ordering food and doing my shopping online, listening to music, doing a little dance as I brew a fresh cup of coffee – I still make sure that I’ve got something interesting planed for tomorrow. I know I’ll recharge my batteries and want to have fun with others in a day or two.

        3. We hear about introverts and extroverts, and realize that we can’t choose a side

        something in common

          Did you ever get the feeling that you might have a lot in common with a person, only to say to yourself “Nope, you lost me there buddy,” half way through the conversation? Well, that’s how I feel most of the time. I’ll be there talking to someone who seems to like some of the things I like, but then they go off the rails. Yes I might enjoy hiking – but camping out in the woods for several days with a group of people, followed by other “fun group activities” is really not my thing. At this point an introvert might chime in with “Yeah, it’s much more relaxing to go running by yourself and then read some good books”, at which point you’re just going to have to give up.

          4. We are able to relate to nearly everyone, which is a double edged sword

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          double edged sword

            Another fun thing about being able to relate to the vast majority of people (at least to some extent) is that nearly everyone you meet will want to be your friend. “Hey, you’re a really cool guy, we’ve got so much in common, let’s hang out” – they’ll all chirp happily, but the truth is you simply don’t want or need hundreds of friends. Your introvert side will start panicking and tell you to run for the hills, but your extrovert side will keep getting you into these situations because it’s fun to meet new people.

            5. We don’t mind spending long hours learning something new or developing a skill

            working hard

              When not out meeting new people and making friends through no fault of my own, I tend to spend a decent amount of time hiding from the friends I do enjoy being around, simply because I want to focus on a hobby. You’d be surprised at all the things you can learn if you put in the time and the effort. Chances are you’ve lied about being sick so you can spend a couple of extra hours working on a DIY project or learning French.

              6. We lose focus if we become too isolated

              stupid brain

                While there are times when I will happily go for a run or work on my skills instead of sitting around talking to people, if I go too long without human contact my brain tends to wonder off. I keep thinking about all the fun people are having without me, and I start to miss the long random conversations I have with my best friends over a couple of beers. At some point you can’t really get anything done, because it becomes impossible to focus on the task at hand, and you end up reaching for the phone.

                7. We can sometimes spend 48 hours partying, then go back to quietly sipping coffee with friends

                party hard

                  I’ve mentioned the need for partying that you get after spending a long time on your own, but the truth is that sometimes you just feel full of life and want to do as many exciting things as you can, all at once. Now that I’m a bit more mature and happily married, a nice vacation or a fun weekend out of town with the Missus and our daughter is enough, but when I was younger I’d party for two or three days straight. People who met me during the party phase tended to be surprised at how relaxed and quiet I was when they saw me mere days later.

                  8. We tend to be quite intuitive and can sense how people feel, but sometimes we just don’t care

                  feelings

                    Having spent a lot of time talking to a wide range of different people, I can tell you that being an ambivert makes it a lot easier to sense how people feel, as you can put yourself in their shoes for the most part. However, being able to understand others and being emphatic are not the same thing, and while the tendency is to make an effort to comfort people or hear them out, there are just some times where you can be focused entirely on yourself and not really care.

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                    9. We catch ourselves sitting quietly and observing others every now and then

                    watching silently

                      During those times when I feel especially introspective I often catch myself just kind of sitting there, with a bunch of friends who are chatting over a cup of coffee. It’s not as if you’re not listening to what is being said or that you’re in a bad mood, it’s just that you get contemplative and start observing the whole situation like an outsider gathering information. You can feel warm and cozy in your own head, and really not have much to say, although you actually enjoy the company.

                      10. We can also get excited and become the life of the party in the right circumstances

                      life of the party

                        It always amazed me how fast I could go from quiet and somewhat distracted to chatty and witty when the mood struck. For me it was always about having the right kind of people around, and I usually needed someone to give me a push in the right direction by bringing up a topic I am passionate about. It is a wonderful transformation, but that euphoric feeling can dye down slowly if there is no-one to keep feeding the fire.

                        11. We sometimes spend time among people we don’t know, and we tend to get really shy

                        shy

                          You see, one of the biggest triggers that pushes most ambiverts into “fun and talkative mode” is the presence of good friends. As long as you have someone you know well with you, you can relax because you know you can switch between casually talking to a friend and telling a few interesting stories to a few people that were part of the extended group. However, once you’re among strangers, you become shy and somewhat clumsy.

                          12. We will still get quite talkative among good friends

                          talking with friends

                            Ah, those rare moments of pure bliss when you get a little drunk with a few good friends and start blabbing about random little things, jumping from topic to topic and barely even stopping for breath. These are great opportunities for those who only know you as the quiet and mysterious one to see your other side.

                            13. We have clear spikes and lulls in our activity levels throughout the week

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                            activity lulls and spikes

                              If my life was presented in graph form, it would probably look something like the lines on a heart monitor. Oh sure, there are strong heartbeats in there, and during those periods we are larger than life. Our phone won’t stop ringing, we keep looking for people to hang out with on social media and there is always someone at our house having a coffee or a beer. However, there is a noticeable silence in between beats, with plenty of missed calls and quiet nights in front of the TV with significant others.

                              14. We surprise our close friends when they see us being reserved during social occasions

                              reserved gentleman

                                Because of all that talking that we ambiverts tend to do around close friends, they envision us as a social butterfly. They think that we are talkative and relaxed in all other occasions, because that is what they have experience with. My friends would experience shock and confusion when they saw me, the quirky chatty guy, just smiling politely and exchanging a few words here and there during big social gatherings.

                                15. We often find that we just want to leave a party and spend the rest of the night alone

                                so long farewell

                                  This one is very difficult to explain to people – I actually like hanging out with friends and a bunch of people I don’t know, as long as I am in a good mood and the atmosphere is stimulating. I have a specific taste and there are several things that I find fun, and if none of these elements is present then I simply leave. It might have been a good party at the start, but it’s not uncommon for me to start thinking that I’d have a much better time watching a movie at home or scrolling around social media.

                                  16. We find it’s easy to get confused about what we really want

                                  i do not know what i want

                                    Given the fact that ambiverts can be all over the place when it comes to their energy levels and general mood, we often find ourselves confused about what we want. I’ve had friends get mad at me because they thought I was messing with them when I would change my mind about whether I wanted to go out about 6-7 times in 10 minutes. The switch between introvert and extrovert is not always a smooth and easy one, and it pays to have patient and understanding friends.

                                    17. We like to talk for hours on some subjects, but small talk bores us out of our mind

                                    small talk

                                      I’ve already mentioned that my friends tend to see me as a chatty person, and I’ve been known to be quite interesting when meeting new people if the conversation steers towards something I find interesting – however simple social interactions where people keep up the pretense that they respect and enjoy each other’s company can drive you mad. I never liked talking about the weather or asking arbitrary questions like “How’s the wife?” or “So, what have you been up to?” just to kill the time or because I bumped into someone I haven’t seen in a while in the street.

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                                      18. We never feel truly bored, but we can get a bit lonely at times

                                      lonely

                                        I’ll be the first one to say that you can be your own company as long as you have a little bit of imagination, a sense of humor and a positive attitude. However, while I won’t necessarily run out of things to do on my own or with a few close friends, I can get definitely get lonely and start missing the chatter and laughter you get with a group. This is why we can’t stay passive and closed in our own heads for too long.

                                        19. We don’t spend too much time socializing because it can drain our mental energy

                                        Mentally draining

                                          Just as sitting around the house and going to the same few coffee shops with one or two close friends tends to eventually push ambiverts into a more active phase, so too does being overly friendly, going to all the big events and being around other people on a daily basis cause us to eventually go into hibernation. It’s all about a balance between being open to the world and having some privacy, and too much human contact can be rather mentally exhausting. If I’m energetic and ready to hit the town one day, and then I keep giving excuses so I can stay at home the next, it’s not because I don’t like a person very much – I just need a break from people in general every now and again.

                                          20. We struggle to find a partner that can get used to both sides of our character

                                          quirky character

                                            With all these complex emotions, mood changes and character traits from both ends of the spectrum, it can be difficult to pin an ambivert down. What I found most challenging is the fact that when I start dating someone it can be quite the challenge for them to get used to both sides of my emotional coin. Again, I’ve been lucky enough to find myself a beautiful wife who, being an ambivert herself and as emotional and stubborn as I am, learned to understand me. It can take some time before you find someone you can be yourself around, both when you feel like closing up and staying silent, and when you want to sing at the top of your lungs, act silly or go out and have fun.

                                            As an ambivert you’ll go between wanting nothing more than to be left alone and have limited interaction with others, and being around plenty of people and having a great time. People will find it weird, some may get a bit frustrated, but on the plus side you get the best of both worlds and may even have an edge when it comes to achieving success, so just be honest to yourself about who you are and enjoy the ride.

                                            Featured photo credit: Hipster man with a fixie bike and smartphone in a park outdoors via shutterstock.com

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                                            Ivan Dimitrijevic

                                            Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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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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