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Stop Killing Yourself! 25 Ways You are Secretly Doing Yourself In

Stop Killing Yourself! 25 Ways You are Secretly Doing Yourself In

Life is so weird isn’t it?

We are taught from a very early age that if we think certain ways and do certain things, all will be well. We will find our perfect love and live happily ever after.

It doesn’t take long to realize that it is a load of BUNK, but we have no true information to take the place of the weird ideas that were supposed to make our lives wonderful.

Also, there are many ways we do ourselves in without knowing it and in order to knock it off, we have to dig down deep and root out the false ideas that have been sold to us. These false ideas make us decide to do the destructive things.

1. Spending time with the wrong people.

I learned very early on that in order to be successful in life, you had to hang out with successful people. People who view themselves as failures look for and find all kinds of excuses for their failure.

They then give you these excuses as though they are fact. If you start believing them, you fail too. Simple.

Hang out with successful people and do what they do. See what works for them and what doesn’t. Then do the things that have worked.

There is no secret to success other than finding out how to do it. And who knows how better than someone successful?

2. Running away from difficult situations.

When you run away from your problems, guess, what? They come with you!

Like the parking ticket that you decide to ignore, they grow and grow until they cannot be ignored any longer.

Take the time to look over your life and see if there are any problems that you are not confronting and handling. If so, have a look at what the actual problem is and do something about it. Even if you don’t handle it all at once, at least you will have started.

3. Allowing people to destroy you.

There are certain people in life who are out to destroy not only you, but everyone in their environment. They are a small percentage of people but the damage they do is horrible.

You will know these people because they constantly put you down, stomp on your dreams, pretend that they are helping you when they are actually crushing you. You will know them too by how well or poorly your life goes when they are near.

Ruthlessly weed them out of your life and watch things smooth right out. It is almost magical.

4. Not taking responsibility.

Responsibility has gotten a bad rap these days because too many people think it means blame.

They think that if they admit that they caused something and it went bad, they should be condemned. This is a wrong idea shoved on us by a society that wants everyone to be passive and not do anything.

People are not rewarded for causing things to happen. They are slammed for it. Even if what they caused was good. This makes people want to avoid responsibility which is really just acknowledging that you caused something to happen. Understand that this is a manipulation to keep you sitting down and quiet.

Go make things happen, and know that you have done it for better or for worse. Don’t be afraid.

If those around you are not ok with you being dynamic and a mover and shaker, you are in the wrong company. Go find other movers and shakers and go move mountains.

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5. Being someone else.

My radio co host, Sally Nutter talks about this a lot.

When you try to be someone else so that others will like you, it is damaging for two reasons:

First, you are as much as admitting that you are not ok and have to be someone else to be accepted. This is false. You are good. You do have a lot to offer the world even if it is only your opinion.

Secondly, if others do not like who you really are, you are in the wrong company. Simple!

Sometimes it takes a really long time to find people who are similar to you and have the same ideas about things. You can feel adrift in a choppy sea when you know you are the only one who thinks the way you do.

Go find your group. It is out there somewhere. I promise. It took me half a lifetime to find mine but it was worth every second I spent searching.

6. Holding onto past painful events.

Decisions made in times of pain and anguish, affect you from that point on. Do your best to look at things in the present and realize that there may be times when past pain clouds your judgement.

Understand this and really look at everything in present time.

7. Being afraid to fail.

The big tendency in the media today, is to dig up a past mistake on someone’s part and blast it all over the front pages, out of context. This ruins the person who has been  targeted. This is evil and people who do this have crimes of their own, much worse than anything they are blasting about their victim.

In the early days of silent film, film star, Fatty Arbuckle was framed for murder. He was tried in the media thanks to William Randolph Hearst who admitted that he targeted Mr. Arbuckle. Depite Fatty Arbuckle being completely exonerated in court and an apology issued by the judge for the destruction of his career, Mr. Arbuckle was completely ruined because “Nobody wanted to go see a film starring a murderer and rapist.” He died a broken man. His only crime was being famous.

This vile behavior continues today and certain stupid people pick up on it and imitate it. This makes even the everyday person fearful of doing anything.

The remedy for this is simple. Go out and make things happen. If someone tries to make you wrong for it, hold your position; if they make a stink, start looking into their background. Don’t be surprised by what you find.

If you keep your integrity, more people will respect you than hate you. If you hide, you will never get anything done and you will not respect yourself which is more important.

8. Waiting until you are ready.

Life is funny. Things can be here one minute and gone the next.

If you want to do something important, you have to do it now. If it is a long term project, start it. Put target dates on your action items and get started.

9. Putting yourself last.

This never works! Your life is divided into parts. All parts have to be in balance with each other or they fall apart. How can you be there and strong for others if you are ill or exhausted?

Get your sleep. Eat well. Take your vitamins. Keep your personal things in order. If you go by the boards, there will be no one to do all the things you do for everyone else. You have a DUTY to care for yourself.

10. Being envious.

I see this a lot. People who are envious seek to tear down those who have something they do not have and want.

When you destroy someone else, you destroy yourself. Call it Karma or whatever, but it is a truth in life.

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Go to that person and find out how they got what they wanted and then go do those things. There is NO reason that you cannot have everything you want in life. Go learn how to get it.

11. Complaining about things and being unwilling to do anything to fix it.

I love people who complain about something and put forth NO SOLUTION. Anyone can do that.

If something is not right you should complain, but never do it unless you have a solution.

It is the difference between being completely effected by things or the powerful cause of things. You can choose which one to be. I can tell you that powerful cause is much more fun than effect.

12. Picking on yourself.

“I am not thin enough.” “I am not smart enough”. “I am not a good person”.

If you are thinking those things about yourself, someone has been telling you them in the past or present. People who tell you these things or imply them are NOT your friends. Ditch them! Then give yourself a break.

A wise man once said “Don’t go into battle with your daggers pointing inward.” You don’t need to help stupid people cut you up. Put your daggers away for now and only take them out when you need them.

13. Believing that you are meat and bones.

You are not. It is that simple. You are a spiritual being in a steak and burger body, navigating your way through a house of cards.

If we were meat bodies, there would be no Sistine Chapel CeilingNo Bernini sculpturesNo Sonata Pathetique. There would be no art in life.

Cows don’t compose great musical masterpieces while sitting around belching up cud. We are not animals. We are much, much more.

14. Blame others.

Again with blame. We should banish that from our consciousness. It is a negative and damaging thing and it is a lie. We cause things. We cause things that go bad sometimes. It does not mean we are bad. We should just make things right again and go about our business.

If everyone did this and we stopped blowing up every minor transgression into a mortal sin, we would all be a lot happier and mentally healthier.

15. Believing what “experts” tell us.

I am sorry to have to tell you this but many “experts” are wrong.

The best example of this is the evidence coming out about how damaging the effect of psychotropic drugs are. These were the rage for awhile and guess what, they are extremely toxic. The lawsuits have been ramping up and it is obvious that the “experts” had another agenda. They were lining their pockets.

Back in the 50’s, there was a drug called Thalidomide. This was given to pregnant women to reduce morning sickness. It was also an anti-anxiety drug. Unfortunately, Thalidomide caused massive birth defects and half of the affected babies did not survive. Those that did had deformed or missing arms and legs.

Look for yourself before believing anything someone tells you, even an “expert”.

16. Thinking you are wrong because someone tells you you are.

Since I have become a popular blogger, you would not believe how many people have told me that I am wrong, stupid, evil and crazy.

But what of it?

I have sufficient power of observation that I can see when something is right or it is wrong and so do you. If we believe it is right, it is right until we see actual evidence that it isn’t.

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The more someone asserts your wrongness without real evidence. The more likely it is that you are right.

17. Having fixed ideas.

False ideas that you believe are true, blind you. After all, if you think you know everything about someone or something, why should you look?

Fixed ideas can be as simple as believing that all men like peanut brittle. These ideas made sense to us for whatever reason at one time and we adopted them. Now we need to relook at them because they may not be totally true.

If you don’t look at things in present time, you don’t know the truth about them. Things change. People change. If you don’t see them as they are, you are living a lie.

Take a fresh look. Take out all those dusty old ideas from the corners of your mind and see if they are still true. If not, put them in the trash.

18. Thinking you don’t have anything to learn.

One of the great things about us as a race of beings, is that we are constantly changing. Every day there are new things to learn.

Those who think they already know everything are missing out. And falling behind.

Be curious. Learn as much as you can every day. You never know when information will come in handy.

19. Denying yourself pleasure.

Did you know that back in the Renaissance period, there was a priest named Savonarola who went around telling everyone that any kind of pleasure was a sin?

He set up giant bonfires in the town square of Florence and burned all of the nice things including priceless paintings, furniture, jewels, anything that gave pleasure to those who owned them. This was called “The Bonfire of the Vanities”. It was evil and it was based on a lie.

Life is a balance. We work hard and in exchange, we owe ourselves pleasure. Most of the things we enjoy are very pro survival. A beautiful dress, a perfectly cooked meal, and beautiful Music are joys benefit you and those around you. Seek out pleasure and create things for you and others to enjoy.

A life that has way more pain and effort in it than happiness, is an unhappy life. If you have a lot of pain in your life, you must over balance it with pleasure in order to be happy.

20. Thinking that anyone else is responsible for your happiness.

I once had a co-worker who constantly trash talked her husband because he didn’t make her happy. I knew him. He was a fine man and worked relentlessly to try and give her what she wanted. She finally left him and went off with some deadbeat. He married another woman who appreciated him and is happy.

Your life is a cake and your partner is the frosting. If the cake is bad. The frosting will not make it good. If the cake is weak, the frosting will not make it strong.

You have the ability to make your life exactly what you want it to be. Make your cake first and then find the right frosting.

21. Trying to make things perfect.

While the search for perfection is necessary for anyone who wants to succeed, one must realize that life is not sitting still. It moves and changes.

Understand this. Never lose the desire to make things perfect. That is a trait of successful people. Do understand that sometimes, there will be coats hung over chairs and that the dog will poo on the rug occasionally. Clean it up and don’t worry about it.

22. Trying to make those around you be perfect.

Everyone has their own idea about who they should be. Many times it doesn’t match what others think they should be.

So what? No one can decide who they should be but that person. They might be perfect in their own estimation.

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Kids especially, tend to be molded too much by their parents. Parents do have the job of making sure the child survives but they do not have the right to insist that their child be someone he is not. It is a fine line.

Talk to your child a lot. Good communication creates a lot of wonderful things.

23. Not Letting others make their mistakes.

I know this is difficult. Those of us who have made epic mistakes are the worst offenders. (Myself included!)

It is hard to watch someone you love suffer something that could have been avoided but honestly, people learn in their own ways and some of us have to really screw up to figure it all out.

24. Thinking that no one cares about you.

Most people do not communicate. It is a sad truth.

You may think that nobody gives a rip about you but that is not true. they care, they just aren’t saying.

You could be the most important person in someone’s life. You could be their entire world. And they may never let you know.

People have been punished too much for communicating so they decide on some level, to stop doing it. Make it safe for them to say whatever is on their minds. Send lots of communication to them and they will open up. It make take time.

But always know that someone loves you. They just do.

25. Thinking that because something awful happened to you, life will always suck.

I thought this for a long time. My life was sucky. If you are going through a bad time, just know that sooner or later you will feel better.

Here is a cure for a sucky life: overwhelm the pain with pleasure.

Do things that you think will give you pleasure even if you don’t feel like it. Keep doing it. Spoil yourself rotten! And keep it up.

If what happened to you was really bad, it will take a LOT of pleasure to counteract the pain. But sooner or later a balance will be achieved and you will find happiness once again.

I have a thing called a “Pleasure bomb.” These are happy  moments in the future that I plant in the present.

For example, send yourself flowers then forget that you sent them, order a box of candy to be delivered months in advance, set up a dinner with someone you love to be with.

There are so many ways to plant “Pleasure bombs” that you will be happier just trying to think up new ones.

Once you have relooked at these old ideas, check out what happens in your life and then write me. I would love to hear about it!

Featured photo credit: Andy Spearing via flickr.com

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Chris Ellis

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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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