We all are social creatures. We always want to be around people, especially our own family, whether it’s a functional or a dysfunctional family. We feel stuck with them and feel responsible for them, and there is nothing wrong with that. “An individual is functional when they are able to effectively work toward realizing valued goal states, given the stressors and affordances they face,” according to Gregg Henriques Ph.D.
Each of us has our particular individuality. It is the by-product of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is how we understand and interact with our surroundings and the people around us. It also affects how we view ourselves. The home environment we grew up plays a significant role in how our personality is shaped and developed.
“The term dysfunctional is defined as “abnormal or impaired functioning” on the part of an individual person, between people in any sort of relationship, or amongst members of a family”, according to Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW. Growing up in a dysfunctional family environment can leave you with a dysfunctional personality. You may sometimes not notice it because you grow up in a place where such behavior seems reasonable, seeing one of your parents behave that way. But it’s not to blame either of them, instead recognize it and find ways to correct them.
Figure Out Which Are You
“Honesty is the best policy.” Be honest with yourself, and you will see how it will set you free.
- The Neglected One. You are either rejected, ignored, or criticized for your feelings and thoughts.
- The Guardian. He is the old man in a child’s body. At an early age, he sees the problem and thought that he has to be mature to take the role of his parents and solve family issues and be the moderator when there is conflict.
- The Fall Guy. As a child, he is often falsely accused that caused him to develop a sense of guilt feeling, making him feel that it’s his fault when someone is suffering.
- The Needy. There’s a feeling of emotional abandonment because of the inconsistent nurturing provided by the parents. He may grow up to be demanding and needy and may lose his identity when living in a codependent relationship.
- The Pleaser. You most likely avoid disappointing people because of fear of being abandoned. You believe that when you make people around you happy, they won’t leave you. It doesn’t matter if it means sacrificing your happiness just to please them.
- The Frustrated. You quickly get annoyed and frustrated when your efforts are not appreciated.
- The Insecure. A child who is being belittled by his parents. He is forced to be a version of who his parents are. He can restrict himself and manipulate his talents and values (sometimes exploiting the weakness of others) just to get love and approval from his parents. He can end up being a manipulator because of his self-doubt and insecurity.
- The Obsessed. The child turns out to be a perfectionist because of the rejections he got from either or both parents. He controls himself so that his decisions and choices will not end up in failure.
- The Loner. Sometimes, because of fear of being abandoned one day, you just chose to be secluded and alone. There is always a feeling of emptiness because you think you are unwanted and unloved.
It’s Okay Not To Be Okay
Do you see a part of yourself in the personality above? Don’t worry, that’s fine. What we are as adults are part of how our parents treated us as a child. It’s the inevitability of life, but it is something we can manage, control, and decide upon once we become parents ourselves.
It is for you to determine if you will continue to live your dysfunctional life. Will you allow all your emotional baggage affect the way you raise your child? Or will you be responsible enough to face it and seek treatment and guidance that you may not repeat the error of your past? “Deciding what you will and won’t compromise is just as essential and this starts with being honest with the impact your family are having and listening to what your instinct is telling you to do next,” says Karl Melvin, counselor and psychotherapist.
Leaving your dysfunctional life doesn’t mean you have to be a perfect parent so you’ll have perfect kids. Our goal here is not to achieve perfection, but to give our kids a healthy, happy, and functional family that they may become confident, secured, stable, and better social creatures.