Family Dysfunction
What Do We Look Like?

Who are we, anyway?


Back Row, Left to Right. J. J. Jugular (formerly J. J. Bovina), LaSwina, and Indian Giver.

This is a picture of a real dysfunctional family. The faces of the innocent have been left as is to protect their honesty. The faces of the guilty have been changed to reflect their real identity. Honesty is the best policy, I always say! (Nothing in this essay is meant to reflect badly on those who have risen to the challenge and freed themselves from the debilitating effects of family dysfunction)

To those who say the message and attitude of this website is anti-family I reply that family relationships must be honest and fair and when they are not that is what destroys families. Or, put another way, allowing an exploitive and manipulative family member to use us for a doormat does not demonstrate commitment to family. Rather, it raises alarms about family dysfuction that need to be immediately addressed.

When I was in therapy trying to solve problems in my life rooted in family dysfunction and perpetuated by now grown family members I was told, in effect, that I couldn't solve these problems alone and that either the other family members had to get onboard in seeking solutions or I had to stay clear of them. Therapy provided me with the clear understanding that the "Pretend It Doesn't Exist" approach does not solve family problems, but rather, extends them into your adult life and passes them on to the next generation.

For the past three years I have made a full time commitment to the study of both my mother's and my father's families. What I have learned has been enormously useful in understanding the families I arose from and has helped me a great deal in freeing myself from family imposed problems. Consequently, I am left with a low tolerance level for those who perpetuate family dysfunction by protecting, defending, and encouraging it by being willing participants in it.

For myself, I have chosen to confront the family dysfuncion that is so rampant in our family and I can say the truth has set me free. If the truth has not set others in my family free, but rather has cast them into rage, denial, and finger pointing, then that is their problem. The shrill cries of "family destroyer," coming from the worst afflicted and directed at me, are merely one more symptom of the depth of their addiction to the dysfunctional behaviors they could discard if they really wanted to. My understanding of family and relationship to family has improved dramatically since I divorced the members who are compelled by old family patterns to drag me down. If they are happy with their family relationships as they are, then we are all happy now.

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Family Dysfunction