Learn more about how dysfunctional families can influence addiction, the effects of living in a dysfunctional family, and critical information.
A dysfunctional family is one where there is constant conflict, immoral conduct, and frequent child neglect or abuse on the part of certain parents, prompting other family members to put up with these behaviors. Dysfunctional families provide an ideal environment for abuse, secrecy, addiction, and denial.1
The following are some instances of patterns that typically manifest in families with dysfunction:2
Some of the potential indicators of a dysfunctional family include:
The four dysfunctional family roles will be detailed below.
The caregiver, often referred to as the martyr or enabler, tries to keep everyone in the family satisfied, even if it means ignoring the pressing problems. This position may be played by both kids and adults, which eventually limits the experience of dealing with the main problem since the caregiver keeps picking up the pieces to avoid a tantrum, breakdowns, or rock bottom experience.
By shielding someone from the repercussions of their misconduct, the caretaker also encourages that destructive behavior. It might be a parent whose partner has substance use disorder (SUD), leaving them as the family’s lone caregiver, or it could be a youngster who takes on the role of caregiver for their siblings.
The victim character does not act as if everything is fine. The scapegoat does the exact opposite and expresses the family’s desire. Blaming someone else for their problems frequently provides the family a sense of purpose and shields the addicted family member from most of the anger and guilt.
Scapegoats may be considered rebellious and act out in ways that surprise their family, such as being pierced or tattooed, partaking in illegal activities, and hanging out with disobedient friendship groups merely because they can. While girls in this capacity often flee or participate in acts of promiscuity that might result in adolescent pregnancy, males in this role frequently respond violently.
To be safe and without disturbing the (sinking) boat, the lost youngster makes every effort to fade into the backdrop. Abusive homes, they may feel neglected, disregarded, and afraid to bring attention to themselves. Since they aren’t creating any difficulty, parents may utilize them, like the hero role, to demonstrate how well the family is doing.
The family’s mascot employs comedy and silliness to deflect attention from weighty matters. They are known as the family’s comedians because they use humor to lessen the stress caused by the addiction. They could feel tremendous pressure to intervene when things get hot and tumultuous. They could feel tremendous pressure to intervene when things get hot and wild.3
When they successfully defuse the situation, it puts even more pressure on them to keep the family’s attention off their problems.
The following are effects of living in a dysfunctional family:
Different variations of dysfunctional families will be discussed further below.
A family where one or both parents are caught up with drug or alcohol abuse frequently experiences financial instability and constant parental absence from their children. When the child is hypnotized, they fail to provide for their fundamental necessities, including safe housing, healthy nutrition, clothes, an adequate education, and financial support for medical bills.
A very stressful atmosphere is produced when family members continuously choose conflicts or push each other’s buttons to cause conflict. One family member may respond with even more evil acts if they feel threatened.
Violent and aggressive family members use the threat of bodily punishment to force their partner or children to do something or maintain control over them. No one should go through the horrifying experience of growing up in a tumultuous or violent home. Not all forms of family violence are physical. It may also refer to any actions that make you uncomfortable, such as verbal, sexual, or psychological assault.
There may be a lack of warmth and affection in specific households. Lack of physical love, such as hugs, handholding, and emotional absence, educate kids to bury their feelings. This makes children repress their emotions and find it challenging to communicate with others, resulting in strained relationships.
People can overcome the dysfunctional family curse with the following tips:
Additionally, utilize the resources available. Reach out to San Diego Detox for support if you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse; we are here to help you regain autonomy over your life by equipping you with the necessary tools, techniques, and coping mechanisms for long-term sobriety and wellness.