Stop Engaging in Family Dysfunction

What a revelation in therapy today. Stop engaging in family dysfunction and that’s an appropriate boundary to draw. My family is just being themselves. It’s all they know and they want me to continue my assigned role in the chaos.

But today I stepped out of my role

But today I stepped out of my victim and family scapegoat role. I don’t believe I can trust and work out any issues with my siblings–big or small. Today I reclaim my power. I picture myself, peacefully and quietly, stepping into a boat, pushing out into the calm waters, away from the chaotic family shores. And I do it as a grand gesture of kindness and compassion to myself. It’s going to be an adventure and it will have mountains, lakes, hiking, and exotic foods. I’ll be with my wonderful self or with people I love and respect and who love and respect me. People who are honest, genuine and willing to work through good times and bad.

To stop engaging in family dysfunction means…

To stop engaging in family dysfunction means to loosen the rope that has been twisted so tight, and for a longtime I thought it was reality. But now, I’ve learned that I can loosen the rope and as it unravels I see and smell the decay, and then I watch as the rope disengages and splits in two. I’m removed from the other part and I’m on my own. I’ll take my piece of rope in the boat as a reminder that I’m free from all the strain and pain of being so tightly wound-up. And just like Humpty Dumpty the rope can’t be put back together again.

I wonder though, if I disengage from crazy, let the storm pass and look out on the peaceful waters, if I’ll want to get back into the storm. It’s been my life for decades — chaos, abuse and dysfunction. But no, I may observe it, pause, think about stepping back-in, but then I’ll turn around and walk away. Because today I’m empowered.

I’ve let crazy rule my life for too long

I’ve let crazy rule my life for too long. I’m reposting a quote from my post called: You will find joy in the oddest places because I love how author Barbara Kingslover, in her short story High Tide in Tucson, “takes a good hard look at life in her deep despair to once again find joy, because it inspires me to do the same.

In my own worst seasons, I’ve come back from my colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a simple glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with myself all over again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills. I have taught myself joy over and over again. Barbara Kingsolver, Hide Tide in Tucson.

I tried to take a good, hard look at my family, even at a young age. Safety was in limited supply in my house. I protested the teasing and ridicule, but my mom said my dad did it because he loved me. So ridicule and taunting were love. My brothers also beat me up on a regular basis — I got little protection from that either.

Even then, I dared to think that I had the wrong prescription for my glasses. I thought what I saw was a loving family you could count on and trust. I’d noticed some blurriness — things just seemed out of focus, but I was quick to blame myself for any distortion because of course I had the perfect family! That was not to be questioned — ever!

No family is perfect

I don’t believe that any family is perfect. It’s too high of a standard to reach. I never bought into that illusion anyway. I love the idea of continuing to create my authentic self without the binds of emotional family strangulation. The perfect family is a ruse, it always has been. Because I’ve had the courage to seek help from professionals, I’ve been guided gently, to refocus, to take a long hard look, create my own authentic path, embrace my feelings, good, bad and in between and stop engaging in family dysfunction.

I leave you with an inspiring quote

I’ll leave you with a quote from my favorite book: Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne, so that you can know:

Christopher Robbin sitting with Winnie the Pooh, tiger, piglet, rabbit, Eore and tigger with the quote: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Christopher Robin quote to Winnie the Pooh and friends

I am braver, strong and smarter and I now believe it. If you are in a similar situation, I hope this post gave you some awareness. I hope it speaks to your authentic self and I hope you get help from a therapist, minister, or group support to help you to stop engaging in family dysfunction.

Until next week, from my pen🖊️ to your heart ❤️ — Kathy

picture of the blogger - medium length brown hair, fair skin and smelling
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