How to Break the Cycle of Dyfunction

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Recognising Family Dysfunction

Every family has a level of dysfunction, those family secrets that are not talked about outside of the home; abuse, addiction, problem child, mental health.

Did you know that these dysfunctions are passed down through generations?

  1. Violent men raise violent boys.
  2. Addicts raise addicts.
  3. Codependent women raise codependent daughters.
  4. Anxious parents raise anxious children.
  5. Victimized women raise girls to be victims.

Now this does not happen in every single case, but there is an increased likelihood that dysfunction will be passed down to the next generation. A child of dysfunction will either follow suit and continue the cycle, or veer the opposite way and take a left-wing stance for their own lives, but will continue the cycle by choosing a life partner who mirrors the dysfunction.

Why the Cycle?

This answer is simple; we can only teach what we know.

  1. If we know that the best way to get what you want is to threaten violence, then that is what we teach. (abuse)
  2. If we know that the best way to handle stress is to drink, then that is what we teach. (addiction)
  3. If we know that the best way to stay safe is to appease our partner, then that is what we teach. (codependence)
  4. If we know how to worry ourselves crazy about everything, then that is what we teach. (anxiety)
  5. If we know that our lives are dictated by the events that happen TO us, then that is what we teach. (victim)

Take a Look at Your Own Family

As I said, every family has some dysfunction. The first step to breaking the cycle is to recognise the cycle. What runs in your family? The best way to truly assess the toxicity or dysfunction in your family is to create a Genogram.


I used my own family in the example and I am child #2. As you can see, we have a long history of mental health issues & addiction. These issues did not directly effect everyone, but it did effect the course of their lives.

How Do I Break the Cycle?

Your past is not your fault, your future is your responsibility.


Breaking the Cycles of Dysfunction is Possible.

  1. Create Awareness – start with your own genogram. grab a large piece of paper, pencil crayons & a ruler. Start with you, your siblings, children; working down. Then add your parents, aunts, uncles & grandparents. Use the legend in my example or create your own. When you are done, assess your diagram. What stands out? What have you learned?
  2. Ownership – What role do you play in the cycle of dysfunction? Are you anxious, a victim of abuse, child of addiction? You see, you only ever have 2 choices – You are part of the problem – or – you are part of the solution. Which will you be?
  3. Observe – with your new information, observe family interactions. How are difficult situations handled? Who over-reacts & when? Is conversation assertive or passive/aggressive? Do you recognise any of these behaviours in yourself?
  4. Children of dysfunction adapt a certain role or persona. Which one are you? Which persona have your children adapted?
  5. Find Support – There are several groups that help you recognise & offer support through family dysfunctions. Women on a Mission is a great place to find support on-line. You may also choose to Google groups in your local area.
  6. Social Awareness – take a look at all the people you surround yourself with – does the toxicity extend to your social circle?
  7. Patience – be patient with yourself. Having this new information or awareness can be overwhelming. Understand that the dysfunction in your family has been building for generations. It will take time for you to adapt to a new way of life.
  8. Seek Assistance – the most effective way to break the cycle is too seek assistance from a professional. If the damage runs deep, you may need to seek therapy or counseling. A Life Coach will help you assess your new information & work with you to overcome old habits.

Fast Track your Success

Your life experiences include fear, uncertainty, insecurity, loss of power or control. However; all of these have given you a very unique set of skills. Skills that can & will propel you into a much brighter future!! I know this because you are reading this blog post. You know that your current situation is NOT your final destination. You know that you want something different, but you’re not sure how or where to start.

If you’d like to know who you really are, without the weight of dysfunction, follow this link to experience your very own life-changing Power Hour.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist.

Andrea Scarborough Life Guide

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