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The term dysfunctional family has become popular in the last several decades, but many people do not really know what the term means. A dysfunctional family is an abusive family. Some of these families are physically or sexually abusive, but most often they display varying degrees of emotional abuse. Most of the emotional abuse goes unnoticed and has become so institutionalized that it is seen as normal and healthy. Because of this the cycle of abuse, shame, and dysfunction gets handed down through families from generation to generation. The emotional abuse that is shown in a dysfunctional family takes the form of expecting family members to be perfect and in control at all times. They are rigid and stilted and often don’t talk about feelings directly, but instead are run by shame and abandonment.
In this system people become stereotypes of themselves and lose their full potential. They are afraid to show who they are and therefore become isolated from each other. Instead of relating to each other in a spontaneous and flexible manner they hide from each other and only respond with what they think the other person wants to hear.
By Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT © 2008
This psychology video offers one (1) NBCC-approved CE clock hour.
See a Sample of this Dysfunctional Families Psychology Video.
A review by a therapist about this psychology video:
"This DVD points out crucial differences between shame and guilt, personhood and behavior. We all come from dysfunctional families; it is just a matter of degree. As usual, Jef's presentation is outstanding, with clear, concise modes of communication. I regularly use this DVD in my private practice."