Understanding Dysfunctional Families and the Effect on Children

The father was married twice before. He found faithfulness difficult.. His third wife was twenty years younger, a student, who was dazzled, for she had never experienced the economic level he offered. She had a number of children for him. When she learned of his various affairs she, unlike the previous wives, ‘could not leave’ him because of economic and now social constraints.

She resorted to silence, to living in her own ‘world’ and the children grew up with this. The father was silent, the mother silent, they did what they chose and never felt it necessary to advise the children.

Although exposed to more normal families the children tended to keep to themselves, making few friends, being thought cold and stand offish because they didn’t know how to interact.

They don’t share, they don’t know how to impart information, they don’t give ‘alerts’ as is expected; such as; ‘I can’t drop you up this evening’, to a person who has been waiting expectantly for an hour, and whom could have been told early in the day and make their own arrangements

This kind of ‘gratuitous cruelty’ is how they have seen their parents interact with each other, with them, so it is ‘normal’. For persons who did not grow in such a perverted environment it is not normal, of course.

As they become adults the children have difficulty in relationships; they don’t know how to talk to people, they don’t understand others, and will carry their upbringing with them, creating broken relationships with people who can’t understand them, so misread and take the inability to express their feelings as a lack of feelings. If they were aware that they were in a dysfunctional family then they would seek to redefine ‘normal’, but they don’t seem to grasp the fact that how they are being raised, how they were raised, is unlike those who come from families which function.

To understand these people is more for one’s own protection, realizing that depending on them, trusting them, trying to relate to them, is a waste of effort and will leave one disappointed.

There is a difference between the child who is quiet, and the child who does not know how to interact. A difference ween a person who might ‘forget’ to tell you and one who has never thought of telling you.

In this family, it is unlikely any of the children will grow up to be loving adults.