How To Survive A Dysfunctional Family

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Okay, it's not just you, other people have dysfunctional families too. Let's talk

about how to survive a dysfunctional family.

Top 10 ways to survive a

dysfunctional family. Number 10 realize, that you're not a

special case. I know, it feels like you are because your family is more

dysfunctional than any other family, right? Probably not, it's just the one

that you're used to and so you start to feel like it's extraordinary or somehow

special, it's really not. Every family has some level of dysfunction and yours is

no exception. Probably there's more dysfunctional

families, there's less dysfunctional families and that's why we're going to

start with, you're not a special case, get over it, it's something that happens to

all kinds of people even good people like you.

Number nine, notice that you've made it so far. I know, how amazing is that? Even

with all of the dysfunction, here you are, you've made it this far. Why would that

not continue to be the case? And you'll get some other tips that are going to

help you as you move forward but notice that you've made it so far, you've got a

hundred percent track record for surviving this so far. Pretty cool.

That'll change how you feel about it too. Coming in at number eight, quit. I don't

mean quit your family, I mean quit the job of trying to please everyone. This is

one of the most dysfunctional things that happens in families because we

continue the dysfunctional behavior and interactions because we don't want to

upset anyone or we want to please everybody or we want to make sure that

everybody's happy with everything. Well, you're really bad at this job

anyway so in fact, you know what? You don't have to quit. I fire you. You're

fired from the job of making everybody happy and pleasing everyone. Does that

help? You know, it probably doesn't because usually when I fire people from

this job they still show up for work the next day. Somehow, you get to quit the job

of pleasing everyone. Alright, moving up the list to number seven, learn to take

care of yourself. This might go without saying, self-care is a really important

part of being in any relationship and especially if there's some dysfunctional

patterns in there, who's going to take care of you? Your dysfunctional family?

Probably not. Learn to take care of yourself. There are four main aspects to

this that I think are just very basic for self-care. Number one, get enough

sleep, make sure that you're taking care of your sleep needs and the research

shows that most average adults need anywhere from 6 to 10 hours of sleep,

adolescents are more toward the 10-hour end of that thing.

Get enough sleep. Number two, eat a balanced healthy diet. The fuel that you

put in matters, this is part of taking care of the machine. Number three, get

plenty of exercise, regular exercise, and I'm going to recommend that you get

three to five episodes of good aerobic exercise every week, about a half-hour in

duration. You can modify that according to your own needs but a lot of the

research I've seen places it at about 3 to 5 episodes of a half-hour each, good

aerobic exercise. You need this not only for your body but for your mind. our

brain is part of your body and that's the organ in our body that we associate

with our mind. Having that healthy and functioning helps with everything else

and then finally the fourth piece is regular prayer and

meditation. Now that's coming out of some research that was done at Harvard on

brain maintenance. Prayer, meditation, whatever your inclination is from a

spiritual standpoint, this is something that helps your brain to be healthy and

I think has to do with quieting some of the noise that happens in our world and

having a little bit of solitude peace where you can just be present and

increase your self-awareness so all of that has to do with learning to take

care of yourself let's move up to number six. Set appropriate boundaries and

limits. You'll notice that some of the dysfunction that happens within your

family has you in positions you don't want to be or has you experiencing

things that maybe you could have avoided or prevented had you set up the

appropriate boundaries. This could range anywhere from having new locks put on

your home. Oh wait, can you do that? Isn't that rude? It's not rude, it's part of

taking care of yourself. If you've got people coming and going from your house

that you don't want coming and going from your house, you have a security

issue. Do what you can to it to address that and set up appropriate boundaries

and limits. Sometimes this has to do with how we communicate those boundaries and

limits to people too. I remember when I was working in a juvenile correctional

facility and I often had to use this phrase.. I'm not going to let you hurt me.

Yeah, having a job where you get to use that phrase occasionally, that taught me

a lot about setting up appropriate boundaries and limits and that's a good

one. I'm not going to let you hurt me even if you never say it out loud. Having

that mentality has you showing up a little bit differently in the dynamic.

Now we're halfway there. Let's move up to number five on our list

and this one feeds right off of the boundaries and limits. Here's how I'm

going to phrase it.. Don't show up. What I mean by that is don't show up for the

barbecue if you're on the menu. Kind of goes without saying. You know that there

are some family events that become a venue for people beating you up or

getting into that thing that you didn't want to get into or criticizing or

ridiculing you for whatever place you are in your life. If that's the case and

that's just an example of a dysfunctional thing that could happen in

a family. If you get invited to the barbecue and you find out that you're on

the menu, you might consider not showing up. Wait, can we do that? Isn't it rude to

not come to the family event? Not necessarily. It might be self-care and

I'm not saying that you should avoid all of your family events, that's not what

I'm saying. I am saying that if you're on the menu, you might not want to show up

for the barbecue. There's some of these other points that you can use to maybe

address some of the dysfunction in your family and hopefully we can make an

improvement in the way things that are going. I'm just saying if you can

reasonably predict that this is not going to be a productive outing, it's

okay for you to not show up. Now that brings us up to number four. I really

like number four because it's more active. Learn how to handle snipers. I got

this from my friend, Pamela Jett, who is an amazing communications specialist. I

had a podcast interview with Pamela, you can link to that down in the description

from Live On Purpose radio. Pamela Jett, how to handle a sniper. Here's what

Pamela taught me.. In an assertive communication and we're not talking

about somebody who shoots at you from the roof of a building but we are

talking about someone who takes potshots at you in other ways, it might be through

words or their behaviors, you know what I'm talking about now, right? This is how

Pamela defined a sniper, somebody who's taking a potshot at you.

So her suggestion was that we do three steps basically, you identify, verify and

accept. Identify means that you as clearly as you can, state what happened.

So it might sound like this and put it in this format actually, when X happens, I

feel Y or I felt Y so when that issue was brought up about my medical

condition, I felt betrayed. That's just an example, okay. When everyone received

their award at the family party and I was left out, I felt overlooked. Okay,

whatever it is. So identify is to clearly state when this happens I feel this.

Number two, verify. This one is simple, you simply ask the person who took the pot

shot, "Is that what you intended?" So when everyone was recognized except me, I felt

left out,is that what you intended? Now you've just put it back in the hands of

the sniper, right? 99% of the time when you do the verify step,

they're going to backpedal, they're going to, oh no no no no, that's not what I

meant at all or it might even turn it back on you a

little bit. Oh, you're so sensitive. Whatever it is, you go to step number

three, accept. You simply say, okay, this is so

powerful because what you've just done is put them on notice that their

behavior is impacting you in a certain way and you're willing to set up an

appropriate limit around that. Identify, verify and accept. Moving up to number

three, practice gratitude. Gratitude is the most powerful quickest way that I

know to get to a positive evaluation of what it is and

we're constantly evaluating and judging our family. The fact that you think

they're dysfunctional is a judgment, the truth is they're more dysfunctional than

some and less dysfunctional than others. When you compare your family to a more

dysfunctional family, you feel gratitude that they're not that dysfunctional,

right? When you compare your family to a less dysfunctional family, you feel a

little deprived that you got stuck with this one. All I'm saying is, pick a

position about that and a position of gratitude helps you to show up

differently in this family and it changes your immediate experience of

them as well. Practice gratitude. That leads us to number two, practice

positivity. This expands the gratitude step from number three, this expands it

into not only being grateful for the family that you have. What, wait. You have

a family? You see what I'm talking about, even a dysfunctional family is still a

family. How you judge them is the evaluation piece. What we're going to do

from here on out is the creation piece and there's always an upgrade. Consider

this for a moment.. When you're practicing positivity, you

can use a little strategy that I've shared in some other videos. I call it

BB8 which sounds like Android from Star Wars but it's really an exercise. Use

those initials, BB8, to think about Better By Eight. How sure are you that

eight o'clock is coming? Oh, pretty sure? Yeah, look at your watch,

it's on its way even if it's eight o'clock right now. Oh, no, it's a little

past eight, another one's coming. That's what I'm talking about. Eight o'clock is

coming. How sure are you that you're gonna be around

for eight o'clock? Oh yeah, almost as sure? Good.

If eight o'clock is coming and you're gonna be around for eight o'clock,

there's only two possibilities. I used to think there were three, I've narrowed it

down to two because I don't think it's possible for things to be exactly the

same at 8 o'clock as they are right now. At the very least, you're gonna be a

little older, you might be more hungry, more tired, I don't know.

Think about your family, it's gonna be around at 8 o'clock, yeah. So get clear

about what can I do to make sure that things in my family are a little better

by 8:00. That's BB8, better by 8:00. Can you do that? If you doubt this at any

level, switch it. Look at the opposite. Is there something you could do to make

sure that things in your family are worse by 8 o'clock? Oh yeah. Now 6 ideas

come to mind, right? That creative power that you have has to be harnessed in one

direction or another. When I say practice positivity, I mean get clear about the

upgrade and then you apply your creative power to creating that upgrade, better by

8. Number one on our list comes back to a really simple concept, love. Yeah,

choose love. Your job with your family is not to fix them, it's not to solve all

this dysfunction. Your job is to love them no matter what and even if. Those

you let that sink in, feel the relief that that brings to your heart into your

mind to know that, hey, my job is simply to love them, it's not to fix any of this

dysfunction. That's number one on our list because at the end of the day, you

didn't pick these people, you kind of were given them, you know what I mean,

it's not your job to go ahead and correct everything. When you realize that

your job is to love them, all the pressure's off and you get to sit back

and enjoy and be entertained by and sometimes puzzle over all the weird

things that are happening but you're doing your job as long as you love them.

We've all got stories about those dysfunctional families and how we

survive it. Leave a comment down below about what you've experienced with this,

let's start a conversation.