Dysfunctional Family Patterns: 10 Signs You Must Know

Dysfunctional Family

How Do You Know Your Family Is Dysfunctional?

What is a dysfunctional family, and how do you know if you grew up in one? Before you can understand what a toxic family is, let’s start with a description of what it is not. After reading this article, you decide which family best describes your upbringing.

Healthy Homes

Instead of criticizing or condemning their children, stable parents want to assist them in making good decisions and learn from their mistakes. In healthy families, there is unconditional love, compassion, and open communication, which enables parents to work constructively with their children when they make errors or poor decisions. Children should grow up in a household that makes them feel valued and cherished. They learn in those households that their feelings and wants are important and should be communicated.

Dysfunctional Family Home

When a family is dysfunctional, there is frequent conflict, neglect, and misbehavior. Homes, for example, with an authoritarian “My Way or the Highway” parenting style have toxic or abusive relationships with each other. The proper functioning of the family is interrupted in dysfunctional homes, resulting in constant problems, disputes, and tension. When there is an issue or a crisis, parents might attempt to act like any other family. However, repeated difficulties have had a damaging impact on the family dynamic.

A dysfunctional family is one in which individual parents frequently engage in conflict, misbehavior, child neglect, or abuse, leading other members to tolerate or cooperate in order to get along and/or survive. At least two people form a dysfunctional home—one with toxic behavior and one codependent, who are affected by issues like addiction, substance misuse, or untreated mental illness. Keep in mind that in dysfunctional families, both parents can develop harmful behaviors, leaving the children with no one to turn to for advice.

When You Have Dysfunctional Parents


Addiction issues may exist in many dysfunctional families, which parents may struggle to control or conceal. If a parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol, sex, gambling, or overeating, it can have a significant influence on other family members. It can prevent him from keeping a job, fulfilling his parental duties, or being a stable presence in the household.


Other family members feel forced are to accept or enable negative behavior when parents mistreat or neglect their children. As a result, parents’ and children’s relationships are stressful and unbalanced. Parents may deny love and withhold their affection as a kind of punishment. Under these conditions, family members learn to play different roles within the family.


Enablers, for example, are there to make sure that the household runs well despite a parent’s negligence. The scapegoat behaves out in public to distract attention away from the unpleasant environment of their home. Over time, the family’s actions are centered around the toxic parent.

Can we take a moment to realize that expecting children to act like adults is a type of family dysfunction? It was dysfunctional if you had to carry adult duties like caring for siblings like a parent would. It may be tough to hear since so many individuals have had parenting and adult habits pushed upon them at such a young age that it feels natural. It is not the case.

The fact is that parents who must deal with their own troubles and care for a dysfunctional spouse do not have the time, energy, or emotional intelligence to pay attention to or appreciate their children’s feelings. They also do not take the time to understand or respond to their children’s needs. As a result, parenting in toxic families may appear very different than others.

Unhealthy Relationships

Some dysfunctional families have unhealthy family structures as well. Codependent or friendship-like parent-child interactions flourish, which can confuse children and prevent them from developing and understanding boundaries and genuine affection. Some of the problems you’re having in your present relationships may result from growing up in a dysfunctional household.

Unsafe Environments

Children rely on their parents to protect them, and if you grow up in a dysfunctional family, your parents’ home may not be stable and loving. Furthermore, children are frequently blamed for the family breakdown, which places an additional strain on children and their parents who live apart from them. In these instances, children become emotionally distant from their parents. Effects From Growing Up In A Dysfunctional Home

The impact of family dysfunction on a child’s growth include a wide range of problems and bad habits. Abuse and neglect are particularly troubling because families are stuck in a loop of normalizing bad treatment, and adult offspring of toxic parenting may show the same behaviors to their children, resulting in intergenerational cycles of neglect and abuse. This is important because, as adults, children in toxic families may repeat the cycle by developing their own issues that reinforce dysfunctional relationships.


Children in dysfunctional families may not be allowed to make their own choices, and they may develop preferences that differ from those of their parents, such as having friends who they do not approve of. Children raised in such homes are more prone to have low self-esteem and to believe that their needs are unimportant and should not be prioritized above those of others. Children may struggle to grow up to be secure people with strong self-esteem and good coping abilities if their emotional needs are not met by their parents, who are supposed to offer stability and address difficulties.

Developing Addictions

Children in dysfunctional families attempt to hide their emotional suffering by numbing their pain with the use of alcohol, drugs, food, pornography, and technology. Their grief, regret, disappointment, humiliation, and anxiety are not considered or discussed inside the family or anywhere else. If counseling is not sought for children who have experienced childhood trauma, there is a high risk that they may develop addictions and/or dysfunctional conduct.

Relationship Issues

If you are a child from a dysfunctional family and have a history of toxic romances, these relationships are influenced by your unconscious desire to fix the dysfunction you experienced as a child since that behavior is familiar. Because the underlying issue is not being treated, you are projecting your childhood trauma onto your current relationships, causing further problems. Your family’s lack of emotional expressiveness and healthy interactions might be to blame.

Love and affection between family members are natural and continuous in good households. However, in toxic families, family members may feel forced to condition themselves in order to be liked by others. Low self-esteem, alienation, anxiety, depression, or trauma-related illnesses, as well as difficulties trusting oneself or others, might result.

Final Thoughts

Parents that have any dysfunctional behavior will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the family. If you grew up in a home where a parent struggled with addictions, mental illness, or abusive conduct, you understand how tough it can be, as well as how it may influence others. You grew up in a dysfunctional family if you can relate with the facts in this article.

You can overcome childhood trauma and put a stop to generations of harmful family habits. You never want to be the kind of parent to your children that you had. You have a decision to make. You have the option of imitating the behavior you witnessed as a child, or you may choose to put an end to the madness and create healthy, loving connections with your children and partner.

If you require the help of a professional, please contact someone in your area. Purchase my book Choosing to Stop the Madness: Overcoming Toxic Family Patterns if you believe you can begin this process on your own, but need some motivation and want to learn from someone who understands your feelings because she suffered childhood trauma and abuse. This book is a must-read for anybody who wishes to break the pattern of dysfunctional cycles and become their best selves. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1737230607

This book provides you with a firsthand account of what I went through. It is difficult to read since it transports you back to your youth. You will weep and become angry. But after you’ve gotten over that, I’ll set you to work on becoming your best self. You’ll think about your history, present, and future. Make sure you get the journal created to accompany the book. This will save you from having to write in the book and will allow you to chronicle your progress. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1737230631

Visit my website and take the quiz to find out what role you played as a youngster. Were you a scapegoat or an enabler? Visit https://reimagineworlds.com to take the quiz and discover more about those roles. I send you peace, love, light, and healing

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