3 Ways to Deal with a Dysfunctional Family

Dysfunctional Family at rest

Dysfunctional Family? Photo Copyright by Lorna Tedder

Though it can feel like it’s just your family that seems dysfunctional, the truth is that most people have to deal with dysfunction in the family. Nobody is perfect, disagreements happen, and nobody is going to get along all of the time. Naturally, some people won’t get along at all, even if they’re related. This is unfortunate, but it is a simple fact of life. However, if you feel like your dysfunctional family is making you feel depressed, stressed out, angry, or resentful,  then it’s important to rectify the problem.

Here are three ways that you can cope with family dysfunction:

Walk Away

The best thing to do is simply turn the other cheek. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean you have to tolerate their ill behavior. It can be tempting to try to help them or make them see the error of their ways. However, this usually fails and can actually serve to make things worse. Similarly, if you weren’t already involved in a family squabble, trying to help often ends up placing you in the middle of things. You can’t change people, but you can change how you respond to them. It’s better to walk away from family drama than meddle in it.

Give it a Positive Spin

There’s a lot to be said for looking at life through rose-colored glasses. While it’s not helpful for everything, it can make you feel a lot better about your family life. Dealing with a dysfunctional family and coming out of the experience unscathed requires a special kind of attitude and a lot of patience. If someone has habits that irritate you, try to look at them more like unique quirks. Everyone has some little thing about them that can drive other people nuts. That doesn’t make them a bad person. Some experts actually recommend viewing your family dysfunction as a sitcom. These kinds of things are funny when you see them on television. Why shouldn’t they be just as amusing in real life?

Refuse to Get Involved

One big hassle of dealing with a dysfunctional family is that they often try to involve you in their arguments, even when you have nothing to do with the situation. When this happens, don’t fall for it. Don’t share your thoughts or opinions on the issue, don’t take sides, and don’t point fingers. They can’t make you a part of the feud if you refuse to participate.

Recommended articles and books:

For a longer, more personal article with more tips, I recommend:

Making Peace in Dysfunctional Families:  How to Fix It and Whether You Should

For short but positive books on getting yourself to a happier, more serene place, I recommend:

Give Your Life Direction: 23 Life Coaching Tips to Motivate You, Re-Focus Your Time, and Overcome Resistance to Positive Change

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy:  Plus 23 More Tips for Living Your Joy