Posts Tagged ‘dysfunctional relationship’

Old House (c) Lynda Bernhardt

One challenge for me as I have healed from my history of child abuse has been the changes in my dysfunctional relationships. I find myself gravitating toward more functional people, and those are the people I choose to spend most of my time with. However, especially around the holidays, I reconnect with the people who have been in my life since before I started healing, which include some family and some lifelong friends. Those are the relationships that are becoming more difficult.

It makes me sad to be around these people because I see their bondage but am unable to show them the way out. Some are finding their way, but others are not even aware that they are in bondage. Still others recognize their bondage but refuse to hear me when I tell them the way out. I guess each person has to find his own way in his own time, but it is hard to have the answers and have them fall on deaf ears.

What really baffles me is that being around these people used to feel so normal, and now it feels anything but normal. Once upon a time, I actually aspired to be more like them because they were more functional than I was. This just drives home how far I have come along my healing journey. That I would ever view their relationships as “normal” shows me just how “sick” I once was.

One thing I see many of these people having in common is the absence of emotional intimacy. I will be in a room full of people, but nobody is connecting. They lose themselves in books, puzzles, games, or whatever method they choose to maintain their distance. Others lose themselves in “busy-ness,” telling themselves that they are doing all of these things for the people they love when all those people really need is focused time together.

I am not saying that I am perfect. I am still a work in progress, too. I remind myself regularly about how quirky I am, and that is completely true. However, I have crossed over to a functional lifestyle, and it is weird still having ties to so many dysfunctional people. I am getting a better idea about why dysfunctional people wind up together because it is hard, as a functional person, to be around dysfunction for long.

It also makes me sad for my dysfunctional loved ones because I know what they are missing out on. Interconnectedness is the point of life – not having the cleanest house, being the most involved, or owning the most stuff. But I cannot choose a functional lifestyle for another person. Each person must find his own way in his own time.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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