Christian Living, Marriage Life, Relationships

Dysfunction and Relationships

Last year on my Radio Show, Woman Transformed, I had the privilege of interviewing a lady who grew up in a dysfunctional home. Her father was a functioning alcoholic who was both verbally and physically abusive mostly towards her mother.  They lived in an atmosphere that was highly charged because of constant fighting. This led to a life of constant fear. I learnt a lot that day but there are three points that she made that led me to a greater understanding of Children of Alcoholics.

  • She learned to be a people pleaser.
  • She developed a victim mindset.
  • She had trust issues because she thought everyone was out to get her.

You can only imagine how this worked out when it came to relationships. As I talked to her, I discovered that regardless of how much she tried to be in healthy relationships, she could not because she brought dysfunction. She tended to be too needy which would put people off. At some point, it dawned on her that she needed to work on herself in order to have a positive character. This was hard work.  Now I don’t want to go over what she said during her interview because I have blogged about it. To read more about her story, read Children of Alcoholics on my blog. She goes into great detail of what she needed to do in order to get healthy. She laid out resources that have been of great help to her.

  • ACA
  • Al-Anon

After my conversation with Jane, I understood that the process of healing takes not only work but dedication. She told me many give up and she also shared with me that she is helping others stick with the program so that they can become whole. I applauded her for not only getting to the place where she is now and knowing she still has to work on herself, but for lending a helping hand.

It is important to look for help in order to get whole if you come from a dysfunctional home. Anything that caused instability in the home affects everyone involved. This is why it is important, as difficult as it may be, to seek help.

  1. Dysfunction can easily lead to dysfunction
    Dysfunction can play out in your own home. There was a man who grew up in a home where his father had married three wives and none of them was allowed to state their opinions. They were not allowed to work. It was his way or the highway. So he grew up knowing women should not work and their opinions were not important. He not only physically abused his wife but he nearly killed her.
  2. Surrender to God
    The man, whose story I just shared gave his life to the Lord and God changed him. Giving your life over to the Lord and asking him to teach you about marriage really works. He knows what you need to know. The problem is, dysfunction in a home teaches you what marriage is not. The Holy Spirit will teach you what you need to know. There was a lady who grew up with an alcoholic father and she decided she was never going to get married. Her perception about marriage was wrong. Marriage to her was a place where women got battered.  She was not going to sign up for that union. One day, she allowed God to teach her about marriage. She is now happily married.
  3. Read Books
    There are many books written on marriage. Actively read books that will show you how a healthy marriage looks like and also God’s intention for marriage.
  4. Evaluation Process
    If you have been involved in relationships that did not work, evaluate those relationships and see what part you played in them coming to an end. Were you too needy or were you controlling. Evaluate your behavior and see what you picked up from the atmosphere you grew up. Example, if your dad was controlling and you saw how it affected your mother, chances are you will either let others control you or you will tend to go the opposite way and control others. You don’t want to create a pattern in your life; Reliving the same story over and over again only with different characters.
  5. Create Boundaries
    Creating boundaries creates awareness. David W. Earle says, “Boundaries represent awareness, knowing what the limits are and then respecting those limits.”

Jane, who I interview last year got married this year. With God’s helping hand, she has continued to work on herself, in order to have a character that is pleasing to God. A character that makes it possible to have a healthy marriage and creates a positive environment for bringing up children.

©Martha Macharia
Author of Waiting for a Husband, The Godly Way
Speaker and Radio Show Host of Woman Transformed
President of Woman Transformed

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