Today, in our easy going, accommodating society,
we're faced with tremendous family issues.
Many families are confused, conflicted, and scattered.
Many children are not experiencing a healthy home life.
There is an overflow of teen rebellion, child abuse,
family violence, alcoholism, and other devastating problems
which are robbing families of their peace.
What should be that safe haven of security for every man,
woman, and child has become more of a living hell.
is in serious crisis!
Although most regard family as their most gratifying aspect of life,
some regard it as their most perplexing.
Some families are strained, eroding, tensed, dealing with stress overload,
losing touch, and falling apart. These conflicts and clashes,
within the family, are causing pain...
that is often carried from childhood into adulthood.
The family is changing, and sad to say, not for the better.
Some families are spiritually starving to death.
Dysfunctional and abusive homes, with little or no relational connection,
where there is a lack of communication, little or no quality time together,
no respect for one another, no boundaries, emotional and physical scars,
a lack of nurturing or encouragement, left to themselves,
can produce dysfunctional children... who in turn pollute our society.
Unfortunately, for some, the very people they look to for love
and affection are the ones who have wounded them most.
Sometimes the ones who are quick to wound us are
members of our own family.
Some family members can be super-critical,
quick to find problems, and/or faults, they tell cutting jokes
that are actually put downs (at another family member's expense),
and leave deep and painful wounds which can last a lifetime.
Children victimized by families that are dysfunctional,
abusive, abandoned, collapsing, or just uninformed
usually spend the rest of their lives recovering.
Depending on just how awful their family conditions may be,
people adapt to and compensate for rejection and absence of love
and nurture in various ways.
They may substitute their need for love by seeking
and piling on possessions, money, power, fame, etc. They may compensate
by destroying themselves with negative behavior fueled by
low self-esteem, e.g., delinquency.
Or they may lose themselves in non-productive romantic relationships,
e.g., promiscuity, teen pregnancy, serial marriages, etc.
They may try anesthetizing themselves and drowning out their pain
with drugs, alcohol, sex, pleasures, and other addictions. Even at the best,
people are affected in subtle ways that they may never even realize:
fears, insecurities, mistrust, low self-esteem, pessimism, possessiveness,
oversensitivity, and other emotional weaknesses.
Without family, what could have been that successful entrepreneur...
may become that inmate.
That genius, in the making, may become a dope dealer.
without the encouragement and support from family...
that great scientist, teacher, preacher, chef,
producer, writer, actor, mom, dad, or florist
could become that homeless person
searching for crumbs to eat.
One can suffer untold damage
without these interconnections.
For some reason, many families seem to aim most of their thoughts
and efforts on materialistic goals, and forget all about nurturing each other.
Many parents seem to focus most of their efforts on their own desires,
careers, comfort, and personal fulfillment, failing to make the nurturing
of their family their chief duty in life.
Our entire society continues to reap the negative results
of such selfish practices. As is increasingly evident, our failing families
appear to be creating "monsters" who routinely go out and shoot up malls,
schools, and theaters. We are almost no longer shocked
by such appalling behaviors.
Studies show that nearly half of young Americans 19 to 25
have a personality disorder or substance abuse problem that interferes
with everyday life (1 in 5 young Americans has personality disorder).
Some day, our society will literally be overwhelmed by our
maladjusted children, who are the unfortunate, innocent victims of
our collapsing families.
Many family members have watched their parents,
children, siblings, and spouses go to the graves commenting
"We never really talked,"
or "I never really knew him/her."
Far too many families know what the other does,
but they do not know each other.
Too many are searching for significance through mundane activities,
yet, in the midst of it all... they have lost the significance of
what they were designed to be...
a member of the highest institution in the entire universe...
When the families' foundation crumbles,
eventually, nations will.
The need for family healing, as quiet as it's kept,
is at epidemic levels and is profoundly altering the lives of many.
This need is not just for today, but for future generations.
This need encompasses all social and cultural barriers.
How can a family function if the members
are not working together as a living whole?
Although family life has often been viewed as a safe haven, for some,
family can be difficult and painful…
filled with conflicts and tension.
While we often expect families to be above the chaos that exists
in the rest of society… that outlook seems to be unrealistic
for many families.
Yes, there is enormous societal pressure to get along
with one's family, but the reality is...
there are toxic family members who can be toxic
to our overall health and well being.
Some can cause enormous stress for its members.
They try to manipulate others, they create drama, they criticize,
push emotional buttons making members feel hurt, and drained.
Their negative traits can be emotionally and spiritually vexing.
How do we deal with our feelings of obligation, confusion,
betrayal and heartache?
First and foremost, we must accept the fact that not everyone’s family
is healthy or available for us to lean on, to call on, or to go home to.
Not every family tie is built on the premise of mutual respect,
love and support. Sometimes “family” simply means
that we share the same bloodline.
Some family members build us up and some break us down.
Second, we must understand that a toxic family member
may be going through a difficult stage in their lives. They may be ill,
chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love
and emotional support.
Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for.
Whatever the cause of their troubles,
we may still need to protect ourselves,
maybe distancing ourselves, but absolutely
we need to guard our hearts from their toxic behavior.
A true family is not necessarily one of blood,
but of respect and joy in each other's life.
The word "family" implies warmth,
a place where the core feelings of the heart are nurtured.