Break The Cycle: Feel Good About Your Dysfunctional Family

"Frank". I broke him within a week and had to have her paint and send another one.
It’s that time of year when we honor mothers, fathers and graduates. Where you temporarily pretend you’re not angry at past slights and send out flowers, cards, gifts to honor your parents, kids and sundry relatives. Ugh.

Most of us fall back on Hallmark and their brethren to express what we’d like to feel about our family. But if you’re reading this, for every syrupy card, you’re secretly saying, “Thanks everyone for the years of therapy I endured to figure out I’m not a bad person. And this great card proves it!”

If you were raised in dysfunction, it’s a hard ditch to climb out of. As we have since the beginning of time, we look around to see everyone else so happy, functional, successful and wonder, “will I ever get there?” Because admit it, no matter how amazing your life looks, you probably still feel like you haven’t figured anything out.

An interesting fact, a TODAY survey of 7,000 US moms finds that 42% suffer from “Pinterest stress”—the worry that they’re not crafty or creative enough. Yes, there are also symptoms: staying up clicking through photos of astounding (and personal) birthday gifts, or crying into the failed masterpiece of your Eiffel Tower cake.


Comparing yourself to other people is a natural human trait. You’ll never get past it. You will always be from a dysfunctional family compared to someone. The problem stems from thinking your learning process, including learning “basic” stuff (Ha!) like relationship skills, communication skills or flower arranging means there is something wrong with you. You’re not done. You’re still cooking. You will always be learning something you wished you’d learned as a kid and most of us will be somewhat peeved about it.

So now what? Bookmark this blog for one. Then cut yourself some slack and recognize you’re always learning something new- about parenting, about being a kid, about getting along. You’re not a failure, neither is your family. You’re a normal person who is as screwed up and dysfunctional as everyone else. Or are you a miracle?

Through Living Naturally, our non-profit, Van and I offer a relaxing and healing spiritual retreat every June, including our upcoming one June 20-22. Click this link for more information. More information can be found at


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