A Picture of Dysfunctional Families

Types of Dysfunctional Families:


·       Rigid

o   Authoritarian

o   Rules are clear and numerous

o   Punishment is swift and stern

o   There is a clear dictator

·       Chaotic

o   Sporadic leadership

o   No consistent rules

o   No clear leader - anyone can make rules

o   Rules can change without warning

o   Outsiders see family as confusing

o   Often seen in addictive/abusive homes

·       Enmeshed

o   No boundaries between family members

o   Independence and separateness is seen as disloyalty

o   Usually have few outside friends

o   Difficulty separating when grown up and sometimes never completely leave home

o   Boundaries with outsiders are usually strong

·       Disengaged

o   Walls, rather than boundaries, exist between family members

o   Lack of emotional bonding

o   Independence is valued

o   Everyone lives on their own island within the home

o   Can't count on family members

·       Split

o   Generational or gender splits - only bond with those you like

o   Fused pair - two family members connect and are enmeshed but the rest of the family is disengaged


If some of these family dynamics sound familiar there might be some work to do on making your family a healthy one. Learning about the role you play in your family can help you be part of the change your family needs.