There are four rules that serve as red flags in spotting dysfunction in a family. The rules are rarely expressed in words, but rather in tone of voice, body language, or facial expressions. No family is perfect so each of us are bound to have remnants of at least one of these rules present in our homes.
1. Don’t talk –
When something goes wrong the family doesn’t talk about it. Instead they brush it under the rug and act like everything is fine.
2. Don’t feel –
Emotions are seen as weakness. If someone in the family feels something they are encouraged to do so in private and then “suck it up”.
3. Don’t trust anyone outside the family -
In order to keep control the family attempts to be the only influence over each other. Plus, their family secrets might get out if they trusted others.
4. Always make this family look good –
You may have all been fighting on the way to church, but you better believe you are going to walk in with a smile. The family also looks for achievements to highlight to avoid dealing with the problems.
If you recognize some of these rules from growing up or your current family, it is best to try to break them. WARNING: this will cause chaos, but in the end will impact your family in a healthy way. It may be helpful to see a counselor while you’re trying to make these changes in order to have the support you need.