Trauma Therapy in Scottsdale: Breaking the Cycle of Family Dysfunction

Whatever type of household you grew up in, whether loving and positive or chaotic and hostile, likely seemed “normal” to you. It is often only once children from dysfunctional families grow up and experience dysfunctional relationship patterns do they start to understand how family dynamics have affected them.

Being in a dysfunctional family does not necessarily mean a person was abused, although that can be one experience. Family dysfunction comes in many forms, some of which are more subtle than others. Growing up with a lack of healthy boundaries, poor communication skills, or an inability to express love and gratitude openly are just a few examples of unhealthy relationship patterns that can unknowingly be passed down from one generation to the next.

You can break dysfunctional patterns and create supportive, loving relationships in your life with the help of trauma therapy in Scottsdale.

Dysfunctional Family Examples

The term “dysfunctional family” is sometimes used jokingly to describe families where members occasionally disagree or are lively and colorful. This is not dysfunction. In dysfunctional households, children experience chaos, stress, and neglect on a daily basis.

According to a publication by the Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention, psychologists have identified five specific types of dysfunctional families.1 The list includes:

  • Chronic Conflict Family: All family members argue in ways that are harmful and wounding
  • Pathological Households: One or more parents have a mental illness that impairs their ability to parent and results in children taking responsibility for the family’s daily function
  • Chaotic Household: Parents are physically or emotionally non-present, and there are no clear rules of consistency
  • Dominant-Submissive Household: One parent rules like a dictator, with no regard to the needs or feelings of other family members
  • Emotionally Distant Family: Parents do not encourage showing love or warmth, and loving feelings are repressed

Each type of dysfunctional family dynamic can result in different issues for the children growing up in those families. The good news is that trauma therapy in Scottsdale can help you overcome family dysfunction. With the proper support, every person can break dysfunctional cycles and create a more positive experience for future generations.

How to Break the Cycle of Generational Dysfunction

Breaking a cycle that arose generations before you is difficult, but it is absolutely possible. You do not have to live with unhealthy or destructive relationship patterns just because “that’s how you grew up.” Along with trauma therapy in Scottsdale, the following tips can help you break free from unwanted patterns and create the caring relationships you deserve.

1. Acknowledge the Problem

Acknowledging that things weren’t perfect in your family doesn’t mean you have to blame or vilify your parents or caregivers. It also doesn’t mean you must confront the people caring for you. Acknowledging your reality to a therapist, spiritual advisor, or friend can help wipe away years of misplaced shame and self-blame.

2. Find Support Through Trauma Therapy in Scottsdale

Undoing dysfunctional habits can be an emotionally painful experience. A trauma therapist can help you learn healthy habits and focus on personal growth.

3. Identify Your Own Dysfunction

Identifying areas where you could improve gives you and your therapist goals to work toward. It’s not always easy to look at your own shortcomings, but it is necessary to recognize dysfunctional patterns if you’re going to break free from them.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

Children who grow up in dysfunctional households often carry a burden of shame, guilt, and self-blame. Learning to feel self-love and self-compassion is part of breaking dysfunctional patterns. Consider taking up meditation or other self-awareness practices to foster better self-esteem.

5. Be Accountable

You are not responsible for the generational dysfunction that was passed down to you. However, once you become aware of the dysfunction, you must do something about it. You may never receive the explanations, apologies, or accountability you deserve from others, but you can strive to do better than past generations. When you recognize yourself repeating dysfunctional patterns, be accountable.

Find Trauma Therapy in Scottsdale at Healing Foundations Center

Healing Foundations Center provides outpatient services for patients struggling with the effects of generational trauma and dysfunction and other mental health concerns. Contact us today if you or someone you care about needs the support of a mental health professional in Scottsdale.