Dysfunctional Relationships Essay, Research Paper
Dysfunctional Relationships In dysfunctional relationships the problems of couples is the incomplete mastery of one or more important developmental tasks, which contributes to significant relationships concerns. The extent of such deficits will dictate to a large degree how, in the present, they cope, and find solutions with the tensions of unmet needs. Insufficient communication can cause a dysfunctional relationship, which may cause problems such as codependency, signs of unhealthy boundaries, and questions of love or infatuation.The codependent is bound and often tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family of origin. The codependent’s relationship with a spouse or significant other is marred by a damaging lack of balance between dependence and independence. The codependent s self-esteem is very low, therefore they constantly look for the something that is missing or lacking in life. Their self-esteem is bolstered by other influences. They can not acknowledge good things about themselves. They are either super responsible or super irresponsible; they cant say no because of the need for approval. They set no limits and set them selves up for prime candidates for burn out. Codependent s have no sense of cooperation or working with others. They are used to doing things for themselves. That is how they survived during childhood. The codependent will continually torment themselves. Some will succumb to addictions to chemicals, to cause pain to other people to improve or protect themselves. No matter what the cost, they seek relief from their pain in whatever ways possible. Having had a complete moral, physical, emotional, spiritual and financial breakdown as the result of this kind of thinking and living, they try to drag everyone around them to their level and practice their principles in all their affairs.A codependent is constantly looking for the something that is missing or lacking in life. Most codependents share the same feelings when it comes to emotional distress. The problems of a codependent must be recognized before any solutions can be thought of. Here are a few things that codependent thinks. This will help us to understand them so that we may offer solutions to them. We guess at what is normal, we don t recognize normal behavior when we see it. We have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end. We have the idea of the steps necessary to carry the idea out. We learned that it is intentions that count, not the behavior. We lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. We judge ourselves without mercy. We have difficulty having fun and difficulty in intimate relationships because of the fears of abandonment are too great to allow us to ease into a relationship. A codependent is certain his or her happiness hinges on others. They tend to fear or worry how other s may respond to their feelings because they don t want to be hurt or rejected by others. A codependents serenity and mental attention is determined by how others are feeling or behaving. They question or ignore their own values to connect with significant others. They value other opinions more than their own and tend to judge everything they do, think, or say (Susan M. Campbell). This is a list of statements that a codependent might say. This list was devised by Codependents Anonymous to help give a better understanding of the codependent as a whole, so that solutions from these problems can be dealt with. (1) My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you. (2) My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you. (3) Your struggles affect my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving your problems or receiving your pain. (4) My mental attention is focused on pleasing , protecting, and manipulating you to do it my way. (5) My own hobbies and interest are put aside. My time is spent sharing your interest and hobbies. (6) Your clothing and personal appearance is dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me. (7) I am not aware of how I feel; I am not aware of what I want; I ask you what you want. If I am not aware, I assume. (8) I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship. (9) My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you. (10) The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours. It s plain to see that the codependent happiness hinges on others ( Thomas Nelson). The difference between couples who manage to get along well verses those who get along poorly does not necessarily lie in the number of disagreements they are having, but rather in the way they go about finding solutions to resolving those disagreements. It s best to recognize when your communication is creating more of a problem than the problem itself. For example, a husband might say, “I like talking with you about what happened on your job today. Communication and decision making are basic in marital interaction. While success in these two areas is generally taken for granted, difficulties are by no means infrequent. Indeed, a significant number of couples seeking help for their marriage have some real limitations in these areas, which may threaten the very existence of the marriages. Communication difficulties are probably the most common type of problem encountered in couples who seek assistance to improve their interpersonal relationships (Tom R. Blaine 73). Among the frequently heard complaints are that partners argue, quarrel, nag, insult, or put each other down; talk past each other, don t say what they mean, mislead, talk out of both sides of their mouth, or lie, talk to much or too little, too softly, or too loudly; never offer praise or acknowledgment for doing a good job; that their is too much gloomy talk and too little talk that is pleasant. All of these are signs of communication failure in a relationship.Physical and emotional abuse of the other person are signs of unhealthy boundaries. Conflict may occur also as a result of a mate s growth over time. If one partner changes, the familiar role expectation of the relationship will be disrupted. Christians do not dwell on the weaknesses and short comings of their spouses. As Luther says in his explanation of the Eighth Commandments, They defend him , speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything. (W. J Fields). Further, if this partner presses to change some of the original rules, the ground is laid for potential conflict. This is more likely to occur when the growth of partners is unequal and one partner is rigid in role expectations and resistant to change. Even after we learn to make effective choices, and handle most situations autonomously, when it comes to intimate relationships we can still get caught up in dysfunctional destructive and dependent attitudes and behaviors. This is a result of our being bombarded with images that imply love and dependency are the same thing. For example, lovers should depend on each other to supply their needs, take care of them, and make it better . They should need each other (You are my happiness, I d die without you), they are incomplete without each other and the two should become one losing their individual personalities, friend, interests, and opinions in the process. This dependent dysfunctional image of love has been reinforced by generations of songs, poetry, plays, books, moves and TV soap operas. They have celebrated a dependent model of romance emphasizing neediness and desperation. The ideal lover is supposed to love us no matter how unreasonable we are, always be there when we want or need them, always know exactly how to soothe our hurts, always knows precisely what we want and put our needs before his or her own needs. In considering what solutions for improvement you would like to see in your relationship, you need to make a practical decision about which changes you should attempt first ( Aaron T. Beck 167). Dependent people are like the unsocialized infant that wants what they want when they want it, with no return offered, and they experience rage and hurt when their needs aren t met. This dependency based image of love, although exciting and fulfilling at first, is not sustainable. The relationship can not flourish. Since no one can care for their needs as well as themselves, one or both of them will wind up felling cheated, used, neglected, unloved and generally dissatisfied. Dysfunctional relationships happen because our first experience of intimate relationships was with parents who made it better and took care of you as a child. Because of this pattern they either assume that someone will always be there to take care of them and make it better, or they look to replace the care they never got as a child and make the pain of neglect or abuse go away. Although their adult mind may outgrow this, your subconscious child mind does not. When this happens, they expect that when they fall in love that person will be an ideal parent, just as their real parent was or should have been. On the surface they are looking for someone they can enjoy and have fun with, but secretly, the dependent, wounded child is searching for a substitute parent or someone who would take care of them, make their wounds better, care about their feelings, and accept them for who they are unconditionally.
Love is quiet understanding and the mature acceptance of imperfection. It is real. It gives them strength and grows beyond them to bolster their beloved. They are warmed by their presence even when there away. Miles do not separate them. Near or far they know their theirs and they can wait. Love says, Be patient. Do not panic. Plan your future with confidence. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (George W. Forell 38). Love is the maturation of friendship. They must be friends before they can be lovers. This bond that is to develop between husband and wife is so close and so beautiful that God compares it to the most sacred relationship that a man could know between Christ and the church. In Ephesians Paul says: Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25)…. As the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:24). This is meaningful and significant to Christians because they know something of the relationship of Christ to His church and of the church to Christ. This relationship is at the very center of their lives. Love is unity that should become more firm and wonderful through the experiences of each passing day (W. J. Fields 34). Love addiction is a psychological addiction; a result of unfulfilled childhood needs. What people learned in their relationship with their parents, they will inevitably transfer onto their relationships with their mate. Explained by Sheila Cummings A Parent child interactions which have been experienced time and time again, especially under intense emotional conditions, will be repeated in their adult relationships. Sometimes they might seek a partner to act out the parent part with them. At other times, they might assume those early parental behaviors themselves (Billie S. Ables 1). This may even occur without their awareness. For some individuals, an attempt to make up for early losses exaggerates the present need for closeness; this may lead over involvement with, and excessive dependence on, the partner. The extreme cases, some couples maintain a pathological mutual dependency. They present a kind of symbiotic fusion, with a life and death quality in the intensity of their clinging attachment to each other. Each attempts to utilize the other with no appreciation of the separateness of the spouse s needs and views. Each maintains an exclusive focus on self needs. Excessive attachment may be acted out in other ways. A spouse may refuse to accept responsibility for their own behavior and rely heavily on the mate for direction and motivation. Such individuals may require constant approval, attention, and encouragement for any self initiated or independent activities (Billie S Ables 11). They may react with much distress if these are absent, give up any efforts, and become depressed. Needless to say, this takes its toll on a relationship. Their best chance to correct this behavior is to learn how to be on their own. This involves the ability to govern their behavior according to their own rather than another s wishes, to rely on their own resources, and to feel sufficiently comfortable and confident in their own right. This requires disengagement physically and psychologically from parents, and reliance primarily upon themselves for direction and self-esteem.Fearing rejection, pain, unfamiliar experiences, and having no faith in their ability, nor even their right to inspire love, they wait, wish and hope for love. When unrecognized needs are being met and this is true for both partners, marriages often persist in the face of intolerable distress. The strength of such magnetic ties which hold a couple together is dependent on the extent of the collusion, and the strength of the need in one spouse to avoid behaving in certain ways which are viewed as belonging only to the other mate. Such binding ties help us to understand why it is so difficult for many couples to break up, despite years of haggling, misery, and apparent irreconcilable differences. Rationalizations, such as staying together for the sake of the children or because of moral injunctions, often hide the more compelling need each partner has for the other. We should all thank our Creator that He gave us the ability to grow inwardly as well as physically, to love instead of to hate and to live instead of merely to exist (Tom R. Blaine 133). When respecting each other s uniqueness and individuality, people are both more able to give ourselves to the relationship (Susan M. Campbell 119). As life continues, people continue to expand the boundaries of our identities. Throughout our experiences; communication in our relationships is no doubt the key to success or failure.