The degree of dysfunction, codependency or toxicity in relationships can vary. Most of us get a little dependent, and therefore dysfunctional, from time to time — especially when we’re tired, stressed, or otherwise overloaded. What makes the difference between this normal, occasional human frailty and true clinical dysfunction is our ability to recognize, confront and correct dysfunction when it happens in our relationships. The question to keep in mind is: what is not working, and how can we make it work? Most people, when faced with a relationship problem or disagreement, reflexively begin to look for a villain; that is, they want to know who’s at fault. Responding to a problem by looking for someone to blame (even if it’s yourself) is a dysfunctional response. The functional question is not, “Whose fault is it?” but “What can we do to solve the problem?” When you try it, you’ll see that refusing to focus on blaming anyone (yourself or your partner), and instead insisting on solving the problem, will make a huge difference in all your relationships. Families who sit down together, in a family meeting, where everyone, including small children, gets to discuss the problem from their point of view, and everyone works together to solve the problem, become functional rapidly. Adapted from “Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage” by Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. http://www.tinatessina.com/dysfunctional_relationship.html
Man is the only creature
whose emotions are entangled
with his memory.
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