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Thread: Scared I can't have a healthy relationship because of my dysfunctional family

  1. #1
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    Scared I can't have a healthy relationship because of my dysfunctional family

    I grew up with parents that shouldn't have been together, I never saw them display even remote affection towards each other up until I turned 25 (29 now) and they divorced after my dad left her for his current partner. No one can mention my dad in front of my mum, because she rolls her eyes and it's just not worth the discomfort that arises in the room.

    My mother lives in the house with my 40 year old single brother because she can't afford to pay for the house by herself. My 30 year old brother has been unable to hold down a job since leaving the armed forces, has been harrassing the family members for money for years, has a girlfriend who is also fairly unstable and she often messages our family with abuse - they have two children together. he has a child from a previous relationship who he stopped seeing. We all still see her and adore her. He and my dad are estranged and none of us have ever met his children with his current girlfriend.

    None of my family are very ambitious, and have a very very poor relationship with money, and have only ever scraped by in their lives. I'm fairly sensible and don;t consider myself to be like my family in any way, I don't relate to them.

    My family love me unconditionally and they support me any way they can, but the dysfunction overwhelms me and causes depression and anxiety. I often feel I am undeserving of love.

    I keep my family separate from my friends because I am so ashamed. Do you think it's possible someone would not want to be with me because I have a family like this? Is it possible to have a loving relationship when you're surrounded by dysfunctional relationships? I am able to keep excellent friendships, so that gives me a tiny iota of hope for my future.

  2. #2
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    Well, someone might not want to date you because of your family. I had blue-collar parents, my wife had white-collar parents. I was afraid that they might look like hillbillies compared to hers, but my parents had a lot more common sense than her parents, so it all worked out. Nobody has perfect parents.

    As for whether you can have a loving relationship, of course you can. It sounds like you turned out different than your siblings, perhaps because of and in spite of your parents, and you certainly don't have to repeat the mistakes of your family. So don't worry about it.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    You either imitate behaviors learned from your family or you choose to not imitate poor examples and live your life differently.
    You're ahead of the game because you are aware. Now choose to rise above it all and carve out a quality life for yourself.

  4. #4
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    Your family is only as big of an issue as you make it. If you prioritize your partner and don't allow the family drama to interfere with your relationship, then I think you're fine. If you put needs of your relationship on the backburner in order to enable your brother or squander joint finances, then I think it would be an issue. I really don't care about family dynamics as long as a guy stands up for me, can stand up to his family when they're in the wrong, and prioritizes our future together if need be.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Do you work and have your own car and place? Your family is what it is. You can't change them. As long as you have learned to live independently, work, manage money etc, you'll be fine. Stop blaming your family for being who they are. They are not holding you back from anything. If you want to date, then date. No one is guaranteed the perfect TV family in order to make life easy and impress dates.

    Learn about healthy boundaries and where you end and someone else begins. If you do eventually date and form a relationship you can introduce your family if and when you are comfortable. In the mean time a therapist may help you navigate your issues and address them so you stop blaming a family you can't change and rehashing a past you can't change. This isn't about them. This is about you and poor self esteem.
    Originally Posted by Lj1650
    Is it possible to have a loving relationship when you're surrounded by dysfunctional relationships?

  7. #6
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Nearly everyone I know describes their family as one definition of crazy or another. We each get to decide how independent we'll opt to grow. That doesn't mean cutting anyone off, necessarily, it just means adopting your own identity, growing into the loving person you want to become, and managing your relationships as you see fit--and without apology.

    I've found that friends and lovers tend to enjoy the people in my family who are the most controversial. I don't consider family to represent me, I consider them to be their own brand of humanity, and I love them regardless of the stuff I'd prefer not to see regularly. Small doses is fine.

    Head high, and do You proudly.


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