Chapter 8: Family Systems: Where External Dependency begins

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"Dysfunctional homes are those in which one or more of the following occur:

- abuse of alcohol and/or other drugs (prescribed or illicit)- Compulsive behavior such as compulsive eating, working, cleaning, gambling, spending, dieting, exercising, and so on; these practices are addictive behaviors, as well as progressive diseases processes; among their many other harmful effects, they effectively disrupt and prevent honest contact and intimacy in a family- battering of spouse and/or children
- inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of a parent toward a child, ranging from seductiveness to incest
- constant arguing and tension
- extended periods of time in which parents refuse to speak to each other
- parents who have conflicting attitudes or values or display contradictory behaviors that compete for their children's allegiance
- parents who are competitive with each other or with their children
- a parent who cannot relate to others in the family and thus actively avoids them, while blaming them for this avoidance
- extreme rigidity about money, religion, work, use of time, displays of affection, sex, television, housework, sports, politics, and so on; obsession with any of these can preclude contact and intimacy, because the emphasis is not on relating, but on following the rules."
~Robin Norwood, Women who Love too Much


“The simple most dramatic difference between healthy and toxic family systems is the amount of freedom that exists for family members to express themselves as individuals. Healthy families endourage individuality, personal responsibility and independence. They encourage the development of their children’s sense of adequacy and self-respect.


Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of the Toxic Parents” Forward (1989), P. 175