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Are all families dysfunctional?

(122 Posts)
mercedez Sat 30-Jan-21 10:57:59

Do you believe those who tell you how wonderful their lives are, how successful and well married their kids are and what brilliant lives their grandkids have ahead of them?

dragonfly46 Sat 30-Jan-21 10:59:53

No of course not - everyone has problems but they don't always tell you about them which is fair enough.

This does not mean that all families are dysfunctional though. It is pretty normal.

Sara1954 Sat 30-Jan-21 11:00:06

Well I’m doubtful sometimes, but I also think it’s a mistake to sound too smug, you never know what’s around the corner!

BigBertha1 Sat 30-Jan-21 11:00:29

No. Take it all with a pinch of salt.

Calendargirl Sat 30-Jan-21 11:02:36

Some people look to ‘have it all’, but no one really knows what goes on behind the scenes.

Most families have various issues, worries, concerns, but don’t want the world and his wife to know what are essentially private matters.

vampirequeen Sat 30-Jan-21 11:10:02

The Persil/Flash mother definitely doesn't exist. Have you ever met anyone who smiles sweetly when presented with clothes covered in paint, mud, grass, chocolate etc by their irresponsible, smug children and continues to smile as they watch the dog, kids and husband in muddy wellies slosh all over the floor they've just spent ages mopping?

vampirequeen Sat 30-Jan-21 11:10:29

Happy families are an illusion devised by the marketing industry.

geekesse Sat 30-Jan-21 11:10:53

Depends what you mean by ‘dysfunctional’. My son’s mother-in-law is convinced my family is because we are not on the phone to one another daily, I don’t martyr myself to make (uninvited) long journeys to visit my grandchildren, and we don’t all know every detail of one another’s day to day lives. I reciprocate the opinion because she does all those things, which look to me as if she hasn’t ever let her kids grow up. Who’s right?

Peasblossom Sat 30-Jan-21 11:13:38

Are all families dysfunctional. Yes, thank goodness.

It’s the flaws in our family that prepare us for the outside world.

Lucca Sat 30-Jan-21 11:17:03

I don’t actually know people who tell me wonderful their lives are .

timetogo2016 Sat 30-Jan-21 11:20:42

I neither believe nor disbelieve what people brag about tbh.
I more so wonder why on earth would you tell someone anyway un-less your covering up something you want kept quiet.
Alot of families are dysfunctional but most certainly not all.

Lucca Sat 30-Jan-21 11:26:42

How do you define dysfunctional ? Or family come to that?

I don’t see one brother. No falling out as such. Just have nothing in common.
I’m divorced.
My sons are both married with children and we all love each other.
So is my family dysfunctional?

Doodledog Sat 30-Jan-21 11:27:37

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. is the first line of Anna Karenina smile

Sometimes a lot depends on the audience - who is going to go on about their stroppy teenager or their miserable husband to someone who never lets their own guard down?

I find that I am far more likely to have a 'natural' conversation where I might mention things like that with people who do likewise - it's a two-way street. good friends will share in your triumphs as well as your disasters (and those of your family).

'Perfect Patty' types rarely have close friends, in my experience, as nobody wants to trade boasts for moans. I once went to a social group where the conversation was all about children and grandchildren, and if one person 'casually' mentioned their grandson's physics degree someone else would 'drop' their granddaughter's MSc in Astrophysics into the reply. It was grim, but quite amusing (particularly as it was clear to me that most of them didn't have a clue about how universities and degrees actually work), but it meant that we didn't ever talk about things that mattered, and the conversation became a contest for those who joined in.

As soon as the group's business was done, a few of us went on for coffee and talked frankly about our lives and families, with humour and empathy. We all felt so much better after that.

Chewbacca Sat 30-Jan-21 11:33:33

I don’t actually know people who tell me wonderful their lives are

No, nor me Lucca. The people I know well enough to discuss families with tell of disappointments, worries, failures and successes in equal measure. As for "dysfunction", well surely what is one family's dysfunction is another family's normal?

Gwenisgreat1 Sat 30-Jan-21 11:36:34

The father of my GS - didn't want the boy, then fought tooth and nail to get custody. His mother has no idea she has a gorgeous grandson!! I think that's so sad, but it does mean I see my GS more than I would otherwise see him.

I believe he is from a dysfunctional family?

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 30-Jan-21 11:38:17

Who put the fun into dysfunctional?

One families woes are different to another’s and might be more or less serious depending your POV.

My mother thought that her neighbours life was awful, people dropping in to visit at all times of the day, lots of noise. I was envious !

Mamardoit Sat 30-Jan-21 11:39:24

I think I believe them yes. But it's just a moment in time and things change in a moment.

The perfect happy family is no longer that when the main bread winner dies/becomes ill/becomes unemployed. The perfect husband/wife suddenly isn't so perfect when their bit on the side comes to light. The same with children the perfect little children can turn into nightmare teens.

Yes I think all families go through times of dysfunctionality.
We have raise six children to adulthood. It's been good and I like to think we have done well but we are not perfect and have certainly made mistakes. DC teenage years were traumatic at times, money worries early on. The usual stuff. I was quite glad we lived in a detached house. I'm sure the neigbours would have been aware it wasn't all happy families in our house.

Bathsheba Sat 30-Jan-21 11:45:20

My daughter had a long text conversation with a friend of hers recently, where the friend was pouring out all her troubles, worries, fears and so on. She opened up more than she had ever done before, and my daughter said "oh I'm so sorry, I always think you always look so happy, with all the lovely photos you post". "Ah", the friend said, "you're mistaking my Facebook life for my real life."

Bathsheba Sat 30-Jan-21 11:47:01

Sorry, too many 'always' - the result of editing and not checking blush

Nanna58 Sat 30-Jan-21 11:48:02

I read somewhere that if you don’t think your family is dysfunctional that’s because you’re the dysfunctional one!!!🤣

Sara1954 Sat 30-Jan-21 12:14:57

Only my best friend knows everything that goes on in my life, I don’t go around bragging that everything is wonderful, but I don’t go around complaining about everything either.

nanna8 Sat 30-Jan-21 12:34:08

The hard stuff you only share with close friends and family. I don’t think anyone else would be interested. I would imagine there are very few families with no difficulties at all, just a matter of degree really.

sodapop Sat 30-Jan-21 12:42:17

I think dysfunctional is too strong a term for most families. We all have problems of some sort and in the main we manage to resolve them or live with a degree of difficulty.
I do have a friend who would send long messages about the brilliant lives of all her children and grandchildren. I did find myself reciprocating at one point so I gave myself a slap and just said all my family were well and happy. smile

NellG Sat 30-Jan-21 12:49:52

No I don't believe that anyone's family or life is all roses around the door and insta-worthy moments. But equally a degree of chaos every now and then (because life happens) doesn't necessarily represent dysfunction, even if sometimes it does border on drama.

Some of the problem with such descriptors is that they have a distinct meaning in a clinical setting which changes and becomes much more fluid in its application when the word slips into popular usage. Dysfunction to me is apparent when there is direct harm occurring within a family group - whereas families which are messy, chaotic, dramatic or even a mite too perfect are essentially functional if the members are able to maintain relatively stable, crime fee and mental illness free lives.

I think we give too many things a pathology these days and it's very divisive. We all have messy lives at times.

Elegran Sat 30-Jan-21 12:50:48

Never mind defining disfunctional, how do you define functional ?

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. from Anna Karenina, just isn't true. A family can be happy in many different ways, there isn't a single blueprint.