“Your friends are God’s way of apologizing for your relatives!"

Wayne W. Dyer
Author: The Power of Intention

My Source Experience - Journal

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This Week´s Inspiration

Dysfunctional Relatives: Friend or Foe?

Many years ago, while visiting a friend in hospital, a large poster on the ward wall caught my eye. It was a picture of a large football stadium with two cars and two families at center field. The rest of the facility was empty. The headline read, “Annual Convention of Functional Families.” The footer continued . . . “And these two families are in denial.”

All of us bring some baggage to relationships; the only variable is how much.

For law enforcement officers, the most dangerous on-duty situations are domestic disputes. Why? Emotionally charged individuals do not think rationally and they are completely unpredictable. Quite frankly, that describes some of the relationships I have with a couple of my own relatives. 

How about you? Do you have a family member who pushes your buttons?

Many of us will dwell on the negative or the unattractive elements of our family relationships. We focus on the behaviors and outcomes we like the least! As a result, we attract more of the same poor behavior into our relationships. Why should we be surprised? 

Let me encourage you that you have the ability to change your situation, no matter what your background. Consider the next statement as a foundation to improving not only family, but all relationships

What other people think of me is none of my business!

How do you learn (or teach others) to have peaceful and authentic relationships with relatives? 

It is very difficult to build a constructive relationship with a person when your emotions toward that individual involve humiliation, blame, despair, regret, anxiety, and even hatred. 

Here’s the kicker: Others treat us the way we teach them to treat us! Ouch! The fact remains that the only people we can change are ourselves―and that is true for our thinking and our resulting behavior.

In previous e-zines, we have identified that self-worth can be situational—your self-worth can be high in certain circumstances and less so in others. 

If someone places poison on your plate, you don’t have to eat it. No one is capable of making you upset without your consent. And only you know if you have been giving your consent with too much frequency in the past.

We all carry our early heritage into our lives. Today this e-zine is asking: 
Is your past a constructive or destructive element in your life today? 

To help you better identify how your family background might be contributing to your responses, please review the following survey questions. This is not designed to be a scientific survey. It is simply a way to help you frame many of the common emotional traits that come out of dysfunctional family environments. 

If you feel unsettled by your responses to the survey questions, please contact a professional or an individual skilled in these areas to help you with these matters. Remember: the survey does not create the results; it only helps document what is already true.

Please respond True or False to these questions.

  1. Do you find yourself needing approval from others to feel good about yourself? T / F
  2. Do you agree to do more for others than you can comfortably accomplish? T / F
  3. Are you perfectionistic? T / F
  4. Do you find it difficult to identify what you're feeling? T / F
  5. Do you find it difficult to express your feelings? T / F
  6. Do you tend to think in all-or-nothing terms? T / F
  7. Do you often feel lonely, even in the presence of others? T / F
  8. Do you tend to hang on to hurtful or destructive relationships? T / F
  9. Are you more aware of others' needs and feelings than your own? T / F
  10. Do you find it particularly difficult to deal with anger or criticism? T / F 
  11. Do you find yourself waiting for disaster to strike, even when things are going well in your life? T / F
  12. Do you have difficulty with authority figures? T / F 

These questions may help you assess your own family-background situation. 

"True" answers may indicate carryover effects from family dysfunction. Most people could likely identify with some of the questions. If you find yourself answering "True" to more than half the questions, you likely have some long-term effects of living in a dysfunctional family. If you find yourself answering "True" to the majority of the questions, you might want to seek assistance or start choosing to change the way you think about these issues.

So much more can be covered on this topic, but this will get you started. To truly experience freedom from others’ negative impact is to feel centered and confident in your own self-worth, values, and strengths. If have you already not done so, consider three CRG resources to help you on this journey: Self-Worth Inventory, Values Preference Indicator, and Personal Style Indicator. They can be a very powerful processes for building your self-confidence and increasing your personal victories. 

Maybe you know someone else who could benefit from this process, too?

When I became clearer about my own values and accepted self-approval, I was more grounded and centered―and my emotions were more positive, productive, and predictable. I wish that result for everyone reading this e-zine. 

Are your relatives friend or foe? The answer is really up to you.

This Week´s Action Steps

Choosing Functional Relationships

  1. Do some of your relatives push your hot buttons? Who? Why?

  2. If you answered Yes to the first question, what emotional affect does that have on you and others?

  3. Have you given your power away by letting others negatively affect you? If Yes, be clear about who, what, and why.

  4. Focus your inner dialogue on what you want, not what someone else is doing or saying. Focus your attention on staying grounded, centered, and authentic.

  5. Stop responding with low energy (negative) emotions such as humiliation, blame, despair, regret, anxiety, and hatred. 

  6. Identify what you want—orally and in writing. Focus on it; claim the emotional feelings you get when you go to that space. Be clear about your choices and values by completing the Self-Worth Inventory, Values Preference Indicator, and Personal Style Indicator.

  7. Be intentional; wish that all others have what you want for yourself. It is not congruent to want peace, harmony, and enjoyment for yourself and misery for others. You get what you project.

  8. Model the behaviors that you seek from others. 

  9. Expect nothing in return; don’t link your choices to the outcome. If you have an agenda of specific behaviors from others, you will surely be disappointed. 

  10. Be patient and hold no grudges. Unless you practice forgiveness, your enjoyment will be short-lived.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!

Ken Keis

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