dys·func·tion noun \(ˌ)dis-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən\
abnormal or unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction within a group
Easier said than done, although, the awareness that we all have our elements of dysfunction makes it easier. Recognizing I, solely, have responsibility for my own actions and words and time spent and attitude, there came a point when I had to decide that while there are times I may need to tolerate someone else’s dysfunction, or to ignore someone else’s dysfunction, or to graciously accept someone else’s dysfunction, I did not need to be controlled by others’ “abnormal or unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction.”
I must settle in my mind that dysfunction happens, but it doesn’t have to control me. This resolve takes constant vigilance, since we are all dysfunctional, so here are some of my favorites quotes on dysfunction from long forgotten sources that help me keep perspective.
“95% of American families are dysfunctional and 5% are in denial.” – (I told this to another mom once and they immediately said “My family isn’t dysfunctional.” oops.)
Let’s be honest, there are times when someone in our own family, or in any relationship, does something that is either abnormal (we all have our bad days) or unhealthy ( for examples, snap at the closest person around (whether they deserve it or not), give the silent treatment instead of talking it out, lying to say it doesn’t matter or didn’t hurt….)
“The weakest person always controls the group.”
I have seen this over and over again on teams, in families, and in business. The strongest people in the group are able to adapt and adjust. The weakest group members don’t want to or can’t change to move with the flow. The whole group protects the weak and creates the illusion of harmony and normalcy by gathering together to pick up the slack. In reality, the group is helping no one. The weak don’t grow, the strong don’t produce, and no one is happy. The status quo reigns until even that is lessened.
“Let’s put the ‘fun’ back in dysfunctional.”
If I go around fretting, noticing, and concentrating on the DYS… I miss the FUN. There is a simple truth: we are all imperfect creatures. To expect perfection is unfair and unrealistic. To assume that others control my happiness or satisfaction is very, very limiting, so it makes a lot more sense to try to find the lovely and the fun in each person we have to be around.