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“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me—my boy was just like me.” Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin


God’s solution for dysfunctional families…


  1. Examine the problem.


We are all members of a dysfunctional family.


As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3



  1. Understand God’s Solution:


Jesus’ intervention broke the cycle of dysfunction.


But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7



  1. Move beyond recovery


We need to give away what we now possess.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10


Some of the typical behaviours seen in dysfunctional families:



  • Pretending to not hear you; moving the conversation the direction that suits them.
    • Completely ignoring you.
    • Walking out of the room when you walk in.
    • Creating allegiances and scapegoats.


Emotional blackmail

  • Guilt-trips.
    • Criticisms, blame.
    • Resentment.
    • Blocking opportunities to express emotion.


Verbal attacks

  • Direct Accusations (aimed at you).
    • Indirect Accusations (aimed at you via others).


Role shifting

  • Forcing sons and daughters into surrogate parent or sibling roles, such as parents looking for approval off children or passing responsibility to children for their issues.
    • Crossing boundaries such as making inappropriate requests, constantly asking for money or sacrificing personal time to fix their problems.
    • Burdening with worries, especially around health.
    • Sharing too much private information, such as confiding about their relationship with your mother or father.
    • Interfering and trying to control situations for example forcing your hand in decisions surrounding career, relationships or life, etc.

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