Dysfunctional fundamentalist families (11): Family Health Versus Dysfunction

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by Neil Godfrey

Final in this series on dysfunctional fundamentalist families: the rest are archived here.

Some of the dynamics of fundamentalist families are similar to those of other dysfunctional families. For example, in both fundamentalist and alcoholic families

  • denial is strong
  • prohibitions against perceiving, feeling and expressing are common

To recover from the experience of growing up in a dysfunctional family it is important to understand difficulties that may be experienced in such areas as those listed above. Understanding difficulties with denial and expressing feelings is important, but it is just as necessary to understand their positive counterparts.

It is for that reason that Marlene Winell prepared the chart checking off traits in both dysfunctional and healthy families. The idea is to go through each point and compare with one’s own family experience.

I’ve reproduced the contents of that list (with Winell’s permission) in the first post of this series — here.

Understanding is the first step. I found some of the exercises Marlene includes in the book (Leaving the Fold) helpful too. (That link also leads to places to purchase the book.) There is also her website.

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Neil Godfrey

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