If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression or have suicidal thoughts, you can learn more by clicking on the links below.
Mind Your Head is your link to help and a happier life. A qualified counsellor can talk to you about issues you may be experiencing and help you implement strategies to be happy and healthy again.
You can find a qualified Counsellor in your vicinity here: Counsellor Search
If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief, pain, loss, anxiety or having thoughts of ending your life, please call the Lifeline Crisis Line immediately.
Lifeline Crisis Support
13 11 14
Counselling professionals have identified at least four different kinds of dysfunctional family systems:
It matters little whether your family of origin failed to meet your needs and those of its other members because of problems with abuse, alcohol or drugs, or dogmatic attitudes. If you grew up or are still living in an environment where it’s not ok to talk about or express things openly, where issues or relational matters are not expressed directly, or where there are many injunctions prohibiting you from normal expression (such as: “don’t be selfish”, “don’t be playful”, “don’t rock the boat”, or “don’t talk about sex”), then you are living the effects of long-term exposure to an unhealthy system. Such systems discourage the honest communication without which relationships are ineffective, or even harmful.
Participating in such a system may have induced chronic shame, guilt, or mistrust in you. You may have learned that being “perfect” is more important that being “real” and your deeper self may have gone into hiding, because it couldn’t risk showing itself. You may have learned that it wasn’t ok to take care of yourself – that that would be “selfish” (seen as bad) – and you may need to now unlearn that. You may have learned that, rather than your behaviour being unacceptable, it was yourself that was unacceptable: permanently.
As a result of these dynamics, you may in your adult life experience such challenges as:
Counselling would probably be very helpful for you. While you will undoubtedly work on some of the problems resulting from the family dysfunction, it is also important to develop with your counsellor a sense of what a functional family is like. The cohesiveness, nurturance, pervasive sense of love and peace, and capacity for support and intimacy which occur in well-working families can be available to you, too. You have a right to be loved, respected, communicated with honestly, and to grow in an affirming, non-judging environment. You have a right to live with others who are open, fair, and willing to compromise and negotiate with you so that all parties’ needs are met.
Mind Your Head is an initiative of the Australian Counselling Association, a national professional association for qualified Counsellors.