It has been my experience that the number one problem, or issue, at the root of a dysfunctional family – THAT IS AVOIDABLE – is a lack of communication. So, if I know that, then why do I have such a problem opening my mouth?
I’ll tell you one big reason: Timing.
Often times we make reasonable justifications for not communicating. We find excuses to prolong a conversation that is important, or going to be challenging, so, sit back and wait. An excuse could be I want to do it in person, or, now’s not the time. Bur, there is no perfect time. The longer you wait to have a much needed conversation, the less likely you’ll have it, a more likely things will only get worse. If you feel something, or think something, say something. Maybe you want to tell your partner for the first time that you love them, and by doing that you will put yourself out there to be vulnerable and alone so hold your tongue. Weeks, or months, can go by and you go back and forth in your mind on when to tell them, where to tell them, how to tell them. When is the perfect time and setting? There isn’t one. So you end up wasting all that time lacking communication cause you don’t know the response and might be scared. I did that once. I was dating someone that I started to love and I spent so much time thinking about is he going to say it, should I say it first? Then, at some point, it became ridiculous so I had to roll the dice and put myself out there.
I finally got the nerve to tell them that I loved them, and the response was, “Thank you.” Ouch! Okayyy! But, did I regret voicing my feelings with no return? Not really. At least I knew where things stood between us. If there was anything to regret it’s that I didn’t open my mouth sooner. Good or bad, it’s better to know where you stand in a relationship then waste your time ruminating on it.
Another example, let’s say you want to ask for a raise. Like the saying goes, time is money, so waiting for the right moment wastes potential money you can possibly gain. So, whether it is a relationship thing, or work situation, open lines of communication may be challenging but, in my opinion, not as difficult as communication within a family.
When it comes to families, I find it interesting that family should be the one place you should feel free to express yourself, and share your feelings. However, a dysfunctional family does not know how to communicate. They can be passive aggressive. or be in denial. or practice avoidance, and all those elements are a result of poor communication. So what can you do if you find yourself in a family that lacks communication?
Speak now, worry later. So that guy didn’t reciprocate my love. Big deal, next. So you did or didn’t get that raise, now you know. When it comes to communication in a family, the longer you put it off, the worse it becomes. A tiny issue can easily blow up over night, and become something way bigger than it needs to be.
So here we have it, case in point:
My parent died suddenly, and it left my family in disarray. We all broke down, stopped communicating, and the next thing you know my Mom was conserved by a crook. Then I find myself at the probate court of LA Superior County trying desperately to remove him, which it practically impossible. If my family had been able to communicate, we wouldn’t be in this mess and sadly, we continue to lack communication, so nothing has changed.
Let this be a cautionary. Death is inevitable, so, make sure you have things set up before you go. Communicate with your loved ones on family matters. Does your family know if you want to be cremated or buried? If you can’t answer that question then you might need to call a family meeting. Someone as minor as that should be a given but, if you are in a dysfunctional family, you might not know the answer to that question.