Defining Dysfunctional

“Not operating normally or properly” – the Google definition of dysfunctional. A Google search on dysfunctional family, (at the top of the results) says “a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal.”

Someone recently referred to my family as being dysfunctional. I have heard the term and reference for years. This was the first time I heard MY family called “dysfunctional.” Holy dog mess! Wide eyes, choke, cough, gag and gasp! It was during one of my Tuesday morning coffee chats with my church group. Now, I know full well this young friend had not intended the use of such a negative connotation of my family. We were discussing the ins and outs of our families in an effort to get to know one another as we are the first members of a new church. I thought a dysfunctional family was a family who endured the rigors of divorce and possibly the restructuring of a new step-family. I am certain this is the same definition my sweet friend also had in mind. Nonetheless, the reference struck a nerve.

I have been wrestling with the notion of blogging trying to decipher if a creation of personal thoughts, feelings and emotions would benefit such public scrutiny. I have prayed, studied and discussed these thoughts with my husband, family and friends. Everyone has encouraged me to move forward and some have mentioned the need for such a blog. I had no clear direction until that morning when my friend planted a seed, but even then I was still unsure. After pondering the notion for several weeks, I again discussed the ideas with the Ladies group and mentioned the previous conversation. They agreed with the content approach and further discussed the known individuals who could benefit. Convicted or Conflicted. 6 Ways to Test a Prompting. Prerequisite to Hearing God …pieces of the sermon presented by Pastor Matt Blair just 5 days later entitled “Hearing God’s Voice” as part of a summer series “No Excuses” ( You see where this is headed.

I was raised in the most amazing family. My parents have been together for more than 50 years, as were their parents. I made only 18. Divorced with 3 young boys. A few years later I reconnected with an old friend who turned out to be my Prince Charming with 2 kids of his own. We dated a few years, so I knew what I was getting myself into. We were married on New Year’s Eve…at the stroke of midnight…under the explosion of a magnificent firework display. The event was the perfect fairy tale with only our boys composing our wedding party, all six of them! (I will get to that.) Blending two families however is not quite what I could have dreamt or imagined; nothing what I had planned which leads me here – to you.

When I agreed to this relationship with Prince Charming, we discussed everything – in depth. One question I posed was what to do with things – anything from a toy to an automobile – when it breaks? Do you set it aside and get to it when you have time? Do you replace it? He replied, “You fix it”. I told him to remember that – for the next 50 years! So here we are, in the midst of blending our family. We take this to heart because we are creating not just our current family dynamic, we are laying the foundation for the future families of each of our children who will replicate our reactions and responses. Existing within the blending of two families presents challenges, sometimes on a daily basis. The dynamics within my family further complicate the endeavor. I am a doer or as my husband recently informed me, a “mother hen” always trying to fix and help those within my circles. So with great intentionality I need to find the best process of blending my family. I cannot be the only person to encounter such complicated challenges. With that notion, I create this blog to have a place where we can discuss, encourage and just listen to each other as we establish a new normal and blend our families. Blending a family has proven not to be a fairy tale but I intend to make this new family my happily ever after.

2 thoughts on “Defining Dysfunctional”

  1. I love the biggest question you posed to The Prince; his response was perfect! Thank you for sharing your words and wisdom. I am excited to be able to take some parenting cues from someone who has such a strong family foundation!

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