How Have Family Dynamics Impacted Your Addiction?
by 449 Staff

Everyone has a story about where they come from and how their life began on this earth. Family dynamics tend to range from simple to complex and are somewhat unknown. Someone’s family situation can severely impact how they develop and continue to affect them in their adult life. Unfortunately, these effects largely go unnoticed and unexamined. Being able to understand how your family dynamic has influenced who you are and how you make decisions can help you understand your addiction and substance misuse.

Self-awareness and emotional maturity are great tools for sorting out how your family dynamic has affected your life and how you live it. Your family may be as small as one other person or could be forever growing. No matter the size or the people that comprise it, someone’s family can affect all aspects of their development and life choices, so it is important to consider how your family has influenced you. It is essential to understand how your family conditioned how you think or react to life’s challenges.

When Does the Family Dynamic Start Affecting People?

Immediately after we are born, our minds and bodies are taking in the world around us. We instantly start to register our family’s voices, smells, and touches. These senses impact how we handle the world. The environment that people are raised in may stay constant or be ever-changing, but it will always have an impact.

The everyday interactions between family and child from the child’s infancy to adolescence and adulthood make a massive difference in how they view the world. Small conversations that family members may not even think twice about can have significant impacts on how someone develops.

What Do Healthy Family Dynamics Look Like?

In essence, in a healthy family, the dynamics are characterized by unconditional love, truthful advice given from a place of empathy, and genuine care from other family members that do not involve any sort of hidden agenda.

Creating safe and secure spaces to coexist as a family is one of the foundations of building healthy relationships among family members. Other factors that contribute to a healthy family dynamic include flexibility, stability, communication, and a sense of mutual understanding between the family members about the common goal of love and support for one another.

What Do Unhealthy Family Dynamics Look Like? 

On the flip side, many aspects can create an unhealthy family dynamic that makes growing up in that household more challenging, especially when experiencing crucial developmental landmarks. Unclear communication, constant criticism, arguments over which family member is fulfilling which roles, isolation, rigidness, bullying, and disorganization are some of the attributes of unhealthy family dynamics.

Family dynamics play a remarkable role in how someone’s mental health is shaped. Unhealthy family dynamics cause adolescents trauma and stress as they grow up. This results in those adolescents experiencing worse mental health outcomes, which may lead to choices like substance misuse and addiction. These dynamics can also lead to someone developing mental or physical health issues and struggling to achieve the same quality of life that someone from a healthy family dynamic achieves naturally.

Family Dynamics Are Lifelong

The most important aspects of someone’s family dynamic may shift as they grow up. In adolescence, for example, family dynamics are relied on to provide basic needs like food, water, and shelter. They should also be a source of stability, direction, and a healthy degree of emotional closeness.

Once someone is old enough to provide for themselves, the necessity of these things being provided by the family may diminish as the young adult becomes able to receive them from other sources like friends or romantic partners. As the aging process continues, the family may become important again because the friendships and relationships someone once had may not exist anymore or be as relevant. Someone who has aged may need the family again to help them meet those basic needs.

Other people who have grown up never want their family to provide for them again and may even be closed off to contact with their family. They may feel as though having their family in their lives would do more harm than good and would not be beneficial to their mental health. Not talking to one’s family does not mean one has escaped their family dynamics, however. In fact, it is an indication that the family dynamic continues to impact their lives and decisions.

No One Can Choose Their Family Dynamic

Though no one is in control of the dynamics in their family when they were a child, they have the power to heal from negative experiences and let people into their lives who will be healthier and more positive influences. Suppose you are conscious of the influence your family had on you growing up. In that case, you can choose to let that influence ultimately be for your benefit to motivate you to live healthier dynamics in the relationships you choose to build.

Seeking therapy to talk through issues can help you heal from your past and open a path to a better quality of life that includes sobriety and healthy relationships. We are not able to change what has happened in the past, but we can work toward a better future for ourselves. 

Is your family dynamic healthy or unhealthy? Are you aware of how your family dynamic can impact your growth into adulthood? Has your family dynamic impacted your substance misuse and addiction? Understanding how your family interacts may give clarity to how you react to situations in your life. No matter the status of your relationship with your family, you have a family dynamic that will continue affecting you unless you become conscious of its effects. It is important to understand that your decisions both consciously and subconsciously are due in part to how your family dynamic influenced your development. Those who come from a healthier family dynamic are more likely to make more positive choices for themselves in life, whereas those experiencing unhealthy family dynamics may be more likely to indulge in substance misuse. However, you can change your trajectory. Call 449 Recovery at (949) 435-7449 to learn more. 



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