Courage, Creating Awareness, Excavating Authenticity, Finding Love, Forgiveness, Vulnerability

Why a Dysfunctional Family Does Not Limit Our Potential to Find Love

DNA Manipulation

In 2003 Harville Hendrix was on The Oprah Winfrey Show talking about his book “Getting the Love You Want.” He said, “If you fall in love, your unconscious is picking the right person. Then it’s a growth relationship to help you heal.”

Maybe this happens because emotional intimacy opens us up at such a cavernous level, it’s only then we can begin to unearth some of the deepest, most subtle imprints that lie within us?

You all may remember, I wrote a few posts about a guy (“Defining What Love Is” and “Examining the Ideas Behind Being Worthy of Love“) I had been seeing and we admittedly had some large things to overcome (long-distance and international relations). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and we broke up.

For a few months I was heartbroken in the dark depths of despair. This is the first time in my life that I really opened up to the ideals of love and I let myself be swept up into it only to painfully plummet with a thud. I was begging for the lesson and I couldn’t find it. I did a lot of yoga, a lot of drinking, and a lot of doubting because I couldn’t understand why I would be put in a situation where I felt a fool, a place that seemed to be a centrifugal force (definition: moving, or tending to move away from a center).

I went over and over my role, the actions I took, and all the things I could have done better because I honestly believed that coming from a defunct family has left me with a handicap. I wondered what I did that was “wrong” and questioned what I don’t know about cultivating romantic relationships.

Once I restored order to my life I was, begrudgingly, cleaning out my DVR and all the Oprah episodes that had accumulated during this recuperation. While half-listening I suddenly noticed Dr. Phil was on Lifeclass outlining the foundation of what a nourishing relationship looks like and it innately mirrored exactly what my vision is for the kind of partnership I’m looking for.

Out of nowhere that sneaky little voice delivered the lesson as: Just because you are from a highly dysfunctional family does not mean you don’t know what a healthy relationship is. WHAM!

It’s almost a “guilt by association” prophecy. How many of us who grew up in dysfunctional families and thereby believe that we do not understand what “functional” is?

I’ve seen similar manifestations of this on dating websites when people describe the kind of mate they’re looking for and state, “must be from a good family” and even I’d conclude, well – that’s not me.

We can know what something is not, to understand what it should be. Having knowledge of the dark, allows us to move toward the light. That bit about “must be from a good family” is b.s. That’s a judgement.

I haven’t shared many personal stories here but I felt that I’m not alone in this one and I hope any one of you who may feel this way, or didn’t know you carried this belief with you, will learn from my lesson and save yourself some heartache.

We are all worthy and capable of finding an amazing, nurturing love despite where we’ve come from. “Dysfunction” is not a genetic marker we’ve automatically inherited. 

And as painful and as hard as this was, now I can be grateful for shedding a false belief and having this experience bring me closer to my center.

Mr. Hendrix has a point. We may think falling in love is the death of us but in fact it’s the place to heal and repair an authentic part of us.