Removing the Dysfunction From Your Life

cropped-being-silly.jpgWelcome back my friends. Grab a seat and get comfortable.  The purple beanbag in the corner is Sha’s but you can sit anywhere else you like.  I’ve got some hot tea brewing so refreshments will be coming shortly.

Today’s topic:  how to distance oneself from a dysfunctional family.

Let me begin by saying I will never recommend something I have not done myself.  I am in no way a hypocrite.  If I give advice it is born from real experience.  I can only tell you what has worked for me; what you do with that information is entirely up to you, but you can count on the fact that I’m not blowing smoke.  What I tell you actually happened.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family and at one time I was the head of a dysfunctional family, a family that was dysfunctional because of my addiction to alcohol….so I’ve lived both ends of the spectrum.bills%20old%20photo%2012%20001

How does one divorce oneself from a dysfunctional family?

First, let me point out a simple fact:  your number one priority is your wellness.  Some suggestions I am going to make might hurt the feelings of family members, but if that is what it takes for you to be healthy then so be it.

There is no guilt in being a member of a dysfunctional family.  It is what it is, and children especially never asked to be surrounded by dysfunction so there is no reason in the world to feel guilty about it.

I eventually had to step away from my family for my own good health and peace of mind. There was no other way. They showed no signs of changing so the change had to happen in me.  I have done the same thing with toxic friends.  I have spent far too much of my life in negative circumstances; I don’t plan on spending anymore of my life there, so if someone is toxic to me they are gone from my life. Period!

I know that sounds harsh, and I suppose it is, but viewed from the standpoint that my wellness is the number one priority, it makes sense.  I started a new family with Bev and we have a healthy family….and the toxicity of my past, and those who caused it, can just go on living their lives of sickness without me.Train ride from Elbe to 018

If you cannot bring yourself to leave your family then you must set boundaries and guidelines.  It goes something like this….”Mom, I want you to be a part of your granddaughter’s life, but if you continue to bring your vile personality into  our home then you will not be allowed to do so”….or….”Dad, you are an alcoholic, and I don’t want my child to be subjected to your disease; so if you want to see your grandchild then don’t drink in my home.”

Learn to identify your emotions and then express them.  This was a tough one for me for years but now…watch out!  I have no problem telling someone how I feel, so if you don’t want to know then don’t ask me. J  And if someone in my family has hurt me or angered me then they are going to hear about it.  Bottom line is this: it is not alright for someone to hurt you….. stranger, friend or family member.  Voicing that to the person who has harmed you will make you feel infinitely better….hopefully. J


I hope this gave you something to think about.  What has worked for me may not work for you. If you have other suggestions then share them with all of us so we can learn.



About Billybuc

A simple man who has found happiness as a functioning dysfunctional.
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23 Responses to Removing the Dysfunction From Your Life

  1. Totally gave me food for thought and will say that setting boundaries is a huge start. I know from experience with someone close to us on Kevin’s side and must admit since we did set boundaries, things are definitely better and easier for us with this for sure. Thanks Bill for sharing and being honest here! Have a great Friday now!! 🙂

  2. Billybuc says:

    Janine, it can cause bad feelings but it can also cause tranquility. Seems like a good trade off to me. 🙂 Happy Happy Weekend to you my dear. Thank you!

  3. Bill, as I mentioned yesterday, I clearly see I am the dysfunctional one in my family (the me and Christopher family). I know it. I see it. I can no longer deny it. I’m working on day 3 of eliminating the cause of my dysfunction. It may not seem like it, but I’ve made great strides in making it to day 3. I said 2014 needs to be my year and it has to start with me.

    Thanx for the purple bean bag!

  4. Billybuc says:

    Sha, it always seems like great strides my friend. Well done! That bean bag will always be in the corner waiting for you. Love you!

  5. Stephanie says:

    It has always been hard for me to be confrontational, so I had to physically remove myself from the dysfunction in my “family of origin.” However, with years of self-work, I can interact with them and still maintain some semblance of who I truly am. Its not easy, but none of this is! Great post, Bill and I know I’m going to like reading your posts. 🙂

    • Billybuc says:

      Steph, you and Bev are out of the same mold. She hates confrontation. I don’t like it but I resigned myself to the fact long ago that it was, at times, necessary. This is one of those times. Thank you for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoy this blog. Have a great weekend.

      • paula says:

        I’d have to guess that the vast majority of mature, intelligent adults, seriously dislike “confrontation.” Yes, there are those who literally seek it out……individuals like that just seem to live for friction & conflict…the “Drama Kings & Queens.” They aren’t happy until everyone else is unhappy. Bless their sick little hearts.
        However, agreeing with bil-bro, as I do so often, there ARE times when confrontation is absolutely necessary. We must never allow others to beat us up and cause chaos and undue stress. We not only have the right to take action & speak up…we have a responsibility to ourselves and loved ones.
        This is a great blog.

      • Billybuc says:

        Paula, I can’t add a thing to your comment. Thank you, and if it’s a great blog it’s because of people like you.

  6. Lea Tartanian says:

    Billybuc; I printed out the whole thing for my billybuc folder. It could not have come at a better time.
    Had an awful New Year’s Day where I got yelled at by a close family
    in-law member.

    I told her I was sorry if I did anything to offend her and that I wanted to have a relationship with her and she yelled, ‘I DO NOT THINK I WANT TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU!” Totally broke my heart ….I am Humpty Dumpty and I cannot be glued back together.
    I have placed her at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ as well as myself. I said to God, “it’s YOURS” There is nothing else I can do. Sadly, I will have to just leave her alone but this has affected so many other people. I need a ‘parting of the red sea” miracle here.
    You are right…, I have to step away, and I will. THANK YOU for this timely message, Sparklea

    • Billybuc says:

      Lea, I am so sorry you had to go through that. As hard as it is, walking away is the only way to handle it. There may come a time when the mending and healing can happen, but it sounds like right now it is too volatile a situation. Blessings my friend, and hugs coming your way.

      • Lea Tartanian says:

        I believe in my heart God had me read what you wrote at the exact right time. THANK YOU SO MUCH. It has helped a lot. Also, reading that other people go through these situations is very encouraging that I am not alone. I also have a wonderful loving support from my husband, daughter, granddaughter, grandson, and sister. I am so very loved and cherished. And it is great to know God loves me and will somehow work it out. God bless you and Bev always. God is using your past to be a salvation to readers now and in the future.

  7. suzettenaples says:

    Bill: I agree with all you have written here. I have had to step away and have no contact with a particular family member and I am feeling better for it. It is difficult to do but it has to be done to survive in this insane world. And, still from afar, this person is still trying to manipulate me. It is amazing, but I have to hang tough. Thanks for listening and sharing!

  8. Billybuc says:

    Suzette, thank you for sharing your experience. It is amazing how a toxic person almost feels the need to spread their toxicity….sad for sure. Best wishes to you my friend.

  9. paula says:

    I can only think of 2 family members I distanced myself from over the decades….both, of course for valid reason. It really wasn’t all that difficult because I didn’t have to be in their company very often at all and could easily avoid them.
    I think it would be difficult if it was someone who had been a really close relative and I had to suddenly cut ties, but hopefully, I’ll not have to experience that.
    I do agree 100% when it’s necessary, we should not hesitate to erase the garbage and make room for the “new.” Great Blog, bill. I’ll be back!

    • Billybuc says:

      Paula, it wouldn’t be a party here without you. Welcome to my humble site where nobody tries to sell you anything and all opinions are welcome. I’m here to learn and I hope others are as well. I disowned my sister about eight years ago…she died three years later without us speaking….no, it is not easy…but there are times it is necessary. 🙂 Have a great weekend my friend.

      • paula says:

        I going to have to say, bill, that simply knowing how loving and compassionate you are, your decision had to be quite justifiable. It’s a double-edged sword, when we must discover how painful it can be, to go forward with a choice that ultimately brings about an inner peace. Is this a bit akin to…”It only hurts for a little while?” I think so. I’ve been faced with needing to do this with long-time “friends,” so to speak? In the end, it was best.

  10. Eddy Jones says:

    Hi Billy I also divorced my Dysfunctional family many years ago and if I hadn’t done so I would not be the person I am today. However as you say what works for one does not necessarily work for another ;I think everyone should go with what feels right for them. A great start on this new venture and I think it is going to become very popular.
    Enjoy your weekend my dear friend.

  11. Congratulations Bill, it’s more obvious what keeps us being friends. Some of the best ever lines a writer can publish,” I will never recommend something I have not done myself…'” – so on rest of your confession sounds so close to my personal.
    Though I didn’t have opportunity to grow in a dysfunctional family… that ” luxury” would put us to death by starving , we were so poor ( thank God ) ,my parents started incorporating my availability in daily “work force” since about five and this good smart profitable habit never ceased to be ” functional” up to very moment. On account of this result, my presence has been shied away as one of ” dysfunctional ” by circumstancing surroundings , when not accepting all religious schism, political contretemps, an social paradoxicalness , just mentioning a few.Do you thing my life is with struggle? Walking happy and healthy and fully satisfied?! Yes. No wonder that some of my friends can’t accept my answer to some of the issues ‘ ” I don’t care, – because I do care “‘ ‘(mmildc/012). Are you in forgiving ambience? Thank you.
    have a very blessed day.

    • Billybuc says:

      Michael my friend, you are a man of depth and compassion and intelligence. I have chosen my friends wisely it seems. 🙂 Thank you for visiting my humble site. You are always welcome here. Perhaps one day we will meet in person and sit as old friends do over coffee, and enjoy the warmth of good friendship always.

      blessings my friend


  12. randee says:

    “I eventually had to step away from my family for my own good health and peace of mind. There was no other way. They showed no signs of changing so the change had to happen in me.” THANK YOU for these words that put me a little more at peace with why I left my husband. I still go on short guilt trips.

  13. Donna Bryan says:

    Bill, I am FINALLY getting somewhat caught up on life after the holidays and can now find time to read again. You are absolutely right here. I had an aunt, my dad’s sister, that was toxic to my family. After she called my dad about 13 years ago and called my mom every name in the book, my dad told her never to call back. After learning of what she’d done, I called her and tried to talk some sense into her. She was even worse, trying to tell me what a horrible person my mother was. So I politely told her that I loved her and always would, but that my real purpose in calling her was to tell her good-bye. It was very hard to do, but it had to be done. My dad loved his sister very much and told me many times since then that he prayed for her every day. My aunt passed away almost a year ago. I get a lump in my throat when I think of all of years we did not have her in our lives, but we did what needed to be done for our own sanity.

    • Billybuc says:

      Donna, thank you for sharing that sad story. I bet it is a common one. I know my sister and I were not talking at the time of her death. I had to make the decision not to be surrounded by her irrationality any longer. Sure I had regrets but they were overcome by the realization that my health is my first priority.

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