How Dysfunctional People Make You Feel Dysfunctional

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Dysfunctional People Make You Feel Dysfunctional

 

Dysfunctional people have a way of turning the tables on others. That is, they find a way to make those around them feel like they are the problem, when, in reality, their turbulent heart is the source of turbulence in their lives. (James 4:-1-2)

 
dysfunctional spouse
 

Are You Dealing with a Dysfunctional Person?

 

You might be dealing with a dysfunctional person, especially in marriage, if one or more of the following often occurs:

 

1. You find yourself constantly second guessing your actions and motives

2. You are often over-evaluating what you did wrong to make that spouse, friend, or family member mad

3. You are constantly playing a tape in your mind of what you may or may not have done wrong

4. You find yourself taking the blame or apologizing so as to smooth over a situation

5. You are walking an ever so fine line so as not to offend that particular person

6. You are constantly having to explain away the other person’s actions to others so as to keep the peace

7. The relationship is more of a source of exhaustion than refreshment

 

How They Turn the Tables Around

 

Dysfunctional people are almost ingenious at making others feel like they are the problem. Though this is mostly done in the subconscious realm, they are, nonetheless, extremely good at putting people in a defensive mode, making the innocent feel guilty, or portraying the perpetrator as the victim.

Let me supply just a few reasons how dysfunctional people have a way of making others feel like they are the problem:

 

1. They project their shortcomings on others

 

Titus 1:15 tells us:

 

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and their conscience is defiled.”

 

Paul teaches us that a dysfunctional person views others through the lens of their own dysfunction. That is, if they have a problem with lust, then they project that on others. If they struggle with gossip, lying, and selfishness, then they typically assume others are guilty of the same.

For this reason, I have a rule that I follow: The accusations of others typically are revealing the sin of the accuser than the defendant. In fact, I have even heard some say that, in spiritually abusive and highly legalistic settings, if you want to find out with what sin the preacher struggles, listen carefully to what sin he denounces the most.

A dysfunctional person has a way of reading things into situations so as to cause those around them to either feel defensive, inadequate, or downright mad. Consequently, they have made those around them to feel just as bad as themselves, and, to be honest, this is typically one of their their goals as misery seems to love company.

 

2. They draw others offsides

 

The dysfunctional spouse, parent, or friend has a way of drawing others offsides. In other words, because they are hard to live with, they have a way of provoking others to lose their cool. Once this occurs, a vicious cycle starts in that the recipients feel guilt and remorse while the dysfunctional person feels a sense of empowerment or vindication because of the apologies they receive.

 

3. They lack self-awareness

 

Though we can psychologize and theorize all we want, at the end of the day, dysfunctional people are difficult to be around, and, they are usually far too self-absorbed to see that they are the issue.

Due to a lack of self-awareness, all they can see are people either getting frustrated or withdrawing from them. Unfortunately, instead of looking within, they blame without, and as long as this cycle occurs, they will fail to make progress in their lives.

The best day of my life was when I started to take personal responsibility for the environment that my sin and selfishness had created. Instead of blaming my wife and others for the difficulties in my life, I realized that even the tallest branch at the top of the tree of my difficulties was a result of my own root of bitterness.

In Matthew 7, Jesus said:

 

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

 

Jesus was fully aware that we see dysfunction in others easier than in ourselves. This is why so many are prone to heatedly accuse yet coldly repent.

 

Fight Against Dysfunction

 

For spouses dealing with a dysfunctional spouse, we would highly recommend fighting, but in ways that actually work. This is why one of our major steps for women as well as men is to lay down weaponry that is ubiblical in nature and start using weaponry that helps to forumulate what I call a win-win scenario for God’s glory and both spouses. We deal with this more specifically in chapters 8, 9, and 10 of our marriage book. Order our marriage book here.

Order our Christian Marriage Book
How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another

 

  • Learn our 2-step Process to Solving Marriage Issues
  • Use for your next Bible study
  • A Biblical Yet Refreshing Approach

 

 

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Posted in Marriage Advice

6 comments on “How Dysfunctional People Make You Feel Dysfunctional
  1. Michelle says:

    I am so thankful for this article. As I was reading, I couldn’t believe, 1-7. I have the book aleeady.I guess I need to read it again. This describes my relationship perfectly. I really was starting to question my own sanity.
    Wondering, am I going koo koo…
    Thank you so so much for this article. Truly,the Lord led me to read this.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I am dealing with this right now. A couple of weeks after us getting married last year, this is when all of the controlling, dysfunctional arguments, nick picking, criticizing, accusing, blaming, yelling and name calling started. I couldn’t believe my husband was/would talk to me in such a way. So in defense, I became defensive and would say things back. We sought out a marriage counselor in December 2016 and ended Feb 2016 for financial reasons. The counseling was helping me a lot, my husband did not like the counselor so I suggested we find another, but he refused. We’ve had a few good weeks/days, but as soon as I say or do something that he doesn’t like, he blows up on me. He would disrespect my boundaries, lack of respect, belittle and demean me and hitting below the belt. So in defense, I would hit below the belt. I clearly understand wrong is wrong, right is right, but it was so hard living with my husband. Our marriage began to become unsettled at the beginning of this month. To the point that he ended up changing the house locks and I had to move. Now he sought out to a marriage counselor and coincidentally, its the same one that he doesn’t like to work to save our marriage. I feel that this separation would be good for the both of us and especially him. So he could reflect on how he mistreated me during 1 yr and 3 months of our marriage. I don’t deserve to be treated this way. I don’t want to divorce him, I just wish he’ll get the mental help that he needs and come out of his denial. I don’t know how long of a separation this would be but I am going to counseling for myself also. To help in rebuilding back my self-esteem, self-confidence and learning how to set my personal boundaries. Yet, I’m so sad and disappointed that my marriage is short lived. I don’t know what else to do after praying, improving myself, counseling and healing from the situations that had occurred in my marriage.

    Would you have any suggestions? I’m willing to fight for my marriage, but I need help…

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously not a proponent of divorce but similar situation. I was separated from my husband for 2 years and as of last week our divorce was final. I think if you’ve prayed and have peace with the Holy Spirit about your decision that’s between you and the Lord and no one else. I was also with someone who didn’t respect boundaries, same instance with counseling- it was my fault. I’ve never been happier and closer to the Lord. Good luck in your journey.

    • Diana says:

      I have been though the exact same situation the first five yrs of my marriage!!! Not understanding why and where is this coming from? Trying to figure out what did I do so wrong!!! but for me not having no one to talk to or lean on soI looked to God. I prayed and ask God for a lot of piece and to give me the strength daily. Several times divorce came to thought but because of the very wise six weeks of counseling before marriage that we had I knew that I couldn’t give up.. I mean I could tell you some horror stories it was rough.. Though it all God allowed me to see that the satan was trying to destroy what he had joined together. I tried to explain to him several times it was a spiritual fight that was going on in the marriage but he couldn’t see it so I refuse to give up inspite of. I keep looking to the heels from which my help came from.. As time went on my situation slowly ceased. I asked God why is it hard for him to let someone close in his heart ?And the lord told me it’s because he never was showed love a a child and that he is harvesting a lot of bitterness and resentment in his heart. So now I have an understanding of why after so many years together. We have been married for eighteen years now and I am proud to say that we are happy with one another. So keep the faith my sister and keep praying and most of all don’t give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. Marla says:

    So I’m struggling with this circumstance. I’ve read your book as well as my spouse. If one loses their cool, and pushed the other…who is actually the dysfunctional one? I’m seeking all sorts of help to fix me thinking I’m the problem. I’m so sad by this. How do I pray?

    • May I ask a question? Do you both have chapter one down? That is, do you both wake up feeling spiritually healthy and whole? If not, then you will both keeping “digging into” one another to fill that void. This is not an insignificant point. Do not simply add this to your list of marriage counseling tips. It is not just a good point, but rather the point for many couples as healthy individuals make up a healthy marriage.

      Dr. Force

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