Dysfunctional Family Life

Ugh. Please pray for my husband and I. We have our work cut out for us. We’ve always known our families aren’t perfect, but we have been immune to how toxic they actually are until a few months ago. We had a bit of a wake up call due to many random situations occurring over the years that have finally led to a breaking point. Due to this our relationship and other relationships in our lives have suffered from the very beginning. We’re looking forward to bettering ourselves the most intentional way possible through therapy. We would like to learn how to communicate better in general and learn emotional intelligence. Has anyone gone through something like this before? I honestly can’t believe how much it has hindered my. entire. life. and how unaware I was until recently. So sad. I will be grateful for this realization though and rise above.

I would do a Retrovaille retreat before the secular “Emotional Intelligence” thing https://www.helpourmarriage.org/


My wife and I found counseling very helpful (try to find a Catholic, or at least a Christian counselor…some Priests make time for this). We also read several books together (“Safe People”, “Boundaries”, “The Emotions God Gave You”, etc…). Main thing is to put your Marriage first. This may result in at least some temporary severing of other family relationships, and that is okay. Marriage first (with God), and the rest will follow in due time (unless those other people are just not healthy to be around).

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I look at it this way. If both of you are “in the same boat” due to severely dysfunctional “families of origin”, and if both of you are aware of this and want to break the cycle and overcome it, the two of you are probably most able to patiently relate to each other’s struggles. Please use this as a base.


I just googled ‘emotional intelligence’. It seems to be a popular psychological term, fairly recently developed. One site my search led to was a way to make more money…another led to an article in ‘Psychology Today’. I saw no harm in anything I read, but it seems to be a rather new term. Have you spoken to your priest. To a practicing psychiatrist? You really should be wary of such terms, and the practitioners behind them. You seem to have your mind made up. Please, proceed with care, and never depart from your faith. If you’re ever asked to do something that goes against the faith…don’t. I’ll pray for you.

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So, you did get married (talking about your first two posts here, about 7 years ago. How bad has it become? Are you just angry at each other’s families? Are you at the point of divorce/annulment?

I’m afraid you’re going to let some new ‘pop psychology’ idea push you over the edge, with each other, or with family members. Ask yourself every possible question, before you let a therapist with an untried method and agenda take over your lives. Please, see your priest! It’s always best to seek spiritual advice first.

I don’t know if it’s a good advice since I don’t know much about your relation; but does your families interfere in your couple? Do you have arguments because of that? Do you have arguments about a specific issue over and over? Maybe distancing yourself from family members or friends coul help. Anyway, I wish you the best

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I agree that they should look at specific situations themselves. And, I don’t know of any couple who has not benefited from a separation, short or long, from their families. What’s concerning me is the use of technical terms like ‘toxic’, and the idea that they didn’t know what their problem was, until this ‘emotional intelligence’ practitioner pointed it out. A past poster had a similar situation…she didn’t know that her problems stemmed from her family, until a ‘mentor’ pointed it out. She did a quick exit, as this poster has now done.

I did Google ‘emotional intelligence’, and have heard no real harm in it, but it does seem to be actively seeking clients. They say they can improve finances, help emotional problems, also family problems…in short, do a bit of everything. Most such things eventually fizzle out, but there always the toxic (literally speaking) few, that inspire, or are started by cult leaders, or financial scammers. I just hope they’re not getting themselves into anything like that!

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