Dysfunctional Parental Figures

A parental figure is anyone who takes on the role of authority. That can be in the home, school, church, judicial system or community.  Anyone a child will look to for order, direction or safety in their life.  If there is no one stepping up to that plate they will create their own sense of security.  A dysfunction happens within that unit when the parental figures are otherwise occupied.  That preoccupation can be from addiction and there are many types.  Addiction is anything that occupies your thoughts and actions over anything else.  It is where you spend most of your time, money and energy.  When you are looking at parental figures and addiction, you are looking at dysfunction within the unit that these figures are supposed to be looking after, but fail to do so because of the preoccupation.  When you have two figures, it is usually one of them that are the addictive personality and the other is trying to clean up the messes the other is making or trying to make up for what the other is or is not doing.  That is called co-dependence.  They become addicted to the addict.  At the end of the day, no one is watching the store and the kids are running a muck and fending for themselves.  Not a good idea.

Changing this behavior involves stopping the addictive behavior.  That will require not only stopping what you have been preoccupied with but also the behaviors you have developed with the addiction.  There are a variety: cheating, stealing, lying, blaming others, projecting your thoughts on to others or not having enough money to pay your bills because you’re spending it on the preoccupation.  It will also require some kind of support while you’re doing it.  That can be therapy or meetings like AA, NA, SA, FA, Alanon, Alateen or a variety of others because you can be addicted to anything.  Changing is not overnight.  There is not a magic pill for anything, just hard work and a determination to not repeat the past.  Here is my relaxation video to help you relax while you are changing your behavior, the guided imagery will help you to get rid of old behaviors.   Link to the video’s   Enjoy!


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I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist.

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