The Good Stuff from Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family: How to Survive and Then Thrive
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Is there a silver lining to growing up in a dysfunctional family?
Bestselling recovery author Karen Casey looks at stories of people who grew up in dysfunctional families and "the good stuff" that can come from the experience. "Throughout my many decades in recovery rooms I have interacted with thousands of women and men whose journeys reveal, in detail, the harrowing history of dysfunction that has troubled their lives," says Casey. "But what is also apparent in their stories is their eventual and quite triumphant survival, often against extreme odds."
Casey interviewed more than 24 survivors of families rife with dysfunction; survivors who willingly shared their stories and came to realize they had, surprisingly, thrived as the result of their often harrowing experiences. In The Good Stuff from Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family, Casey shares the stories and the skills these survivors developed to live more creative and fulfilling lives.
unknowingly, I have begun to surround myself with folks who cherish surrender with as much gusto as I do. It's transforming in remarkable ways. I'll introduce you to a few of them in this chapter. Cecelia comes quickly to mind because she has had to practice the principle religiously with so many individuals in her life. Let me begin with her family of origin. It was probably no different from many dysfunctional families in the way its members interfered, or tried to interfere, in Cecelia's
nap. She said it was terribly hard at first, because doing this felt unfamiliar. Being in the midst of the chaos, even when she couldn't control it, was where she had always been. Staying away made her feel left out at first. But after a time she felt a new freedom. She could rejoin the group when she felt ready and could even interact, but didn't have to. That was the miracle. She didn't have to! It's disengagement from the chaos around us. It is our choice whether or not to be in the thick of
happens in our lives by accident. And this belief has made it possible for me, and for the many resilient people I interviewed, to look at our lives as whole, perfect in every way, and sustainable. This belief paves the way to complete acceptance. Had we not been born into heavily dysfunctional families, perhaps our resilience would not be as strong. There is a prize in every box of cracker jacks, if you look for it. There is success within every endeavor if you allow for it. There are miracles
inappropriate, is evidence of good boundaries, good balance, and emotional maturity. There is a fine line between being responsible and being overly responsible for the lives of others. It's an important line, however, and one that deserves constant adherence. Further Reflection Being responsible for ourselves in every respect—attitude, opinion, actions, and feelings—feels good. Respecting the demarcation separating us from others feels good too. Our desire to be kind can fool us into thinking
as a whole. I would even venture to say that this healing benefits the entire human community, even if we aren't consciously aware of helping the rest of humankind. This universal effect on others, as noted earlier in the book, can be attributed to “the butterfly effect.” The butterfly effect is evident everywhere, all of the time. It does not need to be seen or even believed for it to make its mark. This effect envelops all of us, whether we are conscious of it or not. A butterfly, gently