Knowing The Difference: Healthy Or Dysfunctional?


good or bad
Are you or someone you know in a dysfunctional relationship? How do you know?

Let's look at another example. Let's say one person in a relationship uses drugs and the other person doesn't. The person using drugs wants his girlfriend to experience what he does when he's high, so he asks her to try cocaine with him. She is reluctant. He applies more and more pressure until she gives in and starts using drugs with him. Is this healthy accommodation or dysfunction? 6 Tips For A Better Sex Life

Let's look at a final example. A married couple seems to have everything going for them. They are upper-middle class, live in a beautiful home, attend all the important social functions and seem very happy together. However, there is a secret in their marriage. He sometimes is physically rough with her and coerces her to engage in degrading sexual acts by telling her these are his fantasies and it’s her job as his wife to fulfill his every desire. She gives him what he wants by doing as he requests. Healthy accommodation or dysfunction?


I would say the answer lies within the person accommodating. If the person accommodating still gets what he or she wants from the relationship, then it's healthy accommodation. However, if the person doing the accommodating is angry, resentful, and demoralized then the behavior is moving into the dysfunctional category. When the accommodating person in the relationship is no longer getting enough positive from the relationship to balance out the negative, then the line has been crossed into dysfunction. No one can make that determination for the person, other than the person himself. You're Unhappy But Your Partner Is Fine—What Can You Do?

If you are in a relationship and find yourself having more pain than happiness, you are likely in the dysfunction area. That is not to say it's not possible for you to move back to a healthy accommodation place. Just know that when the pain outweighs the happiness, it's time for some serious reflection. Are you compromising one or more of your deal breakers? Are you trying to make yourself someone you're not to please someone else? Are you compromising one of your important values for the sake of a relationship? Is your safety compromised in this relationship?

If this describes you, then take a long look at the health or dysfunction of your relationship. It may be time to make some serious decisions. If you are a family member or friend of someone you believe is in a dysfunctional relationship, know that no one can make that call except the person in the relationship. The Dirty Dozen! 12 Fatal Relationship Errors

You can express your concern but try not to make it your mission to get your loved one away from their relationship of choice. When you do, you tend to strengthen the bond to that dysfunctional relationship. Get help for yourself and the stress you are going through and hope your loved one will come to see what you see.

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Kim Olver


Kim Olver, LCPC, has been featured in Whole Living, Women's World, Fitness Magazine and Counseling Today and is the best-selling, award winning author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life.

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Location: Country Club Hills (Chicago), IL
Credentials: LCPC, MS, NCC
Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Empowering Women
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