Chapter 5-The “F” Word: Families

Families can define us, shape our identity, and play a large part in determining how we feel about ourselves in the world. They can be the greatest source of inspiration or the main cause of the most unthinkable pain. Sometimes they represent a little of both.

Obviously, mental health issues will complicate a family. They can cause a family to fall apart. They can cause generations of unresolved pain, suffering, confusion and dysfunction, which can lead to extreme cases of insecurity, lack of trust or fear of commitment. Conversely, the discovery of a mental disorder can also heal a family that was once splintered. Love can heal trauma. If given the opportunity families can become even stronger when dealing with these issues.

This chapter deals with these common issues families face:

  • When parents care, but don’t know what to do
  • Empowering vs. enabling
  • When parents won’t help
  • How to help a sibling deal with your disorder
  • If your parent has a mental disorder
  • If your sibling is suffering

Many of the effects of family relationships stay with us forever. If you have any issues, hopefully you will be able to work through them together, and in doing so, manage to find a deeper understanding of yourself and the people you love.