If you were raised in an unhealthy family, how could this be affecting your relationship with a loved one? Many people laugh when they discuss the “dysfunctional” family they grew up in as children. They rationalize that all families are dysfunctional so why is the one I was raised in any different or more problematic for my relationships with my spouse or loved one?
The truth is that, yes, there are reasonably normal families by most methods of what constitutes normality. No family is perfect but perfection is not necessary to reveal what a reasonably normal family is like. No, it is not normal for parents to be screaming and yelling in front of their young children at the dinner table. No, it is not normal for either parent to be openly drunk, stumbling around the house, shouting out obscenities at family members.
Exposure to these kinds of conduct affects children in profound ways. Very young children (i.e. 6 and younger) often do not have the intellectual and emotional capacity to properly understand and protect themselves from these influences. Chronic exposure to unhealthy families throughout childhood and adolescence significantly increase the likelihood that, as adults, they will choose partners to play out, at least to some extent, the dramas their parents played out with one another. This ensures a generational transfer of dysfunction from one generation to the next, perhaps not in full or 100% of the time, but to a troubling and significant degree.