angry dysfunctional grandpa

Do Not Cater To The Most Dysfunctional Person In The Family

December 12, 2023

It never works and this is why.

Families are complex systems with their own unique dynamics, and it's not uncommon for them to have certain members who struggle with dysfunction or other challenges. In some cases, family members may feel the need to cater to the most dysfunctional person in the family as a way to maintain a sense of peace and avoid conflicts. While this may seem like a reasonable approach in the short term, it can lead to long-term problems if it becomes a habit.

Catering To The Most Dysfunctional Family Member Doesn't Work

When families cater to the most dysfunctional person, they may unintentionally reinforce negative behaviors or enable destructive patterns. This can ultimately make it more difficult for the person to change or seek help, and can also create resentment and frustration among other family members.

It's important for families to find a balance between supporting their loved ones and holding them accountable for their actions. This may involve setting healthy boundaries, encouraging open communication, and seeking outside help when necessary. By working together and focusing on the well-being of the entire family, it's possible to create a supportive and fulfilling environment for everyone.

Let’s work through an example.

Grandpa is 80 years old. He is grumpy 24/7 and constantly picking on everyone from the comfort of his rocking chair. He always has a beer in his hand and everyone is a potential target in his presence. The more he drinks, the worse he gets.

It’s a Friday evening, and the entire family is together for dinner. One of his 12-year-old grandsons walks into the room. Grandpa takes a sip of his beer and starts insulting the kid. His pants are too long, his hair is ugly, and kids his age don’t want to work anymore.

What do you do in this situation? Do you laugh it off and tell the 12-year-old, “That’s just Grandpa. don’t listen to him.” Or, do you look at Grandpa and say, “It’s not ok to insult him like that.”

Many families would choose Grandpa’s comfort in this moment. They would choose to “keep the peace” by asking the person being insulted to swallow it and brush it off. They’re worried about what will happen if they confront the dysfunction head-on.

And, when we do this, we are sending a very clear message: Whatever you do, keep Grandpa happy. Do not upset him. Do not rock the boat.

Maybe you have a “Grandpa” in your life. It’s that person that everyone seems to cater to no matter what. Maybe you’ve been asked to keep the peace, swallow the insults, and not rock the boat. Maybe you’ve learned this is actually the “best” thing to do.

And what if I told you that doing this will only ensure that every generation of your family has someone just like Grandpa, sitting in that chair, hurling insults, with a beer in hand, until someone decides it has to end.

Catering to the most dysfunctional person in the family will give you temporary peace and endless generational dysfunction.

There is another way, and we‘ll show you how.