Broken Family: What Is It, Effects, And How To Fix It

Last Update on February 26, 2024 : Published on February 26, 2024
Broken Family What Is It, Effects, And How To Fix It

Every family goes through problems…fighting problems makes us resilient, grows bonding, and enhances the love among family members.  However, sometimes, going through problems or situations becomes so hard that it becomes challenging to navigate the issues. In some severe cases, problems can cause estrangement or broken families. What is a broken family or family estrangement?

In psychology, a broken family may be defined as an unhealthy relationship within a family unit. For example, a couple going through divorce or separation might certainly cause conflict or estrangement within family members. 

Before, you declare your family as broken… let’s see if it can be saved. 

Is my familial relationship worth saving?

In this segment, I would require you to be honest with yourself. First of all, let’s think about the nature of the relationship you shared with that particular family member.

Was it positive somewhere?

Was it meaningful?

If yes, your familial relationship with that person might be worth saving. Always remember that familial relationships are always repairable only when everyone is willing to come together, listen together, and freely discuss the issues with pure intentions of repairing the relationship and resolving the conflicts. If not, let’s take a brief look at the effects of a broken family in the next section. 

Effects of a Broken Family

Growing up in a broken or dysfunctional family may have severe effects on children specifically. Broken family issues may leave children scarred and lead to unresolved trauma throughout their lives.

Aggression, limited affection, addiction, neglect, or violence may have severe effects as such issues may constitute their entire reality towards life. When children are unloved, unprotected, unhoused, or unfed, such issues are passed through generations.

In such situations, children are forced to adapt to unhealthy, unpredictable, or toxic patterns that might shape their whole personality. Due to such situations, they are not able to discriminate or sense the differences between healthy and unhealthy patterns. Below listed are some of the effects of a broken family on children: 

Emotional Effects

  1. Rage of negative emotions 
  2. Sadness 
  3. Anger 
  4. Fear 
  5. Confusion 
  6. Grief 
  7. Sense of insecurity 
  8. Emotional instability 
  9. Feelings of lack of vulnerability and support 
  10. Sense of guilt or responsibility 
  11. Sense of self-blame or self-shame 
  12. Lack of self-worth and self-esteem 

Psychological Effects

  1. Development of anxiety and depression 
  2. High levels of uncertainty and stress
  3. Increased risk of developing mental health issues 
  4. Heightened risk of behavioral problems 
  5. Increased risk of exhibiting aggressive behavior 
  6. Difficulty regulating emotions 
  7. Difficulty managing impulses 
  8. Increased risk of risk-taking behaviors 
  9. Hampered academic performance 
  10. Lack of focus and concentration at school
  11. Lowered academic achievements 

Social Effects 

  1. Struggle to form healthy relationships with peers and adults 
  2. Difficulty trusting people 
  3. A constant struggle with social skills such as empathy, conflict resolution, and communication 
  4. Sense of loneliness and isolation 
  5. Lack of sense of belonging 
  6. Lack of social support 
  7. Lack of sense of identity 
  8. Feelings of frustration and confusion 
  9. Lack of purpose and direction 
  10. Relationship difficulties in the future 
  11. Lack of trust and commitment in the future 

How to Fix a Broken Family? 

As I mentioned above, willingness is the most important factor in fixing a broken family. With willingness, below are some of the effective strategies to fix a broken family: 

1. Ready to reconnect

In order to fix a broken family, be ready to reconnect, follow the “let bygones be bygones” phrase, and prepare for a fresh start. Be willing together to give a new beginning and learn to reconnect with your family members or loved ones. When you start reconnecting, learn about their strengths and weaknesses to understand how to react when challenges arise.  

2. Practice empathy and kindness towards each other

Take small steps together and keep practicing empathy, kindness, and compassion together so that you all can reignite the spark again. To keep the bond maintained, listen actively, judge less, and provide opinions only after empathizing with each other. Throughout the journey, keep kindness handy so that your family members can find purpose and direction again. 

3. Try family counseling

The overall fixing journey can be overwhelming sometimes, in such situations, you can take the help of a professional counselor who will help you to get through the challenges resiliently and effectively.

Additionally, a family counselor can help you fix a broken family again by understanding the family dynamics and root causes behind it. To learn more about family counseling, you may refer to the below-listed blogs below: 

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4. Accept, move on, and learn from each other’s mistakes 

Self-forgive yourself and your family members for the mistakes you might have made in the past. Acknowledge the emotions related to it, move on, and learn from each other’s mistakes so that you can strengthen the bond together. Begin the process of self-forgiveness from yourself and free yourself from self-shame or self-blame. 

5. Take the help of a mediator to diffuse conflicts 

If you or a part of your family such as a sibling or parent is having a hard time while having conversations, you can take the help of a mediator to diffuse conflicts and communicate your needs appropriately.

Choose a mediator who understands needs mutually and helps in empathizing from both sides. A mediator must be a person who knows you very well. If in case, there’s no one, you can take the help of a family therapist or a counselor. 

6. Set healthy boundaries 

To start new beginnings, set healthy boundaries after analyzing or evaluating past mistakes so that you can prevent yourself and your family member’s mental health.

Additionally, setting boundaries is important in a family setting because it keeps empathy, compassion, and kindness balanced. To learn more about setting healthy boundaries, you can take the reference below listed blogs: 

7. Hold each other, instead of blaming each other 

During tough or challenging times, learn to hold each other or stand for each other instead of judging each other or finding mistakes. Become the family you always wanted and see how things will reflect accordingly.

Avoid self-blaming or blaming at all costs because it can be toxic for your relationships and your mental health as well. 

8. Give each other time and space to heal

Throughout the journey give each other time and personal space to heal because healing takes time differently for different people. Therefore, give them some time to understand and heal.

Meanwhile, keep putting in efforts constantly so that you all can strengthen the familial bond again. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How to effectively repair a broken family?

To repair a broken family effectively, everyone needs to come together willingly, listen to each other’s problems, and openly discuss resolutions without causing more conflicts.

Herein, it is important to understand the differences between listening and hearing so that every family member can effectively and empathetically understand each other’s needs.

How to accept that a family relationship is over?

When things or situations go extremely wrong, it is always better to accept that a family relationship is over. When familial relationships continue to be unwilling, unapologetic, or toxic, it’s important to choose peace over unresolvable chaos. It’s always better to forgive them without refurbishing the relationship. It’s important to move on so that you can reinstate internal peace again. 

How does a broken family affect a child’s development?

A broken family may affect a child’s development in many ways, in some children, it may create difficulties at school or work. Additionally, extreme changes in friendships, sleeping, or eating patterns may be clearly seen. 

What causes a family to break apart?

Unresolved mental health issues, financial problems, regular fights, marital problems, or major life changes may break families apart. 

What is a broken home?

A broken home is a home that no longer functions as a unit. The main causes of broken families are death, violence, marital problems, poverty, violence, and others. Broken family is a term generally used to describe a dysfunctional family unit

Problems in relationships or familial problems can be effectively resolved with self-forgiveness, open communication, and empathy toward each other. But there are some situations wherein some conflicts cannot be resolved. In such situations, it is always better to move and accept that the family unit is broken. 

Meanwhile, it is also important to set healthy boundaries so that you can prevent your mental health from unbearable pain. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re looking after your mental health. I hope this blog helps you understand what a broken family is, its effects, and how to fix it. For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms. 

Thanks for reading! 

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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