Family Dysfunction, Thanksgiving Dinner And Joseph

by Yvonne Chase on November 21, 2016

It’s Not Always Negative
She said, “I believe a couple’s ability to communicate in their previous family settings play a pivotal role in their future family relationships and its success or failure.” What do you believe? She is a colleague who is in a great relationship with an amazing man.  She’s concerned that his lack of relationship with his siblings and family overall could affect their relationship negatively.  Her concern heightened now that they’re discussing marriage.   

Dysfunction Does Not Define Who We Are
Here’s what I believe; what we come from, our family of origin; parents, step parents, and siblings can affect us positively or negatively.  It’s not always negative.  Every family is dealing with or has dealt with some kind of dysfunction, as a matter of fact, dysfunction is on Kayak right now trying to find a flight and car rental for Thanksgiving dinner.  Dysfunction does not define who we are or what we can become and create. 

All Stories Don’t Have A Happy Ending
There are people on this planet who believe that being born into a family automatically means everyone gets along. That would be great in an ideal world and that is what God wants for all of us; that we live peaceably with all men, however, we are flawed human beings in constant need of Gods grace. Some people don’t want to get along with us no matter how hard we try and all stories don’t have a happy ending.  

People Are Messy
Our family units are made up of people, not pets.  If you know me, you know I’m terrified of dogs yet the other day I said to a friend, I see why people have such deep love for dogs and prefer dogs over people.  People are messy.  We create problems in relationships out of our own baggage, insecurities, jealousy, envy, resentment, and a host of other issues.  People don’t always get along.  That’s a fact of life.  Family members don’t always get along.  Why is that so hard for some people to understand? Just because you’re family, doesn’t mean you’re skipping down the street holding hands singing kumbayah.

They Plotted To Kill Him
As I write this and I think about family dynamics, the story of Joseph comes to mind.  You can read the entire story in Genesis 37 – 50 but below are a few key points from his experience with his family:

  • Joseph was favored by his father Jacob.  His brothers resented him for it to the point of hatred.
  • When his father gave him a gorgeous coat of many colors, his brothers hated and resented him even more. 
  • Joseph had a gift of prophetic visions. He could see the happenings of the future.  That was one more thing for His brothers to hate.  They hated him so much that they plotted to kill him.  
  • They sold him into slavery and made their father believe he was dead. 

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun
After his brothers hated him, resented him, plotted to kill him and sold him into slavery, Joseph forgave them for their wrongdoing and said to them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Genesis 50:20.  There is nothing new under the sun.  What happened to Joseph back then is happening in families today.  Siblings are jealous and resentful of each other.  Some siblings resent each other to the point of hatred.  Some siblings want to kill each other and some have even tried and succeeded. 

Friendly And Magnetic Spirit
There are people who come from broken families who move on from it to create a deeply connected family of their own. I believe my colleague needs to focus on how her man relates to people in general.  He’s a great guy with a friendly and magnetic spirit.  All of her friends love him and every member of her family absolutely adores him; especially her parents.  That’s what matters.  

Let It Be
She comes from a deeply connected family that talks to each other often and makes plans to get together all the time. She wishes his family were that way but I’ve told her she needs to accept that it’s not and let it be.  If she can’t accept it or she refuses to accept it, she needs to break up with him and go find someone who has a cohesive family. His relationship with his siblings was disconnected long before she came along and no amount of nagging from her will make it cohesive.  

Create Something Positive
It’s not that he doesn’t want a cohesive relationship with his family; he does.  It’s just not happening.  I say focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have. Who knows, maybe their loving relationship will be the thread that knits his family together. Sometimes the negative things that happen in our lives are the very things that propel us to create something positive.  

Something to think about…

What say you? Do you think the way we get along with our families affects the success of future family relationships? What would you do if you were in her shoes? 

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

1. Leave a comment below

2. Share this post if you like it

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele Morin November 21, 2016

Yvonne, this is so timely, because every family is not a Norman Rockwell reproduction, and holidays can be a nightmare of elephants in the room! The words that always resonate for me from the story of Joseph are these:
“You meant evil to me, but God meant it for good.”
Unbelievable after all he had been through, but it reminds me that God can redeem the seemingly irredeemable struggles in our families.
Michele Morin recently posted…A Legacy of StrivingMy Profile


Yvonne Chase November 21, 2016


A nightmare of elephants in the room indeed. Never heard it put that way but that is spot on!

Those words resonate for me too,”You meant evil to me but God meant it for good.” Thank God for Jesus!

I believe God can redeem the seemingly irredeemable struggles in our families if we let him. Doesn’t happen overnight and it may require some hard conversations but you are right, it is possible.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Kleenex And Love At The NYC MarathonMy Profile


Deb Wolf November 21, 2016

I completely agree with you. First . . . every family is dysfunctional to some degree. I believe it is up to the individual to want better and make an effort to learn communication skills and apply them. Second . . . we will mess up! Hopefully not to the degree of Joseph’s brothers but we all say and do things we wish we didn’t especially with those closest to us. Thanks for reminding us to extend grace as we gather with our less than perfect families. Blessings!
Deb Wolf recently posted…An Entitlement Attitude Makes It Impossible To Be HappyMy Profile


Yvonne Chase November 21, 2016


I read a quote earlier that said any family with more than one member is dysfunctional. Ha! Funny yet true. If we are going to have healthy relationships that we look forward to being a part of, making an effort, especially in the area of communication is necessary. Relationships of all kind require effort.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Fear Of Commitment, Divorce, And MarriageMy Profile


Nicole Kauffman November 22, 2016

This is such a great reminder going into Thanksgiving. As much as we try to bring cohesiveness to our families, ultimately God has a plan and timing that will be above what we can imagine. Thank you!
Nicole Kauffman recently posted…Do You Know the Cost of Following Christ?My Profile


Yvonne Chase November 22, 2016


Thank you so much for saying this: “As much as we try to bring cohesiveness to our families, ultimately God has a plan and timing that will be above what we can imagine.”
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Weird Feelings, President Trump And Wimpy ChristiansMy Profile


Lori Schumaker November 26, 2016

Hi Yvonne! I agree with you. Our dysfunction definitely does not define us. Some people are able to look at it and decide they want better. Others cannot or do not. Watching how they interact in the everyday with others and you is most important (only noting red flags instead of being blinded by love, though!)
Always love you posts! Thanks for joining me at #MomentsofHope!

Blessings and smiles,


Yvonne Chase December 4, 2016


I believe it’s perfectly okay to look at dysfunction and decide we want better. We don’t have to stay in dysfunction just because it’s a part of our long time experience. We can break away from it.

And yes, watching how your potential mate interacts daily with others and you is most important.

Thanks for always leaving well thought out comments.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Emptiness And Loneliness Are Unattractive To MenMy Profile


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