For many of us that came out of families of origin that were toxic, we truly do not know what healthy looks like. So what behaviors are healthy? What should we be looking for in family, friends, partners, or even co-workers? What does healthy actually look like?
In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses what healthy family, friends, partners, etc. look like.
Resource/link mentioned in this episode: Six Characteristics of a Healthy Family
Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.
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Hi, guys, hi, everybody. Lucky is hanging out in the background, I hope you guys don’t mind. So, you may notice that we are not in our normal spot. John and I are trying to stay the hell out of the heat. So that’s kind of the current event for today. So, Phoenix is, thank you, Lucky, Phoenix is going into its, I think, 15th day of over 110. Now that is unusual; it is about to break a record that’s been ongoing, I mean, it’s not been broken since 1974. So um, it’s supposed to be 117. It’s supposed to be 117 today. Um, so this is unusual. And I am concerned. Because there’s several things going on, I pulled up a router’s article, but I want to talk about one of the irresponsibility of some of the town managers, and I use the term managers loosely. So, in Gilbert, at least, they are building like crazy. And they’re taking small plots of land, and they’re putting high rises on it. And they’re putting multifamily housing there. So like apartment buildings, condominiums, etc., etc., etc. They’ve done nothing for the infrastructure, and they’re doing nothing about the water situation.
So, Gilbert lost water during the whole Colorado River thing, where they were deciding who got what. So, it’s going to be dicey for Southwest communities. Because there’s no planning, they haven’t planned, they don’t, they’re not thinking about, you know the water that’s going to be needed for these huge, literally huge high rises and multifamily housing, etc., etc., etc. If you may notice, I’ve been gone the last few weeks. We’re looking to get out, honestly, because I don’t trust that the water situation is going to improve. And I don’t trust that the town managers are going to manage it correctly. So um, anyway, that is my current event. Is that yeah, there is an issue, there is a water issue going on in the southwest. And to ignore that is to be really stupid, you know, putting your head in the sand and going, Oh, it’s going to get better. Oh, we’re not going to do anything about it, it’s going to get better. No, it’s not. You keep shoving more and more people into a small space. And you keep getting rid of the resources. And, oh, here’s the other thing I want to mention is that we sold our water rights to the Saudis.
So, the aquifer is getting drained. The aquifer is basically nonexistent now because we’ve sold it to the Saudis. So, I’m having a real problem with being managed, at least in the southwest. I don’t know what’s going on in other parts of the country. But you can’t have a sustainable…. What’s the word I’m looking for? A sustainable way of life if you’re selling your resources to foreign countries, and if you’re not planning for drought, or global warming, or whatever, so regardless of what you think about global warming, the truth of the matter is the Colorado is drying up, period, whether it’s global warming or not, you know, and, and more people are coming into a desert that has no water so far. It’s been a nonsoon. So, we have not really had a monsoon. So, Arizona gets more than half of its water during the monsoon. If we don’t get a monsoon, the aquifers are not able to replenish. And that’s a big problem, especially if they’re gone. So anyway, we are now going on 15 days over 110 degrees. That is not normal. I’ve lived there for 21 years. 22 years, good God, 22 years. And that is not normal. We would get like a week, you know, maybe have 110, 105, 110. But it’s supposed to be 117 today in Phoenix, and it’s supposed to go up from there, they’re predicting 119, 120. And they close the airport, I think at 120 because the airplanes can’t get lift. So anyway, there is that. So, all right.
Okay, so the question today was that people wanted me to talk about was, what does a family, a healthy family look like? So, what does a healthy family look like? What do healthy friends look like? What do healthy romantic partners look like? What is that? Because when we come from a family of origin that is dysfunctional, they put the fun in dysfunction. We don’t know what healthy is. And when we start experiencing healthy, it can be frightening to us, let’s be honest about that. It can be frightening. It can be, it can be boring, it can be considered strange, it can be considered, you know, oh my gosh. So, I wanted to talk about that. So, let’s dive into what a healthy family is.
All right, this is on Psychology Today. And this is by Kaytee Gillis LCSW. And it’s called Six Characteristics of Healthy Families. So, all right. So, while each family is different, there are some common elements that can contribute to a healthy family environment, respecting opinions and personal needs, as well as showing respect, are all part of healthy family systems. So, I want to talk a little bit, I’m going to break this down and talk about a little bit of each. So, in an unhealthy family, there’s no respect, there’s no boundaries. And they sure as heck don’t respect differing opinions. So, in a healthy family, there’s great communication, like really good communication, lots of I statements, lots of feeling statements, I feel lots of acknowledgment of the other person, I hear what you’re saying. Let me make sure you understand that I get what you’re saying. And you get what I’m saying. So, there’s lots of reflective listening.
So just like in real estate, where it’s location, location, location, in healthy relationships, whether it’s a family, whether it’s a partner, whether it’s a friend, it’s communication, communication, communication, and respect. So, remember, love and respect are one and the same if you respect somebody, you love them, if you love them, you respect them. So, in a healthy family, there’s respect. Other people’s opinions are valued. The kids’ opinions are valued. Let’s be clear about that. So, when a child says for example, you know, I don’t like Brussels sprouts, please don’t make me eat those. The parent will go okay. We’ll try a little bit. Okay, you don’t like it? Okay, let me get a different veggie. Let’s do something like that. You don’t have to eat the Brussels sprouts. Never force your kids to eat stuff they don’t like. That’s how you create eating disorders. Guys, I’m not kidding you. And the parents, like I said, that would be like finish your plate. You need to eat everything and then tell them they’re too fat. That’s disrespect. That’s crazy. That’s crazy. So, there’s no gaslighting in healthy families. They don’t say one thing. And when you call them on it, they don’t turn around and go. I never said that. What they do is they go Yeah, you’re right. I did say that. Let’s work it through. I know it’s like foreign language to us, having come out of a dysfunctional relationship or a dysfunctional family. So, in a healthy family. It’s respect. It’s understanding, there’s lots of understanding. There’s not a sense of us versus them. In a dysfunctional family, it’s us versus them, turning the kids against each other, playing you know, playing each other against the middle.
Kris Godinez 09:24
There’s lots of that there’s lots of, you know, what’s the word I’m looking for, game playing in dysfunctional families. In healthy families, there’s none of that. So, for example, in a dysfunctional family, there’s a lot of triangulation of communication. Well, Susie said that Billy said that you, Okay? There’s the triangle, right? And here’s the operator. So, there’s none of that in healthy communications and healthy families. If somebody starts gossiping, the good parent, the smart parent, the healthy parent shuts that stuff down so fast your head will spin. Nope, we’re not going to talk about other people. And if we are, then we’re going to get them on the phone. And we’re going to clear this up right now. So, there’s none of that communication of, you know, triangulation of communication. So let me go back to the healthy six characteristics of healthy families, respecting opinions, respecting healthy emotional and physical boundaries, children and other family members have privacy. Man, I had none of that in my family, there was no privacy. And all members understand and respect that.
In healthy families, parents do most of the emotional work with their children, with their children, by modeling empathy, self-control, and appropriate behaviors in response to emotions or stress, the role of the child is to learn. So, in unhealthy families, what they do is they expect that kid to be a mini adult. And they expect the kid to know stuff just out of the blue, you know, you should have picked it up from the airwaves, seriously. So, when a child misbehaves or is having big emotions, the parent comes unglued. When the, when the kid’s like maybe three years old, right? Kids don’t have the cognitive ability to do the heavy lifting with the emotions, they get huge emotions, and they don’t know what to do with them. So, it’s our job as a healthy parent, to do the heavy lifting and show them. This is how we deal with big emotions. This is how we have understanding. This is how we have compassion. This is how we have empathy. And this is how we have good boundaries, you know, we teach them it is the role of the child to learn. It is our role as healthy adults to teach them with compassion, with patients, with love with kindness, which is something that abusers don’t do. They’re impatient, they’re not kind, they’re expecting you to act like an adult when you’re three, you know, and that’s not normal. None of that is normal. So, a healthy parent is patient and kind and loving. And, you know, hey, you’re having a big emotion. Let me help you with that. Let me teach you how to deal with big emotions because big emotions are hard for adults, too. Instead of stop your crying, you don’t get to have an emotion. You’re wrong. How dare you? You know, and I’ve seen abusers do that. I’ve experienced abusers doing that. Okay, back to Healthy Families Hold on.
Um, seeing each family member as an individual with their own opinion, everyone is allowed to have an opinion. And all family members should respect and allow those opinions to be expressed and respected. That’s not in there, but I’m throwing it in as long as they are respectful. Even if adults make the final decision. In families where there’s, there is little room for differing opinions. It is common for children to grow up into adults who do not know who they are, because the parents are always telling them. No, you don’t like that. No, you don’t want that. No, you don’t. So, a great example is a kid goes to a grocery store, right? And little kids do this all the time. I want the candy bar; I want that, I want that. Instead of going, Yes, honey, I know you want that. And we’re not going to get it this trip. We don’t have the money for it, or we don’t have it budgeted, or it’s not good for you, or whatever. But you acknowledge Yes. You do want that. Absolutely. I get it. You want that. And right now, you can’t have it. I’m sorry.
So, you’re teaching the kids to learn to live with disappointment, number one. And number two, you’re acknowledging their want, you’re acknowledging their I see this, I want this, okay, I see that you want that, and not this trip. Next trip. We’ll do it next trip, but then you have to honor your word and do it next trip. So, it trust teaching them trust. So how many times do parents go, oh, we’ll do it next time. And the next time comes, and they don’t do it. If you’re not going to follow through on it, don’t say that you’re going to do it, you got to be. You are only as good as your word. And trust is only as good as your word. So there that is, let me continue and the opinions. So, this is something that is very common in borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders is that it’s their way or the highway. If you don’t have the same exact opinion that they do, it’s a threat to them. Well, I like it. So, everyone has to like it. Everyone has to think the way I do because I’m always right. That’s how they think. So, when a child says, but I don’t like this, but I don’t want to go to Aunt Bertha’s house or whatever. And the narcissist or The abuser or whoever pipes up and goes, Oh, I love Aunt Bertha, you need to love Aunt Bertha. No, the child does not. If the child doesn’t like somebody, the child doesn’t like somebody. The child doesn’t like going somewhere; then the child doesn’t like going somewhere, you know, well, I’m sorry, you don’t like going down to Aunt Bertha’s you don’t have to like it. But we have to go visit. Okay? Do you see where I’m going with that, and it’s not always going to go in the child’s direction. But acknowledging the child’s opinion and personality, disordered people have an incredibly difficult time accepting that somebody doesn’t think the way they do. That’s why they do all the heinous things that they do because that’s what they would do. But then they say, Well, you were going to screw me over, you were going to do this, you were going to do that. Now they’re talking about themselves. They cannot imagine that we have a different inner life than they do. Seriously.
So, in healthy families, differing opinions are not only accepted but they’re also encouraged. What do you think? How was your day? What do you think about this? What do you think about that? What do you there’s conversation, there’s not just a monologue by a frickin abuser. Does that make sense? So, at the dinner table, for example, there’s conversations. It’s like, how was your day? What did you do? What was the fun part of your day? You know, I love my nephew Vernon does this great thing with his kids. And I’ve adopted it. And I do this with all the kids now. We go around the table, and we say what the best part of the day was, what the worst part of the day was, what we’d like to do again, and what we never want to do again, right? And so, we and then we discuss, you know, it’s like, well, tell me more? And what about this? What about the hell cool, you know, and I understand, and you know, that kind of thing. So, it’s a conversation, and the kids feel a part of the community, they feel a part of the family. How many of us grew up with authoritarian parents where they were God and we had to sit at the little kid’s table, and the adults had adult conversations, and the kids were over here. And or if the kids were at the table, they were to be seen and not heard in so many on so many different levels. You know, and that’s not a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is inclusive. A healthy relationship is you are my progeny. You are my children. I love you. And I want to hear about your day. authoritarians are like, Oh, I had such a hard day. And I’m going to give you a monologue on how hard my day was. And I don’t want to hear about your day. That’s not parenting. That’s dictatorship. Thank you.
So, and that’s what they do, though. That’s what abusers do. So, it’s really important to include your children. I mean, they’re only going to be young once, guys, I cannot tell you the importance. Kids are all about experiences and emotions, experiences and emotions. And those are the things that they’re going to remember when I am long gone and I am dust in the wind, I can guarantee you, all of the little ones that I’ve had in my life are going to be talking about how fun it was to have conversations where they had with Aunt Kris and Dad and Mom and Uncle John, and you know this, that the other thing and doing this fun thing and talking about, that’s what they’re going to remember, okay? You don’t want your kids when you’re gone to be sitting there going Thank Jesus, that son of a huh is gone. You know what I’m saying? You want them to remember you fondly, and you want to give them good memories and good experiences that they can then model for their children so that we have healthy people on this planet instead of dysfunctional, numbed out, not connected, not validating themselves low self-esteem. Do you see where I’m going with this? Healthy Families are so important. Communication is so important. inclusiveness with the kids is so important for their self-esteem for their well-being. You’re modeling for them how to be an adult, how to be a person, and differing opinions. You’re teaching them how to handle differing opinions. Hmm. Funny how adults in this country can’t do that.
Kris Godinez 19:21
If there’s a differing opinion, it’s an attack. You’re stupid. You’re this, You’re that, Baba, baba bah instead of well, tell me more about your differing opinion. I don’t agree with it. But I understand why you’re having it. Simple manners, guys simple manners in and interest in the other person. And that’s the weird thing is that when people become split, right, and it’s their way or the highway, and they’re going to be right at all costs, and they’re going to say, literally whatever they need to shut you up so that they don’t have to think because remember their behavior is about them, not about you. When they do that, it makes the other person go, oh, I don’t want anything to do with you. And it’s simultaneously watching karma in play and sad to watch an abuser be accusatory and nasty and vicious and damning. And how dare you have a differing opinion in this than the other thing. People don’t want to be around them. You know, at least people that are like themselves don’t want to be around somebody who makes them feel like doo-doo. And then they can’t understand it, then they’re like, why don’t I have any friends? Well, maybe it’s because of the way you talk to people. Maybe it’s the way you call names. Maybe it’s the way you’re abusive. Maybe it’s the way you see where I’m going. But you never get through to him. This is the thing, guys. Trust me. I’ve been doing this for years. Abusers do not change. They don’t. They would rather go to the grave right. As opposed to going. I screwed up. How can I do this differently? How can I make amends? How can I make this easier? How can I make this better? So, there is that so healthy people acknowledge when they’ve screwed up, healthy parents tell their kids, that was the wrong way for me to react. I’m sorry, I yelled. That was totally incorrect. It’s you’re not the problem. You’re not the problem. I’m having a stressful day, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. It’s going to happen, guys, but own your own stuff. You they’re your little ones are not responsible for your emotions any more than you are responsible for your parents’ emotions. How are we doing on time? Okay, let me get through this because I got a couple more articles.
Okay, setting consistent, fair, and age-appropriate rules and expectations. All families have rules, and it would be normal to find homes with different sets, but rules that are inconsistent and not age appropriate create an environment of confusion and chaos. Children are still growing and learning, so a caregiver’s expectation of them should not be the same as their expectations of themselves or other adults, and I talked about that earlier.
Okay, meeting each person’s needs appropriately. All members are concerned with the health and well-being of others but in an age-appropriate way. Parents provide emotional care for their children, not the other way around, as best they can. Other members also seek to meet their other family member’s needs. So, here’s the deal. How many times did we, as children of abusers, or narcissists, or borderlines, or histrionics, or whatever. How many times did we end up being the adult at age six? A lot. How many times did we realize that we were the caregivers? Because Mom and Dad were too busy with their own emotional storm, where Mom and dad were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or Mom and dad or whatever. Okay. So, the kids end up being emotionally responsible for the adults, as opposed to the adults being emotional, emotionally responsible for the children. That is too heavy of a burden for an adult for a child to carry adult emotions. It’s too heavy. Kids can’t cope with it. They cognitively do not have the skills to do so. So, this is why it’s really important to work on the inner child workbook and get all of that caregiving. And that parental fineness dealt with so that it does not get handed down to the next generation. So, adults are responsible for their own emotions. They do not make the children a second parent, a second spouse, you know, responsible for caretaking little ones, you know, especially when they’re little ones themselves. You know, we’ve talked about all this. So yeah, super important. Okay, hold on.
All members of the family feel safe and secure. Children in healthy families feel safe, learning, making mistakes, growing, they have a healthy understanding of mistakes and understand that they will not be challenged or punished, adding punished. Their security or safety is assured. Love is unconditional. So, in abusive families, if you make a mistake, and we’ve talked about this, they will rub your nose in it. Mistakes are not allowed. You know, you’re bad, you’re wrong. You’re stupid. You’re this. You’re that name-calling blah, blah. So, the mistakes are the way we learn. That’s how we learn. Earth is school, guys, when you are a little one. Earth is a school. Earth is how we learn, little ones. That’s how they learn. We make mistakes, how does it baby learn to walk, they toddle along. They fall on their butt, and They giggle hopefully, and then they stand back up. And then they toddle along and figure out balance. Oh, and then they fall, and then they toddle along. And that’s how they understand how their bodies work. That’s how they understand how to have balance quite literally, how to walk, how to balance, how to duck under the table. Do you see where I’m going with that?
So, mistakes are allowed, but with an abuser, mistakes are punished or made fun of or whatever, and you never feel safe. So, if you’re wondering why so many of us come out of an abusive family and we have perfectionistic issues, perfect pictures, we have to be perfect. We have to be perfect; we have to be perfect. That’s the reason why. Because we got punished when we weren’t perfect, right? But the truth of the matter is, none of us walk on water unless it’s frozen. And even at that, I have a hard time with it. But you know what I’m saying? It’s like, you make mistakes. That’s how we learn. You correct the mistakes. You make amends. You do what you need to clean it up and move on. Abusers will carry grudges; abusers will carry grudges. And even if you clean up that mistake with an abuser, I can guarantee you they’ll bring it back up a year later, 20 years later, whatever. That is not how normal healthy, normal families function. They don’t go, oh, remember the time you did that. They never do that. They never do that. So, there is that.
Healthy families expect mistakes and are forgiving of them in a healthy way. The family members understand that we are all human. And learning and growing conflict is handled in an appropriate and safe way. With adults modeling appropriate ways to manage disagreements and disputes. These family explore, these families explore mistakes to understand and improve instead of winning or shaming people. Children understand that they will be children that understand they will be punished for unacceptable behavior, but that they will also be forgiven for making mistakes instead of having them held against them for years after. So, if you do unacceptable behavior, there’s consequences, I would change the word punishing to consequences. There’s consequences for unacceptable behavior, but those mistakes will not be held against them years after. So, take a moment to think about your family history and if you remember any of the above characteristics, often people who have experienced family of origin trauma will not have these experiences. Raise your hand. Hello. Yeah, didn’t have any of those good experiences, the list can just give you an idea of what to look for in a healthy familial relationship. So that’s a great article on Psychology Today, Six Characteristics of Healthy Families.
Okay, I wanted to go into is your friendship healthy. So healthy families, healthy friendships, healthy relationships, in a healthy friendship you want to share, and it’s not a means to an end. So, with narcissists, the only time they want to share is if they’re upset, they’re angry, and they want to be the center of attention. They don’t ever, you know, there’s always an agenda. There’s always a reason why they’re getting a hold of you. They want something, right? Emotionally, monetarily, whatever. With a friendship with a healthy friendship, you just shoot the breeze for no reason. Like there’s no agenda. Like, how was your day? What are you doing? Hey, are you going to go see the Haunted Mansion movie? Great, cool. Let’s go. You know, that’s that kind of thing. You know, you don’t call necessarily to be like, I want something or, you know, whatever, you just call to just chit chat and enjoy each other’s company. There’s no guilt-tripping. There’s no…and same thing in families. There’s no guilt tripping. There’s no guilt tripping. There’s no making a person wrong for taking care of themselves. Absolutely. Same thing with friendships. So, there is that, okay, you when you want to share, you just call them up just to have the conversation.
Kris Godinez 28:52
And you do things like, you know, you share memes, or you share funny stories or jokes or whatever. And it’s just this sense of camaraderie. With a narcissist or an abuser. There’s never a sense of camaraderie. There’s never this sense of we’re in this together. It’s always kind of like predatory. It’s like, you know, you feel like they want something, or they, you know, they need something from you, or they, it’s conditional. Again, friendship is unconditional. Friendship is unconditional. It’s like, you know, it’s respect. Its respect based. It’s not like do this, and I’ll like you. It’s like, Hey, I just like hanging out with you. That’s a friendship. In a true friendship, you seek out each other’s advice and opinions and help, and you do so equally. It’s not one-sided. It’s not one’s the Savior, and one’s the victim. It’s like it’s equal. You go to each other and chit-chat and talk things over. You feel connected. You have lots in common, but not in a love-bombing kind of way. They have their own thing. You have your own thing, but you also have things that you enjoy doing together. So, it’s not like, you know, you like ice cream. I like ice cream. If you’d like to ice skate, I like to ice skate, but it’s not like that. It’s like they have their stuff that they like to do, and you have your stuff that you like to do. But then you also have things in common that you like to do. You enjoy your time together; it never feels draining. So, something to think about is how do you feel after you’ve been with people. Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel drained? Do you feel? Or conversely, if you’re with somebody healthy? Do you feel energized? Do you feel happy? Do you feel supported? Do you feel heard? Do you feel validated? So healthy friends validate support, hear you, you know, they’re there for you. They’re not just fair-weather friends. They’re not just there when it’s convenient for them. So, think about how you feel when you’re with people. And people who are disordered tend to be very draining because it’s literally Me, me, me I, I, I, more, my genitals. That’s all they care about. And the other thing of it is to is it in a healthy relationship, each party talks about what they’re doing and listens to what the other one is doing. In an unhealthy friendship the other person starts to talk after hearing this person share, and the narcissist or the abuser will then change the conversation so comes right back around to them, so that they get to talk again. So that’s something to watch out for. healthy friendships don’t do that. They allow each party to share and talk about things and not keep bringing it back to them. So that’s something to watch out for. Okay?
You think about them fondly. You feel supported. You have good memories. healthy friendships are not fostered by accident, it takes intentional effort to develop a strong bond. When your relationship is healthy, you are happy to invest your resources, you make time in your busy schedule, you’re there to support them. You trust that you wouldn’t need to monitor interest if you loan the money. In other words, you trust there’s trust, there’s respect, in unhealthy relationships, relationships, you may be wearier, you may be exhausted, you may not trust them. There’s a lack of trust, accountability and respect. So, think about how you feel with people. You feel respected in a healthy friendship. You can be yourself and have your own opinions. And this is you’re going to see similarities. Okay. Okay, one more article, and then we’re going to dive into questions.
All right, eight elements of a healthy relationship. And this is by Kaytee Gillis, LCSW. Due to their long history of normalizing unhealthy behaviors, trauma survivors may struggle to identify healthy behaviors and relationships. Yes, to those who grew up in families with lots of conflict or dysfunction of first experience, and a healthy relationship can feel foreign. So, if you read my book, what’s Wrong with your dad, when John and I first got together, and I realized that he was serious, and this was serious, and we were going to be a thing, we were going to be a couple. I panicked, and I looked at him, and I said, I want to date other people because I wasn’t ready, in my head, for a healthy relationship at that point, I didn’t think I deserved it, and I was still working on my self-esteem. And I freaked out because I’d never been in a relationship where I wasn’t struggling, where it came so easily, where it was so comfortable, where it was so natural, where it was. So, no judgment, and, you know, just enjoying each other’s company. So, when we come out of unhealthy families and we get into a healthy relationship, we are going to freak out. Because we’re going to be like, Oh, wait, no, ah, you know, because we don’t know how to react. We don’t know what’s going on.
The other thing that happens is we think they’re boring. We go, oh my god, it’s so boring. Well, why? Let’s take a look at the family of origin. If the family of origin was drama, drama, drama, drama, drama, and your relationship is not drama, and its good communication. I statements, lots of feeling, lots of talking, lots of inclusion. Hello, does this all sound familiar? You know, it can feel foreign, it can feel boring, it can feel weird, it can feel whatever. So, these are all things to start writing down and talking about to your therapist. Seriously, if you’re having these thoughts about a healthy relationship, hold on, there’s more.
To do to do, okay, mutual respect for each other’s boundaries. Again, this is the same thing in healthy families, open communication. That’s again, same thing in healthy families. It can feel boring at times, especially for those of us who grew up in chaotic or dysfunctional families to someone with anxious attachment boring can signal distress in the brain. When we grow up in environments in which there’s a lot of fighting tension and strained relationships. We learned that this is how we can expect people to engage with each other Which is not true, it can be come normal to get used to the high that comes from the honeymoon period after an argument, and then it becomes a cycle. In healthy relationships, people get their needs met without the cycle of conflict, which can feel boring at first, but boring is healthy, it’s secure. Something to think about.
Children who grow up in chaotic and dysfunctional environments know that the boring times were few and far between. And that’s very true. They were usually followed or preceded by a chaotic or traumatic event. Much as, much as we associate anxiety with the calm before the storm. These children become adults who are uncomfortable when things are calm. They’re waiting for the shoe to drop. They’re waiting for the trauma because that’s what happened to us when we were growing up. Healthy Relationships know how to fight, and I like to frame that as disagreeing as opposed to fighting. Rather, they work together to problem-solve effectively. They, they confront conflict head-on, but in an assertive and respectful way. In families in which caregivers do not model healthy communication, children learn quickly that conflict is uncomfortable, even scary, due to the way in which it was handled. When conflict is handled as a punishment, either through aggression or passive aggression, children learned that it is something to be avoided or even fear.
Healthy couples argue sometimes absolutely, disagreements happen. Yep, you bet. And this is okay. Sometimes they argue about big things and sometimes about small things, such as who misplaced the butter, all of this is normal. The real test is whether you can turn to each other afterward and say, oh my gosh, I am so sorry. That is silly. So, a great example of that is John and I stayed in, you know, to get out of the heat. We stayed at an Airbnb. Unbeknownst to both of us it had a compost toilet. Oh, dear God, don’t ever use this compost toilet. They’re awful. They’re disgusting. So, and I got really angry. And as soon as I had my little hissy fit and got over it, I said I am so sorry for acting like a biatch. So, I was like, let me explain where that came from. And give me three guesses where it came from? Family of origin. So, dear old dad, because he made us use outhouses and compost toilets, and yeah, disgusting. So, um, when it was unnecessary, so self-esteem issues with my dad, and he foisted them upon us. So anyway, that was interesting. And that was just an opportunity for me to go let me own this. Let me apologize for just spewing because I was really triggered at that point. And having a trauma response, obviously. So, you know, and let me work on this. And what do I need to make amends? How do I fix this? I am really sorry. I’m sorry. I yelled, you know, and then we talked it out. And that’s what healthy couples do. That’s what healthy people do. So there, that is okay.
Kris Godinez 38:07
Both parties contribute equal effort. So, in a healthy relationship, it is equal. It’s not one doing all the emotional lifting, and the other one doing no emotional lifting, and I don’t mean equal effort, like oh, this the housework is split equally, blah, blah, blah. I’m talking emotions, guys, emotions, because narcissists don’t know how to deal with emotions. So usually in a narcissistic, abusive relationship. The partner who’s healthier is the one lifting literally all the emotions, the Narcissus just sailing through life, like the Queen Mary going through the Curacao and just causing damage everywhere and no emotion, no connection, no intimacy, no nothing. In a healthy relationship, both parties are doing their own emotional lifting, and there’s intimacy, and there’s conversation. And there’s disagreements, and there’s coming together and turning towards each other as opposed to away from each other. There’s none of this, us versus them stuff. It’s we are literally a partnership. So that is something to think about. Okay, hold on, you feel understood in your relationship. Each party really hears the other and lets the other one know that they hear them, that they get them that this is their person and not in a love bombing way. It’s like in other things that are not romantic, they get you, they get it, you know, trust and security
Each partner feels that their partnership is secure. There’s a lot of growth in couples who have this security because they’re they know they’re safe and they’re know they are allowed to grow and change and explore and just like with a good parent with a kid Hello, intimacy through shared interests and passion. So yes, each party has separate things that they do, but they also come together and do things. And it’s not liked the narcissistic, you know, taking over a passion, that kind of thing.
So, okay, so basically, to recap healthy families, healthy friendships, healthy romantic partners. Respect, emotional maturity, they are responsible for them, you are responsible for you. Each person does their own heavy lifting with the emotions with parents; they are authoritative, not authoritarian, there is inclusivity, the children are respected. The do you hear the word respect over and over and over again, the children are heard, there’s good communication, there’s talking to each other, not at each other. There’s an acceptance that mistakes are going to be happening.
Absolutely, mistakes are going to happen. Forgiveness for that, as long as the person learns from it and changes the behavior. But with a narcissist, they’ll do that, oh, I made a mistake. And then you forgive them. And then they make the mistake again, and you forgive them. That’s different because that’s not really they’re not they’re not changing. They’re not getting it. They’re not learning. They’re not growing. So, in a healthy family, it’s communication. It’s love. It’s respect, it’s unconditional. And a healthy friendship. There’s shared mutual respect, there’s boundaries, there’s enjoying things together, enjoying each other’s company, not conditional, you just hang out with the person because you enjoy them. You know, Um, in romantic partnership. Again, respect. They have their own like kind of, you know, their own interests. You have your own interests, you come together, you do shared things, great communication, willingness to tackle the hard discussions, willingness to have confrontation, which I like to reframe as clarification. So, we get this fear of confronting because, like I said, we have this bad connotation to it. Got to change that it’s okay to have disagreements. It’s okay. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. You are not them. They are not you. There’s going to be disagreements. It’s a matter of having the good communication skills, which I would recommend fighting for your marriage by Markman all great communication skills, you know, having that ability to have disagreements, and still turn to each other and still love each other and still respect each other because there’s no name calling, there’s no, I’m right, you’re wrong. You know, there’s no dying on this hill, of which way the toilet paper is supposed to go. I’ve had couples do that. You know, so it… recognizing what is necessary and what is unnecessary, and what is more important. And ultimately, what is always more important is people, not things, people, not things. So there, that is okay. Let’s dive into other questions, shall we? All right.
Do parents in dysfunctional families know they’re dysfunctional? Yes, absolutely. Regularly, just like the narcissist knows there’s something wrong with them, and they don’t want to go to therapy. Do they know they’re dysfunctional? Yes. So, here’s the deal. My dad, crazy. I mean, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Dear God. So, I mean, full goose Bozo. I mean, gone. Okay. He refused therapy. Every single child, as they came of age, asked him to go to therapy, and he absolutely refused. And if you read my book, what’s Wrong with your dad, available on Amazon? I know, shameless plug. But if you read that book, I talked about that. And I talked about how he knew that something was abnormal. My mom knew something was abnormal. But they were so in denial. And so, ego invested, especially my dad, that, you know, they wouldn’t go get help. They wouldn’t change. They wouldn’t. You know, my mom came up with 100,000 million reasons why she wouldn’t leave him, not that she couldn’t, but that she wouldn’t. You know, so yeah. Do they know they’re dysfunctional? Yeah, absolutely. But they lie to themselves and say, Oh, every family does this. My mom did that. That was her thing. Every family does this. Every family has their problems. Well, yeah, every family has their peccadilloes. Some a hell of a lot more than others. Hello, you know, I mean, so do you see where I’m going with that? So, they live in denial. They can’t be wrong. They know there’s something wrong. They do. They know there’s something wrong with them, but they’re unwilling to address it or acknowledge it. And if they do have those little, teeny tiny moments where maybe they come up for air, and oh, gosh, maybe I need to do something poof, then they go back down, and they’re gone. So yeah, I hope that answered that question.
My narc mom always pretended to be normal to others. My dad did that. But she was copying normal, my dad did that, from what she saw on TV, and it looks fake. Yeah, they do that absolutely. 110% They don’t have emotions, guys. I’m not kidding you. When you’re dealing with a dark triad, a psychopath so anti-Social, narcissistic, control freak. They mimic normal human emotions; you can watch them. They have the shark eyes; they’ve got the predator thing going on there. They’re looking through you. Or when they look at you, they’re trying to figure out what they can say or what they can do or how to how to have this emotion. I’ve talked about this multiple times when somebody who’s truly psychopathic is expressing an emotion. It never reaches their eyes, look at their eyes, it never reaches their eyes. So, in multiple cases, court cases… I love to watch those was at signs of a psychopath. There was one where the prosecutor totally got the guy because he was sniffling. You know, making all the sad noises of them cry, no tears, no tears, couldn’t manufacture tears. Now, some of them can manufacture tears, but it never reaches their eyes. Eyes are literally the mirrors to the soul. And you can see emotions in people’s eyes. Real psychopaths have a really hard time manufacturing that. And it does come off as fake. Because they’re not feeling it. They do not process emotions the way we do. They do not. They can feel sorry for themselves. They’re sad that they got caught. But they cannot put themselves in somebody else’s shoes and go, Wow, what that must feel like, holy cow. It’s not there. There’s no there, there. I Keep saying that. There’s no there, there. So that makes perfect sense. Yeah, absolutely.
Okay, question. When a narcissist admits their attention, intentions with blame-shifting projection, like you were just trying to get under my skin, as they call you jealous, selfish, etc. They use whatever keywords they think will bait a defense loop. Why did they do that? Well, you just answered your own question. It’s a defense loop. It’s a distraction. It’s to get you on the ropes explaining yourself.
Kris Godinez 47:13
That’s what they want. So, they will totally, you know, when they say you’re selfish, you’re this You’re that you, you, you, you, you guns is what I call them. The second somebody whips out the you’re this; you’re that, they’re talking about themselves 110%. So, they’re doing that so that you get triggered so that you feel like a child, so that you’re starting to over-explain yourself, now you’re on the ropes. And now the original issue is lost, and you’re lost in this rabbit hole, this circular logic conversation, trying to defend yourself. That’s exactly why they do that. And you’ve got to watch how narcissists talk. They will tell you, point blank, what they are going to do to you. So, a lot of times in romantic relationships, what I’ll hear a narcissist say to their partner is you shouldn’t love me, I’ll only hurt you. And, of course, the partner thinking they’re dealing with somebody who is sane or normal, right? We’ll be like, Oh, that’s not true. You wouldn’t hurt a fly. Because healthy, normal people wouldn’t do that. But the narcissist knows that’s what they’re going to do. They do. They warn us they absolutely do. They tell us point blank what they’re going to do. You betcha. So yeah. And what you’re talking about is somebody who is distracting. They’re getting you off the real topic. And now you’re on the ropes, defending yourself and not about whatever the topic was, if that makes any sort of sense.
When things get hard, why does the partner detach? They go into their phone or whatever escape from reality, for example, waiting for an ultrasound for a dog, I am present for the dog, he is on his phone. Okay, so I don’t know the situation with your partner. I don’t know if they’re narcissistic, or if they’re abusive, or whatever. But when somebody detaches, that generally means they’re having a hard time dealing with whatever the situation is. So, when somebody goes into their phone would rather look at their phone, rather than be with the sentient being that is going through an ultrasound that says to me, it’s uncomfortable for them, and they don’t want to deal with it. So, I don’t know what the situation is, I don’t know. But that’s generally when people are more attached to their phone they’re uncomfortable. They’re distracting themselves. They’re distracting themselves. So yeah, that’s what it is. It’s a distraction. It’s so that they don’t have to deal with the present moment. So, when we’re in our phones, we’re not in the present moment. We’re in a virtual reality. We’re not in this moment. We’re in a phone, We’re in an app, we’re in a game, we’re in a whatever. We’re not in the uncomfortable present moment. So, this is why I strongly recommend that families and couples and friends, even when you get together, you put your phones away, put them in a basket, so you can’t get them, turn them off, put them on silent, whatever, so that you’re not tempted to grab the phone and be here, as opposed to here. So yeah, really important. So, it’s a way of distracting; it’s a way of not being in the present moment.
Why does my narcissistic family members seem like they get worse with age? Because they do. So, let’s talk about a collapsed narcissist. So as narcissists age, their ability to manipulate, control, harm, hurt, etc., starts diminishing, okay? So, they’re older; they’re no longer attractive, maybe they’re not handsome or young or whatever, or beautiful or whatever it was that they used to lure new supply in. Or maybe they’ve lost their money. They don’t have the amount of money anymore. They don’t have the power. They don’t have the status. They don’t have the, you know, people aren’t looking up to them and worshipping them. And this, that, and the other thing. As a narcissist starts to collapse, they get worse, not better. It’s not they are never… listen to me now, believe me later. They are never going to have a V-8 moment. They’re never going to smack themselves in the head and go, Oh, my God, I’ve been an ass. I need to change. No, that’s never going to happen. And if they do, here’s what generally the way it goes down. Their partner leaves them; they’re out of supply. They go, Oh, my God, I need therapy. I need to change. It’s me. Right? Because the partners told them that, right? So, they’ll go to therapy long enough to either hook the partner back. Or they’ll go to therapy for three times and then stop because now it’s getting real, and the therapist is going yeah it is you. You are the problem. Yeah, we need to work on this. Do you see where I’m going with that? So, they do get worse with age. They don’t ever admit that they’re wrong. They don’t ever change. They don’t ever grow. They don’t ever become better. They don’t ever. They don’t. They don’t want to. Their ego is 110% in control. There is no there, there. There is no ability to go I am mortal. I am going to die. This will end. They don’t like that. It scares them to death, aging, dying, frightens them to the core. Why? They have no control over it. None. Zip. Zilch. And it pisses them right the hell off. So yeah, they do get worse with age, and people are less willing to put up with their stuff. That’s why you see nursing homes filled with geriatric narcissists that are just a-holes snapping their fingers at the staff and then they can’t understand why the staff doesn’t like them. You bet.
All right, um, oh, dear. The family is fighting over the inheritance. The siblings are threatening to sue each other, what should I do? Stay the hell out of it. They’re going to say, they’re going to do whatever, you know it, have a good lawyer. I mean, honestly, if it’s a well-written will. Okay, in a healthy family, let’s be clear. In a healthy family, there is no infighting over inheritance because the adult children recognize that that’s not their money. And that mom and dad can disperse it however they see fit in a healthy family. In an unhealthy family, they view it as their money. The narcissists view it as their money. So, a good way to stop that from happening is when you write the Will, you first of all have a good attorney write it. And number two, you put a clause in there that if anyone contests it, they get exactly $1. That’s what my mom did. I thought that was brilliant because that shuts some people up. So that was good. So yeah, if it’s, if it’s a substantial amount of money, talk to an attorney, that’s really more of an attorney situation than, than, than psychological. If it’s not a substantial amount of money, and you could live without it, stay the hell out. I don’t think it’s worth it. I really don’t think there’s unless we’re talking millions, I don’t think there’s money enough to have to put up with their stuff. And when they start suing, that costs money, you know, it costs $5,000 to retain an attorney. It’s ridiculous. And the suits and the counter suits and the this and that and you know, so if it’s worth fighting for, great! Get an attorney. Do what you need to do, but you’re going to have to spend money in order to get the inheritance. Does that make sense?
So, if it’s not worth it if it’s if it’s less than $5,000 that you would be spending to get an attorney, then let it go. Let it go, and good luck. Let ‘em be happy with that. Good luck with that. Hope you’re happy. They’re never going to be happy if they’re fighting over an inheritance, and they’re willing to blow up whatever family relationships, what did I say earlier? People, not things are what is important. People, not things. So there that is all right. Is there any other questions? No, that is it.
All right, my love’s let me see what we are talking about next week, hold on half a tick while I pull that up. So basically, healthy relationships are all about communication and respect. That’s really no matter what they are. It’s communication and respect. So, remember that OK. Now, next week, to kind of dovetail with this, we’re going to talk about bad behaviors and parenting, we’re going to talk about what not to do and how to mitigate that if you find yourself having had done that. So, I want you guys to be super gentle with yourself. When we are raised by abusers, we have a tendency or go to is we have a tendency to repeat behaviors or repeat patterns. So, it’s a matter of recognizing the pattern and forgiving yourself. So, we’re going to talk about bad parenting behaviors, how to how to pick up the fleas and squish them, and what to replace them with. So good parenting, we’re going to be talking about good parenting versus bad parenting, you know, authoritative versus authoritarian, and all of that good stuff. So, talk to you guys next week. You guys go have a great week, and I will see you later. I’ll see you on Wednesday. I’m going to answer questions. Talk to you later. Bye.
Kris Godinez 56:48
Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Krisgodinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.
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