How to Have a Successful Career Despite Coming From a Dysfunctional Family - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

How to Have a Successful Career Despite Coming From a Dysfunctional Family

Dysfunction comes in many forms, but when it’s severe enough, it can seriously affect a child later in adulthood. Dysfunction can be constant fighting or arguments or as serious as verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse. These traumas can develop into more severe conditions that can inhibit things such as work and personal success.

So, how do you have a successful career if you come from a dysfunctional family? Here are some tips on overcoming the habit of dysfunction and getting yourself set up on a successful career track that you can be proud of.

Identify What’s Holding You Back

The first thing you must do is identify your inhibitor(s). Coming from a life of dysfunction into your own adult life can be confusing and intimidating. Things might not make sense, and you might even believe that dysfunction is the norm, and come to expect it in personal relationships and life in general.

If you’re struggling in your career because of a dysfunctional family, take a step back and look closer at what you’re struggling with. Are you having trouble making professional relationships work? Is anxiety making your job unbearable? Are you having trouble focusing due to previous trauma?

You might need the help of a counselor or other mental health professional to work out exactly what’s affecting you, but once you’ve identified it, you’ll be able to take steps toward a solution.

Remember That Dysfunction Doesn’t Have To Be Your Norm

While growing up in a dysfunctional family may have planted the idea that dysfunction is the norm in life and relationships, this isn’t the case. Children are easily influenced, and often, what we see growing up can skew our view of the world once we get out in it. A happy childhood free of dysfunction or abuse can make the transition into adulthood easier and more healthy.

You don’t have to accept dysfunction as the norm in your life, even if that’s what you were taught growing up. Understand that work and personal relationships aren’t supposed to be full of dysfunction in the form of arguing, fighting, etc. Relationships are supposed to be rewarding and supportive.

If you’ve hit a wall in your career and can’t seem to move past your dysfunctional childhood, focus on your work relationships. How do you interact with those you work with? How do you perceive them? What’s your place in the company, and how do you fit with the team?

Have A Plan

Our work fulfills a large part of our lives, which makes it so important to be happy with what we’re doing. Growing up in dysfunction could very well have caused you to settle for something you didn’t want in the first place. Are you happy with your career? Is there something you really want to do but haven’t taken the chance yet?

Having a plan in place can guide you when you feel lost. Where do you see yourself in your career in the next five years? Ten years? Twenty? Will you be happy working for the same company? Do you have room to advance within the organization, or have you already hit a wall?

Get Professional Help

Sometimes, you just can’t work through everything on your own. If you come from a dysfunctional family, there’s a good chance you weren’t taught proper coping skills or emotional intelligence. It’s ok to not know what to do. Don’t feel like you’re failing if you’re having trouble finding your way.

There are many mental health resources available online and in your local area. You can find support groups, individual counselors, and more with a quick web search. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of depression or severe anxiety, be sure to talk with your doctor and get set up with an expert.

You Can Put Your Career On Hold

There seems to be this misconception that putting certain things in life on hold for the sake of your mental health is not ok, but the fact is, sometimes it’s necessary to do so. If you want to be successful in your career, you’ve got to have good mental health first!

Don’t put your mental health on the backburner of life. It should always be among your top priorities because so much in life depends on it. Without good mental health, you might never find the happiness and fulfillment in your career that you’re looking for.

The Bottom Line

Coming from a dysfunctional family into adulthood may be a bit of a handicap, but it doesn’t have to become an inhibitor. Your career can still flourish as long as you remember to take care of your mental health and put a plan in place for where you want to be in the future.


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