(This is post which outlines my own thoughts, and also my personal experiences,
which may be very different from others.
However, it helps me to get things off my chest, and may contribute to the conversation around mental illness. Thank you for reading!)
I come from a dysfunctional family.
One of the problems has been communication.
Most of the time, it does not happen at all.
The danger is a conversation will explode in anger or tears.
People who come from a dysfunctional family can become emotional, maybe too emotional.
We have tried to have family meetings, with mixed results.
Sometimes people will come to the table. They already have their agenda, and they mean to win. They have not come to negotiate.
In my own case, my family have Depression and there are alcoholics in my family too.
So the challenges are many.
I tend the make the same mistakes over and over.
Communication is hard.
A family gathering can end in conflict. I now avoid all parties and invitations.
Being consistent is key.
Giving mixed messages is not helpful.
Repeating a simple statement is better.
A mixed message will only confuse.
I try to wait until the person is receptive.
If they seem to be listening, then I will try.
I also have rehearsed what I will say with my Counsellor, and she will advise me on how to approach the problem.
We may have to discuss difficult topics, like being in a mental hospital, or the health of an alcoholic.
These are not easy conversations, and they may require a Mediator.
I have learned a lot, but I still struggle in this area.