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Are you a nurse from a dysfunctional family?

Posted

Specializes in Psych.

Hi,

This is something I have been curious about for a while. I know there must be nurses out there who come from dysfunctional families...

What I mean by "dysfunctional" is the following: growing up in a household where you have been neglected or abused by your immediate family and/or were raised in a family where drug addiction, mental illness were common. Here is an abbreviated synopsis of my experience: my mother has suffered from clinical depression since she was a teenager, my father has a gambling addiction and has caused my family to declare bankruptcy, my brother is a drug addict (heroin) who lives with my parents who enable him, and my sister also suffers from clinical depression and anxiety-she tried to commit suicide last year.

I moved away from my family years ago. I have been depression and med free for a number of years now.

I have often wondered: how many people out there in nursing, a profession where your job is to care for other people, and often to empower patients/clients with the ability to care for themselves- have come from backgrounds where they did not receive adequate care, encouragement from their families? Where you had to largely teach yourself how to properly care for and nurture yourself?

If you experienced an abusive/ neglected upbringing- do you feel it influenced you to become a nurse?

Do you think your experiences have helped or hindered you?

Do you often have to check yourself because there is a fine line between caregiving and caretaking ?

At this point, I am a student, and I am leaning towards psychiatric nursing as a speciality. I know that this is because of my personal experiences with my family, and my own struggles with mental illness. I already know more about meds, diagnoses, and treatments than the average person! (Ha ha)

Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thanks,

Jennifer

jennifer, you came from a rough background but yo came out on the up side..pat yourself on the back

whatever type of nursing you choose to do you will need to know about psyche patients they have physical dx from head to foot so you choose which ever you want

i hope that your family finds a way to heal themselves and that there can be a reconcillation at some point in time..don't rush it

Every family has its dysfunctions, some more some less.

Amysuenu

Specializes in Med/Surg, School and Correctional.

I too come from a dysfunctional family... I have also considered going into Psychiatric Nursing... Father remarried when I was 7, new family members to include yours, mine and ours... My mother who has battled various mental ailments for years and refuses to seek any type of treatment, is very bitter, very negative and was physically abusive in my childhhod days toward me and my sister... Thank god, she got through the physcial abuse part, thanks to my father who had her court ordered to relinquish custody of us to him-A Very Ugly Situation...

To this day, she is still that way and I make a strong effort for my daughters, ages 8 and 10, to not stay with her because of her negative behavior. She still is not happy that I quit a job earlier this year to begin college and get my ASN... Here reply was "Why Would You Do Something Like That For?"... :angryfire

My reply was I have wanted to do this since high school 16 years ago and was told I was not college material by her...

Absolutely no encouragement from her and my dad and step-mom are ecstatic for me and have given me all kinds of encouragement... :balloons:

SmilingBluEyes

Has 26 years experience.

Yes, if you count terrible physical and mental abuse that I am still trying to overcome today as an adult with my own family--- as dysfunctional But there IS function in in DYSfuntion. You have to work and take those lemons and make some lemonade, as the old saying goes. Good, really good, talk therapy is a lifesaver. So are meds if you are clinically depressed. But it will be up to you to work past it all.

Just know--- You are not alone, believe me. (((hugs)))

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

Nurses come from all kinds of family backgrounds.. we are just like anyone else in any other career/profession.

I have found that for those of us who were neglected/rejected emotionally and/or physically as children or young adults, nursing is a wonderful outlet.. a means of expressing competence, confidence, caring and tenderness.. an opportunity to GIVE (all children have a strong need to GIVE) and to have another respond positively and appreciatively to that giving.

Nursing has not only benefitted my patients, but me as well. I meet not only their needs, but mine also. :)

alexillytom

Specializes in Infectious Disease. Has 6 years experience.

Yep, I was there too. Years of neglect, witness to physical abuse, and tortured with verbal abuse all led to a young lady with serious self-esteem issues. Thankfully, my high school started a counseling service. I knew I wanted to take part in it so I forged my parent's signature on the permission slip. I was only able to go for a couple of months before I got caught but those were the most enlightening days of my life. I was shown that my life didn't need to be a mirror of the one my parents' gave me. I could strive for and achieve more than they ever led me to believe. My life today is very rewarding and my children are showered with love and praise. On top of that, the girl who wasn't going to amount to anything is an honors student who has been accepted into nursing school. Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

SmilingBluEyes you are right. There is function in dysFUNCTION.

Yes, my family life was chaotic and abusive. I stuggle still with much of this mess my growing-up years were.

Those of us from emotionally unstable backgrounds are fragile and being self-aware can save your life as well as your patients. Therapy is a good idea for anyone who cares for others. We all need to decompress and vent sometimes. Some go to therapy, some come here instead.

Hi Jennifer,

I too come from an extremely dysfunctional family and do strongly feel many people get into the medical field for one of two reasons:

1st- they were poorly raised, like you and I

or

2nd- they were taught to help those less fortunate then themselves

Which ever the cause, we all have some sort of dysfunction in our families and I do believe that we, as health care workers, in general "feel" the need to be of help to hurting individuals, physically and mentally.

I definitly feel that the abuse I suffered makes me more attentive to, and aware of then needs of other. I was onced asked what were the positive things I had learned from the abuse in my life and I can honestly say that I don't believe I would be the compassionate and caring individual I am if I had not been abused. I believe that I would find it much easier to ignore or turn a deaf ears to others needs and be even more self-centered a person then I can be now.

My conscience and the God that I believe in has taught me that he supplies all my needs and I am to be a servant no matter what my life is or was like in the past and I find that I am the most happiest when I do just that.

I don't know if that makes me a care-taker or care-giver, but either way I am growing and learning to be a nurse and I love it.

I think being raised in an abusive past has also made the job harder because I feel the pain that is associated with the feelings of abuse and neglect that I see occuring in the Long Term-Care I have chosen to work in, but at the same time these feelings remind me that I had a choice in life to live and are also daily reminders to me of my choice to live and let God be God.

As a child in junior high school (my escape from the abusive lifestyle I was being raised in) I enjoyed the positive and caring interactions with others greatly, especailly teachers. I was looking for a reason to live and grow, and in 7th grade I wrote on the topic of "What I wanted to be when I grew up", and recieved my first ever "A" in English class. I had done all I could think of to not fail, but to just get out of school because the interactions were to fearful and difficult due to the abusive and seculsive life I was raised in. To get and "A" for the first time in a class I struggled with greatly was a big encouragement for me in my life.

Today after 50 years of life, an abusive marriage (past) and two children, I have become a Nurse and I love it. It is the only job I have ever had that I have enjoyed regardless of the struggles I still encounted dealing with others, and is the only job I have stuck with.

I hope I have share some encouragement with you, and I know If you want to be a nurse you will be a good one, and will grow just as the rest of us must grow at what ever we do in life.

Blessings to you in you endeavors.

Hi,

This is something I have been curious about for a while. I know there must be nurses out there who come from dysfunctional families...

What I mean by "dysfunctional" is the following: growing up in a household where you have been neglected or abused by your immediate family and/or were raised in a family where drug addiction, mental illness were common. Here is an abbreviated synopsis of my experience: my mother has suffered from clinical depression since she was a teenager, my father has a gambling addiction and has caused my family to declare bankruptcy, my brother is a drug addict (heroin) who lives with my parents who enable him, and my sister also suffers from clinical depression and anxiety-she tried to commit suicide last year.

I moved away from my family years ago. I have been depression and med free for a number of years now.

I have often wondered: how many people out there in nursing, a profession where your job is to care for other people, and often to empower patients/clients with the ability to care for themselves- have come from backgrounds where they did not receive adequate care, encouragement from their families? Where you had to largely teach yourself how to properly care for and nurture yourself?

If you experienced an abusive/ neglected upbringing- do you feel it influenced you to become a nurse?

Do you think your experiences have helped or hindered you?

Do you often have to check yourself because there is a fine line between caregiving and caretaking ?

At this point, I am a student, and I am leaning towards psychiatric nursing as a speciality. I know that this is because of my personal experiences with my family, and my own struggles with mental illness. I already know more about meds, diagnoses, and treatments than the average person! (Ha ha)

Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thanks,

Jennifer

Yes, I do. The sad part was that my mom kept insisting that the family was "perfect." Funny what a large dose of denial will do for you.

My sibs and I have a family motto (author unknown): "We put the FUN back in dysfunctional."

Needless to say, drives mom nuts, but makes all of us feel good, warm and fuzzy all over.:chuckle

SJ

All joking aside, what family is not dysfunctional on different levels?

Jen, glad to read you are becoming a insightful and productive person after all of your trials.

GrnHonu99, RN

Specializes in Neuro, Critical Care.

Yes, if you count terrible physical and mental abuse that I am still trying to overcome today as an adult with my own family--- as dysfunctional But there IS function in in DYSfuntion. You have to work and take those lemons and make some lemonade, as the old saying goes. Good, really good, talk therapy is a lifesaver. So are meds if you are clinically depressed. But it will be up to you to work past it all.

Just know--- You are not alone, believe me. (((hugs)))

I agree here. I live everyday of my life trying to overcome my past, I dont look at it as a hinderence, but a motivator..i was dealt a crappy hand but it only makes me more determined. Looks like you too OP:) I also agree with the poster who says nursing meets her needs too...nursing is a very recipricol thing for me....i prob get more out of the profession than my pts get from me...its a great outlet:)

Yes, I am also from a crazy family.

Hi,

This is something I have been curious about for a while. I know there must be nurses out there who come from dysfunctional families...

What I mean by "dysfunctional" is the following: growing up in a household where you have been neglected or abused by your immediate family and/or were raised in a family where drug addiction, mental illness were common. Here is an abbreviated synopsis of my experience: my mother has suffered from clinical depression since she was a teenager, my father has a gambling addiction and has caused my family to declare bankruptcy, my brother is a drug addict (heroin) who lives with my parents who enable him, and my sister also suffers from clinical depression and anxiety-she tried to commit suicide last year.

I moved away from my family years ago. I have been depression and med free for a number of years now.

I have often wondered: how many people out there in nursing, a profession where your job is to care for other people, and often to empower patients/clients with the ability to care for themselves- have come from backgrounds where they did not receive adequate care, encouragement from their families? Where you had to largely teach yourself how to properly care for and nurture yourself?

If you experienced an abusive/ neglected upbringing- do you feel it influenced you to become a nurse?

Do you think your experiences have helped or hindered you?

Do you often have to check yourself because there is a fine line between caregiving and caretaking ?

At this point, I am a student, and I am leaning towards psychiatric nursing as a speciality. I know that this is because of my personal experiences with my family, and my own struggles with mental illness. I already know more about meds, diagnoses, and treatments than the average person! (Ha ha)

Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thanks,

Jennifer

Funny but not so funny. I was seeing a therapist one time for depression. She asked me if my family was in therapy. I broke out laughing and said "no, they are all too busy going nuts."

yes, i come from an extremely dysfunctional family.....EXTREMELY.

w/o getting into specifics, it was those experiences i endured that molded me into the person i am today.

those experiences taught me what not to do and after many yrs., have attained a wonderful inner peace.

so as crazy as it sounds, i conquered the demons and has enabled me to rise above all the abuses and have a very strong sense of self.

so maybe my horrific childhood was a good thing?

leslie

Yes! Me too! They are all complete nuttballs. My father of whom I have not spoken to in 10 years (including his entire family) was a raging alcoholic, dear old mom is a wonderful person who endured so much abuse from him in the 17 years that they were married that it would have made me crazy to. Last month when I graduated (only one in my family to ever graduate from college), my mother wanted to leave half way through the ceremony, and my grandparents were "unable" to attend.

Through all of this, it made me a better person. I now know how not to do things and what the consequences may be. I am in a loving trusting relationship and have "risen above my raisen" as they say. I still struggle with my family situation all the time, but it does not define who I am.

I hope I am doing this right. I am new to this forum. In fact I have never been on a forum at all so bear with me.

Yes I came from a "odd" family. I thought I coped well until I was having problems with family, new supervisor and relationship but boy was I wrong. :chuckle 11years later I am finaly ready to go back to work. I moved to a different town and now my mother and I get along quite well. Most of the nurses I now have had some kind of abuse in their past. I really had a problem with caretaking everyone. I've learned over the last years that if I don't take care of myself first I can't take care of anyone else and I don't have to take care of the world.

Hi,

This is something I have been curious about for a while. I know there must be nurses out there who come from dysfunctional families...

What I mean by "dysfunctional" is the following: growing up in a household where you have been neglected or abused by your immediate family and/or were raised in a family where drug addiction, mental illness were common. Here is an abbreviated synopsis of my experience: my mother has suffered from clinical depression since she was a teenager, my father has a gambling addiction and has caused my family to declare bankruptcy, my brother is a drug addict (heroin) who lives with my parents who enable him, and my sister also suffers from clinical depression and anxiety-she tried to commit suicide last year.

I moved away from my family years ago. I have been depression and med free for a number of years now.

I have often wondered: how many people out there in nursing, a profession where your job is to care for other people, and often to empower patients/clients with the ability to care for themselves- have come from backgrounds where they did not receive adequate care, encouragement from their families? Where you had to largely teach yourself how to properly care for and nurture yourself?

If you experienced an abusive/ neglected upbringing- do you feel it influenced you to become a nurse?

Do you think your experiences have helped or hindered you?

Do you often have to check yourself because there is a fine line between caregiving and caretaking ?

At this point, I am a student, and I am leaning towards psychiatric nursing as a speciality. I know that this is because of my personal experiences with my family, and my own struggles with mental illness. I already know more about meds, diagnoses, and treatments than the average person! (Ha ha)

Any feedback would be appreciated!

Thanks,

Jennifer

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