Dysfunctional Family Systems and Disordered Self-Image

2417 Words Oct 23rd, 2010 10 Pages
Dysfunctional Family Systems and Disordered Self-Image

Abstract:
Disordered self-image, sense of self, and self-esteem are affected negatively by dysfunctional family systems. Maladaptive perfectionism affects mood, causes decreased self-esteem, and contributes to the development of avoidance tactics. Adolescent dysregulations includes disordered eating behaviors and/or eating disorders, anxiety, depression, body dissatisfaction, and extreme attempts at weight control; all of which can be caused by child sexual abuse, maladaptive perfectionism, parental attachment issues, and the development of alexithymia. Other dysregulations include faulty coping mechanisms, which are also affected by anxiety, depression, and neuroticism.
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Indicators of dysregulation include emotional reactivity, or an excess of emotional lability because of frequent mood swings; and psychological splitting, or an inability to view others with both their good and bad aspects. Perfectionism, whether adaptive or maladaptive, is linked to the quality of the parent-child relationship (Aldea & Rice 2006).

Significant maladaptive perfectionism can be seen in an individual who has suffered child sexual abuse and has developed an eating disorder or displayed disordered eating behavior. Oftentimes, the individual identifies himself, in various ways, as ‘not good enough,’ including his view of his physical self and his view of his emotional self, causing him to develop disordered eating behaviors or clinical eating disorders.

A positive correlation between child sexual abuse and disordered eating behaviors has been identified, as has a positive correlation between child sexual abuse and having a diagnosis of a clinical eating disorder. Child sexual abuse has been associated with the increase in displaying disordered eating behaviors and/or symptoms. Abuse experiences contribute to a woman’s development of bulimia, possibly because the woman is utilizing bulimia as a coping mechanism and an attempt to manage the emotional fallout from the abuse. Abuse survivors are
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