Dysfunctional family rules
As Claudia Black said in her book It Will Never Happen to Me, alcoholic (and dysfunctional) families follow three unspoken rules:
1) Don’t talk. We don’t talk about our family problems – to each other or to outsiders. This rule is the foundation for the family’s denial of the abuse, addiction, illness, etc. The message is: Act like everything is fine and make sure everyone else thinks we’re a perfectly normal family. This is extremely confusing for children who sense that something is wrong, but no one acknowledges what it is. So, children often conclude that they are the problem. Sometimes they are blamed outright and other times they internalize a sense that something must be wrong with them. Because no one is allowed to talk about the dysfunction, the family is plagued with secrets and shame. Children, in particular, feel alone, hopeless, and imagine no one else is going through what they’re experiencing.
The don’t talk rule ensures that no one acknowledges the real family problem. And when the root of the family’s problems is denied, it can never be solved; health and healing aren’t possible with this mindset.