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Healing From Dysfunctional Family (Part 1) - What & Why.


Dysfunctional families are laden with emotional and behavioural issues. From the obvious ones such as addiction, violence and abuse to the oblivious ones such as negative parenting, broken marriage, money-dramas and gender bias.

It may seem unsurprising to an outsider, the implications of a dysfunctional family towards one's wellbeing and success. However, it is usually not the case for the adult child entangled in the dysfunctional story itself.

It is this lack of deep awareness and self-realisation that often create the most sufferings for the adult child especially when it comes to their intimate love life and/or career experience.


Healing from dysfunctional family is not only the bulk of my healing works eversince I started Shan Living but it is also the bulk of my personal life journey.

I had learned about death before I learn how to live.

Before my full awakening, I was deeply entrenched in my childhood wounds without me knowing. I had always thought it was my personality problem. I was full of anger; I was always begging for love and I never succeed in anything I do. My love life was a big mess and I attributed it all to my own undoing, which I had no control over.

For decades, I struggled with my dark inner world while I tried my best to create a glamourous outside life. Despite good things that happened along the way, there was never a day I wish it was over.

I snapped finally, descending into depression.

While everyone was excited about TGIF, I had panic attacks whenever Friday arrives because I would have no work to keep me distracted. My friends used to laugh when I said this but it was no funny matter to me. Weekends were the toughest days of the week to stay alive and sober. It was a really bad place I used to be in and somewhere I would never want to step in again.

My work had always been my lifeline, keeping me sane and worthy. However, as my toxic emotions began creeping in deeper, I started to lose my grip at work too.

When both my love life and work life collapsed at the same time, I hit rock bottom. I went into a long period of seclusion, to begin my wrestling with my inner demons. It was a lonesome journey as I had kept it from my family and friends.


It was a long story but I eventually found my way out and emerged from the other side of the tunnel. Thus, kickstarting my long and winding road to emotional healing.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, adult child who grew up in a dysfunctional family are like fish in the water who do not see water.

We are mostly blindsided by our emotionally deprived childhood, assuming that it was just what life is supposed to be and we deserve it.

I mean I do know that I have an abnormal childhood and problematic family but I had never understood the severity until my healing. My father's alcoholism, money-issues, marriage-troubles, business failures, family-shaming. Me trembling in fear as my drunk father stumbled into the house, my heart racing as we prepared to escape the house. Endless family dramas from grandparents to uncles and aunties, scandals, prisons and numerous suicidal deaths are all part of my growing up memories.

My mind had been so conditioned to these ideas and behaviours that they became my subconscious identity - I am a lost cause.

We attract what we believe - consequently, I began to approach instead of avoiding similar dysfunctional people, relationships and experiences in my own adult life.


Adult child from dysfunctional family often lacks the instinct of setting healthy boundaries because we never knew this concept! We struggle to control ourselves because we grew up in environments that are out of control. The biggest issue of all, we tend to dislike and dis-respect ourselves downright to the bones.

All these traits often create the perfect incubation room for abuse to take root in our lives. Without clear boundaries and self-love, we fall prey easily to emotional manipulation. Even when we are the clear victim, we pondered what have we done wrong again this time.

Being unaware that we are carrying inner wounds in our heart, we developed intense level of neediness and clinginess. As a result, we are often trapped in the fear of being abandoned, even if it was painful to cling on.


Everyone wants to be loved but for a dysfunctional family adult child, that desire burns and screams in the heart. The need to be wanted and accepted can be so strong that self-sacrifice is frequently seen in a relationship.

Well, we all know the tragical ending of the story. When we give out of fear instead of love, we receive fear and more hatred back. How many times have we all been gutted after doing something for someone we wanted so much and all we get back is non-appreciation?

This pain experience is very common for adult child in dysfunctional family especially when the parents are emotionally absent. The child's impressionable mind is convinced that no matter how much effort he or she puts in, the responses from the mother or father will always be negative.

These repeated rejections become hard-wired in the subconscious belief system that transpire into reality as the child grew up and entered the bigger world outside of home.

We will often perceive that everyone takes us for granted and we suffer deeply from the resentment. Ironically, this pain does not stop us from giving ourselves, in fact, it will drive us even deeper into the attachment of giving and pleasing that will eventually crash and burn our lonely hearts.


My healing journey lasted over seven years. During this time, I had been to hell and back several times. This experience broke me initially. I felt forsaken by the universe despite my effort to change. Yet, an invisible force continued to open new healing gateways for me and eventually pushed me into full awakening and liberation.

I was only praying to be happy again as I embarked on my self-healing journey, little did I know that it would turn out to be my life calling as a healer.

Through the course of self-healing, I had ventured into all forms of healing works - from religion to metaphysics, from science to psychology. I had come one full circle during this journey and landed on the modality of emotional healing.

Discovering the concept of "trapped emotions" and "subconscious mind" was the pivoting point of my healing process. Once I engaged in this healing works, I had never looked back again.

What we feel makes it real - our trapped emotions are like the witch spells that are cast over our body, mind and Soul. Only by releasing them will we find our antidote to end our sufferings and unhappiness.


If you are still with me at this point, I want to let you know that it was never an easy task for me to put my pain into words and it will never be. Revealing our inner shame is a double-edged sword, without carrying love and light in the heart, vulnerability will seize the opportunity to sneak in.

While it is my aspiration to use my personal journey and healing insights to discuss about dysfunctional family, it is never my intention to turn it into a platform for blaming games.

At the end of the day, we are all freewill beings that are accountable for our own choice in life. As much as a dysfunctional childhood can impact us, it is also our own responsibility to heal and transform.

During the final phase of my healing journey, for the very first time in my life, I cried out loud over my father. I had not grieved ever since I lost him. I was in a hurry to get on with life and forget about the pain and tragedy.

As I let out my cries, memories of how he taught me swimming, brought me to fun fairs and even conspired with me to fake a sick letter to my teacher because I didn’t feel like going to school that day, all came into light.

I began to realise how all these little happy moments were buried and overshadowed by my longstanding hatred, anger, hurt and a fixed set of negative narratives about my childhood. In fact, it dawned on me that I had totally forgotten that my father was also a young man, a human being with emotional pain from his own dysfunctional childhood. We are all fish in the water, not seeing water.

In that space of love and light, I could feel the warmth of my father and beloved family members who had passed on.

Eversince, my heart has been overflowing with love. It is with this new infinite capacity that I am now able to giveback as an emotional healer, helping broken hearts to heal and navigate their way back home.

I understand that forgiveness is never easy, in fact, to some of the adult child, pain had become a line of defence. But if you have followed my article till this point, I want to let you know that this is a sign from your universe that it is time to heal and let go. The ride will be bumpy but with self-love and faith, you will conquer and transform.

Love & light to you always,


Stay tuned for the next article as I dive into more aspects about trapped emotions in dysfunctional childhood memories.



Send in your questions and requests now.

Dear ones, I have a wide array of topics to cover for this webinar, there are just so much I want to share on this topic.

However, I also want to make it as relevant and beneficial as possible. Hence, I will be deeply grateful if you can give me some ideas by letting me know what you will be interested in, for me to share.

If you have a friend or loved ones who may be interested in this topic, do get their feedback too.

Simply send me your requests and questions in this google form or email directly to

Thank you so much.


If you find this article useful and would love to explore how these steps can help your current state of emotional needs, I will be happy to chat more with you. Check out how my therapy and coaching programs can support your self-transformational journey by simply booking a free 30 min exploration call with me.

Love & light to you always.


Silvia Siow | Emotional Healer & Coach | Certified Emotion Code™ Practitioner

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