How to defeat dysfunction, in four easy action steps. You’ve got it. Everyone has it, dysfunction. Family, work, romantic relationships all bring it into our lives. Whether it is left over from childhood or a recent adult experience, dysfunction is prevalent in our society and effects more people now than ever before. From mass shootings to molestation to alcoholism to the very simple non-innocent white lie. No household is left untouched.

What Is It?

I define dysfunction simply as any barrier, belief or experience that holds you back from your authentic life. Dysfunction is created through repressed anger, frustration and fear. Often displaced and not directed towards the intended target. At other times, it’s the pure unconscious materialization of modeled behavior or the manifestation of a past experience. It creates a merry go round of hurt and pain claiming new victims everyday by the minute.


How many times have you heard a man that batters his wife state it was all he saw his mother and father do? Or the battered wife claiming she didn’t feel loved unless he was hitting her? Have you ever reached a point of rage and wonder where it came from? Had an anxiety attack and were unable to identify the cause? Have you ever wanted more out of life but believed you couldn’t go after it? All of these situations are quite simply, dysfunction.

This Is Not Yesterday

I have an elder that repeatedly provides a reason for dysfunction. It singes my soul every time I hear him say it because yesterday it was true, “people cannot give you what they didn’t have”. Grandma and Great-Grandma didn’t have the access to information you and I have today, and it was true, “what happened in my house, stayed in my house”. But now, in today’s world, everybody’s a camera man. Nothing goes unnoticed. Dysfunction may go ignored, but never unnoticed. Entertainment and edutainment both provide information we can use to change our behavior and it is available everywhere. Television shows, books, magazines, sermons, podcasts, webinars, videos and on and on.   

You can change it! You can defeat it! More peace is needed in the world, and it starts with you. It starts with you Defeating Dysfunction. Here’s how!

First, Recognize It.

An exercise called, Why & Write will help you recognize dysfunctional behavior. Study your behavior by questioning every move and every decision you make for 30 days. Continuously ask yourself, why. Why did you do that? Why did you make that decision? Write the behavior, question and answer in a journal. Don’t assess or judge your behavior for the full 30 days, just question, answer and journal. At the end of the 30 days, read your journal entries start to finish, the dysfunction show itself. Any behavior you can’t qualify and justify may be dysfunctional.

Second, Admit it.

Nobody likes this action step. It feels like we’re adding more insult to injury, but it is actually very freeing. Admitting it is the first step to changing the behavior. The important thing about admitting it, is who you admit it to. It cannot be just you. Somewhere in your immediate circle is a current loved one being affected by your behavior. Go admit it. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Third, Know Your Worth  

When you know your worth, you give yourself permission to act accordingly. You make decisions that support what you value. You behave in a manner, worthy of your value. More importantly, you teach people how to treat you. You must also know where your value comes from. It is not from what you own, earn, or have. It is merely because you exist. You’re here, therefore you have value. Knowing your worth, does not include arrogance. It’s a humble confidence that includes the commitment to change.

Fourth, Create Boundaries

Know your non-negotiables. What is acceptable and what is not. Where is your line between acceptance and tolerance? All the things that you tolerate become the things you hate. Tolerance is murder on relationships. Boundaries are tied to your morals and values. They are beliefs and principles for your life that make you, you. Having boundaries supports your self-respect. Commit to yourself to never cross or let anyone else cross your morals and values and you will never cross your boundaries.  

The world needs more peace and it starts with you.

Question: Dysfunction is the silent killer of our communities. Can you be honest about dysfunction in your life? Let me know! Share your answer with me on Facebook or Twitter

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Anita Washington

CEO & Founder at That Anita Live
Anita Washington, M.Ed. & M.B.A., CEO & Founder of That Anita Live, LLC, host of the TV show That Anita Live and The Emotional Happiness Podcast with That Anita Live provides a platform for women to learn, laugh and more importantly heal emotionally by learning from the challenges and successes of others. 

A former school and community agency counselor and creator of the 7-Step Method, Anita’s helped guide people from the ages of eleven to fifty through their own life issues, personal transformations and professional endeavors. With an old soul and a comedic, honest voice. She uses many southern colloquialisms and colorful expressions to unwrap personal stories of surviving a homicidal alcoholic father, a mother in denial and four physically and emotionally abusive brothers and relates them to guiding principles and healing techniques.

Through her powerful and uplifting interviews at ThatAnitaLive.TV and The Emotional Happiness Podcast women get to see and hear real women with resourceful stories living relentless lives after life's most devastating events. Through her charismatic and compelling speaking, Anita helps women use the tools and resources they already have to reveal and release success blockers such as childhood trauma and family dysfunction so they can build self-confidence, boost their self-esteem and feel free to live true to their own personality, spirit and character.

In her newly released ebook, 7 Simple Steps to Beat Emotional Baggage, Anita shares actionable techniques that will walk women through letting go of the past and rising above the glass ceiling to reach higher levels of success and satisfaction in life.

From nine-to-five, Anita is a Senior Acquisition Support Specialist, possessing over nineteen years of performing and administering program management and cradle-to-grave commercial and federal contracting activities for acquisitions ranging from $500,000 to over $2 Billion. She has progressively worked her way up the federal acquisition lifecycle and commercial supply chain through various positions from pre-award and requirements definition to commodities buying to contract close-out. In her career, she has mastered the art of transitioning to level-up.

Anita is a graduate of Limestone College, Virginia State University, and Strayer University with a B.S. in Mathematics, an M.Ed. in Guidance & Counseling, and an M.B.A. in Contracts & Acquisitions. You can find Anita online at, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram and Facebook. Her handle is That Anita Live on all four social media platforms.
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