“Dysfunctional childhood” is a term used to describe growing up in the care of adults who were confused, abusive, and/or ineffective. Because it’s all we know, it can seem “normal,” or just the way that some families act. People brought up under such circumstances often attempt to utilize suboptimal patterns and coping strategies in engaging in the world and discover that their ways of behaving are not aligned with the rest of society. We can carry patterns of aggression, disrespect, lack of empathy, ineffective boundaries, and low self-esteem—or just misaligned expectations of relationships. While it can be challenging to see patterns learned in childhood as the source of our current problems and dissatisfactions, it can also be tremendously liberating: we discover that we are free to change.