Preloading

The Pathology of Family Dysfunction

Season 4 Episode 406
Aired on 10/08/2016 | CC tv-14
One of the challenges of working with a family in crisis is that the various members of the family approach their breakdown from different perspectives. In the Henrys' case, husband and father Dwight blames the "shutdown" of his wife, Thelisha, on an incident where she was taken advantage of financially. Thelisha says her numbness was caused by her husband's serial cheating and anger issues. And amid the chaos are two daughters who have served as the "emotional husband" to their fragile mother.

Iyanla says the Henrys' situation illustrates a crucial lesson about the pathology of family dysfunction. "The lesson of this entire story is that when one member in the family is broken or dysfunctional or in breakdown, the entire family is affected," she says. "And if you don't deal with the primary issue, the smaller issues become worse and more intense."

This becomes clear in the episode during an incident where an angry and inebriated Dwight confronts Iyanla after feeling disrespected. As Dwight appears to step too close to Iyanla in an aggressive manner, her son, Damon, intervenes.

"I raised my son to protect and look out for his sisters. So, it's become a part of his character that he will look out for and protect women in general," Iyanla says. "In this particular instance, I also realize that it would take a man to correct a man who was demonstrating aggressive behavior. So, I think it was important not just for me to step back but for Miss Thelisha to see what it looks like when a man stands with you and for you."

In the above clip, Iyanla also opens up about what makes her able to interrupt the pattern of dysfunction within this family, particularly addressing Dwight's history of not facing consequences for his behavior.

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