How families break down

At the beginning of the relationship, during the honeymoon and … for some time after, the young couple enjoy euphoria and look forward to a happy life together, “until death do us part.”

It is here – while the partners are absolutely in tune, ready to listen and change – they should start building the foundation of mature and harmonious relations. But, alas, more often couples are wasting their rapidly dwindling supply of sensitivity and openness, making the typical mistake of lovers: believing that the future will take care of itself.

When life presents the spouses with the first difficulties and the pink fog of love begins to dissipate, the original idyll is threatened.

The family does not break up at one moment. As a rule, it is gradually and imperceptibly undermined by minor domestic squabbles, discontent, and claims. The degradation of relations occurs in several stages, resulting from one another. If you sit back, it will not only ruin the family, but also cause great harm to all its members.

Stage 1: mutual irritation

This is not destruction yet, only instability, some doubts about the partner and discontent that arise in almost every couple at the stage of “grinding”.

A husband and wife who have enough depth and understanding will begin to develop relationships and restore harmony. This is the most favorable option.

Someone thinks that the “prince” is too small, or the “princess” has gone wrong today – and scatter in different directions in search of fabulous (and unrealizable) happiness.

The third option is that the partners do not part, but they also do nothing to improve the relationship. At first, people get stuck in a point of dull irritation and ostentatious humility, and then the family begins to descend into everyday inferno.

Stage 2: closeness and aggression

The wife does not feel happy enough, does not see her husband as a reliable protector. What happens in this case? She subconsciously begins to look for support in another object. He comes up with an improved image of his father, ex-boyfriend, colleague, etc. This is the so-called “subtle” betrayal, a fictional ideal that, as a woman thinks, would make her happy. At the same time, she closes herself from her husband, and the relationship loses its frankness and depth.

The husband, intuitively sensing these changes, but not understanding what is happening and “what she needs at all,” broadcasts aggression and irritation to his wife.

To get out of this state, you need to talk. Honestly, frankly, directly. Understand the situation, as well as the expectations and experiences of both partners. Learn flexibility and openness.

Stage 3: greed and lies

Do you think the husband wants to invest – financially or emotionally – in a wife who has become a stranger to him? Hardly. Indeed, on her part, he only feels rejection, rejection and the fact that he is compared with other men.

This is how pettiness and stinginess arise in a husband. This is how the wife begins to lie. First, little by little, in the little things. Then he becomes a master of a double budget and complex financial multi-moves.

The man, meanwhile, keeps track of every penny, checks the receipts from the store, etc. And the more greedy he becomes, the more skillfully the woman lies and dodges.

Exit? Again, telling the truth, even when it’s unpleasant. And do not forget to say thank you to your partner in time for what he (or she) does for you. After all, sincere gratitude causes a desire to be better, to achieve more, and this is the way up.

Stage 4: cruelty and envy

A tragic period in the life of a family. The couple arranges ugly scandals, not hesitating in expressions (and the spouse’s rude speech signals the deep degradation of the family).

The husband raises his hand against his wife and children or humiliates them in every possible way.

The wife is looking for at least some kind of opening outside the family and shifts attention to neighbors and acquaintances. Gossip, do dirty tricks, live other people’s lives. And tormented by heavy, destructive envy.

Tellingly, both partners consider themselves victims: the woman pretends to be an unhappy princess in captivity by Bluebeard, the man is a sufferer whose life is destroyed by a merciless bitch.

But even this swamp can be got out. The main thing is to see and admit YOUR shortcomings. And, clearly understanding them, try to forgive people for imperfection, focusing on the good. Learn selfless service and help your loved ones. Yes, you won’t have to wait for quick changes, but they are quite possible.

Stage 5: bottom

This is an extreme, even marginal, degree of family breakdown. Healing is possible, but it will be like a miracle and will require tremendous efforts.

At this stage, the husband and wife seem to be under a hood, because all friends and relatives are incredibly distant and live their own lives.

The husband feels like a complete failure, he is crushed, depression gnaws at him, he often starts drinking.

The wife is tormented by the fear of total loneliness, so she stays with her husband, enduring drunkenness, violence and humiliation. She can become addicted to alcohol on a par with her husband, and so they pull each other deeper and deeper into the quagmire, from which there is no way out, except for physical death.

But this degree of degradation, fortunately, is rare.


Even if you find that your couple is now in one of the stages of disintegration, do not despair! The sooner you acknowledge your responsibility for the family situation and start working on yourself, the sooner harmony and joy from mutual growth will return to the relationship.

Remember, the stairs always lead to both sides!

Lyudmila Ivanovskaya,
psychologist, trainer, specialist in the field of relations
and family constellations


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