Lesson Five: The Cycle of Dysfunction


Taylor and Destiny have entered the Cycle of Dysfunction. The Cycle of Dysfunction takes over in any relationship whenever Principle 13:35 isn’t operating as its core dynamic.


Let’s unpack that.

Right now, regardless if Destiny did wrong, Taylor is managing her relationship with Destiny in a dysfunctional way from her side. She feels hurt. And instead of working through that hurt with Destiny, she’s resorting to old ineffective habits of resolving conflict.

Let’s say that Taylor keeps working with Destiny on the women’s event. If anything comes up that feels like Destiny is disregarding her again, Taylor will most likely either get snippy with Destiny or quit the team altogether.

At any rate, Taylor has done nothing at this point to grow beyond her people pleasing tendencies and dysfunctional habits of managing hurt. Reacting with snippy comments or quitting a team are not examples of healthy conflict management. Such strategies don’t serve Principle 13:35.

Now, let’s talk about Destiny.

Let’s suppose that Destiny truly needs to grow in her leadership skills. Sometimes, with her forceful personality, she does¬†disregard people and shuts them down.

Here’s a newsflash, people with forceful personalities typically won’t consider how they’re impacting others until they’re made aware of what they’re doing. And since Taylor is the one feeling the hurt from Destiny’s dysfunction, she owns the responsibility of restoring Principle 13:35 in their relationship.

This means that Taylor needs to Solve for X.

When any relationship is stuck in a Cycle of Dysfunction, someone usually is causing an offense. That’s the A-side of the cycle. However, once offense comes, most hurt people spend their time either building a case against their offenders or trying to get them to change. (Or maybe even talking to others about them.) Instead, they need to Solve for X.

Here’s the key idea behind Solving for X: Everything changes when I change.

Don’t wait for your offender to take the initiative. Instead of resorting to your same old dysfunctional reactions when you’re hurt, learn to Solve for X and deploy responses that actually get things resolved in the best possible way.

In the next lesson, you’ll learn seven important principles that can help forceful personalities from becoming dysfunctional. For now, complete the discussion questions below and finish the balance of the lesson.


Bonus Content (Premium Subscribers Only)

Ending the Cycle of Dysfunction

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Click to download a copy of the questions.

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The Big Idea

Everything changes when I change. When I give up my dysfunctional ways of leading people or reacting to hurt, I’m doing my part to promote Principle 13:35 in our church.