It always breaks my heart when I hear someone described as the “problem child” in their family. It has been my experience that the rest of the family are usually the (creators and) maintainers of the undertow that pulls the “problem child” under. Problem Child expresses all the family dysfunction.
Sometimes, someone who gets labeled as that has issues that have nothing to with what someone else did or did not do or for or to them and to blame “the family” for that is sometimes unfair. That said, I’m not fond of the label.
I’ve read somewhere that in family therapy, many times the dysfunction of a child is a manifestation of the dysfunction of the parent’s marriage, and you have to treat the marriage in order to adequately address the child’s issues.
It’s a matter of changing the reasons for your behavior to fit within your value system, so you’re doing it “for you” and not “against anyone.”
Not that anyone needs to justify their behavior to anyone, but if pressed to explain, it’s often far stronger to draw boundaries by explaining that you’re doing it for yourself and not because of anything the other person is doing.
The phrase: “it’s not you, it’s me” often seems like a cop out when you’re breaking up with someone, like you’re trying to preserve someone else’s feelings, but when it’s honest, it does reflect a firmer foundation for action when your motivation comes from within. It reminds me of the extrovert who didn’t want to marry the introvert and used the Netflix incident to call it quits when “it’s me it’s not you” would have worked more strongly and blocked appeals for second chances.
As people age, they have fewer life choices. Some respond to this by becoming more adamant in those decisions. They see questioning those choices as judgment on their competency to make those decision.