3 Keys To Break Free Of Your Dysfunctional Family Legacy

I was raised in a family were divorce is pretty much the rule. As I’ve said before, I am a “Daughter of Divorce” you can check out what I mean here But divorce goes even deeper into my family than just my parents. Almost every one of my aunts and uncles have gone through a divorce, as well as my grandmother.

Divorce is the “norm” and I considered it an expected end of a marriages.

I feared my dysfunctional family legacy would doom me to a life ruled by that history. That if I didn’t break free, I would either: a. spend the rest of my life alone or b. I would spend it moving from one man to another.

Though I have been divorced twice, I was determined not to allow either one of those outcomes to become my children’s fate. And although the road was long and full of colossal challenges, I was able to break free and create an amazing life.  I now have a relationship built on love, trust, respect and understanding with my wonderful husband Mike.

How can you break free of your family’s dysfunctional legacy like I did?

  • Open your heart to the notion that relationships can be permanent and healthy. Divorce teaches us that marriage does not always equal “happily ever after”. We carry that energy and emotional block around with us as we move forward. Try to remember that each person you meet, date or get into a relationship with should be judged on THEIR actions. Be aware of who they are and what their actions are telling you. Not because you are looking for the “out” but because those factors will help you determine if they are someone who will value, cherish and respect you for the long haul.
  • Be intentional when you think about relationships. When you find yourself thinking about relationships (yours or others), take a few moments to become aware of those thoughts. Reflect on why you are feeling the way that you do. Complete this sentence, “My future partner will (be, act, do)   _____”. Lastly, reflect on whether YOU embody this statement. If you don’t, make changes in your life so you are fulfilling your own needs in order to attract the partner you desire. By doing this inner work you will be ready for “that right person” when they show up in your life.
  • Take an honest look at the past relationships in your life; YOUR’s as well as your PARENT’S. Review those relationships and the ones that resulted in divorce. How did this outcome make you feel? Abandoned, angry, hurt, sad, depressed, distrustful, indifferent, relieved, free? Ask yourself, what was it about the end of those relationships that made you feel these emotions? How have those relationships impacted your subsequent relationships? By taking the time to really look at those situations now that  you are no longer “emotionally invested” in them, it is possible to see what you may have missed then. Knowing what you may still be carrying around inside you will help you to understand what you do and don’t want in your future relationships.

Thankfully, I still have a few more years before my children are even ready to consider marriage. Only time will tell if the changes I made in myself and our lives will have helped them.  At least I now feel like I have finally modeled for them an example of what a healthy relationship looks like. You can do the same for your children.


Do you want help with the transitioning from marriage to divorce with integrity?  Contact me today to schedule your complimentary 30 minute Chaos to Calm Power Session


This or any advice that has been given by Heather Debreceni is not meant to replace or superseded the advice of your attorney or the acting family therapist involved in your case and does not constitute legal or psychological counseling.
About The Author

Heather Debreceni

In 2004, after getting a job in Law Enforcement, Heather left her husband and started the divorce process. Like many mothers in her situation, she naively thought that getting divorced would be the end of the chaos that her failing marriage had created in her and her children’s lives. She now uses her divorce experience to create strategic divorce coaching programs which help mothers turn the chaos of divorce into confident, calm and respect filled lives. Heather is the Founder and Host of the Empowered Divorce Summit which empowers individuals as they navigate through the divorce process. Now a podcast, it provides listeners with access to insightful interviews with experts on divorce, relationships and parenting. She is also an Ordained Non-Denomination Christian Reverend as well as a student of the Buddhist & First Nationals faith and spirituality. Heather supports her clients as they walk through the spiritual rebirth that occurs for many women after divorce. Heather also tours around the country with her family giving talks about Divorce, Ethics, Parenting, Personal Responsibility, Spirituality and Women's Empowerment as well as teaching about Leadership, Business and Entrepreneurship.


  • Michelle

    Reply Reply April 2, 2017

    Hello…. I came across your name when I googled “can I win CAlifornia child custody using emotional and verbal abuse?” I was in an abusive relationship for 9 years. Never married, but we have 2 young children. I finally left 2 years ago, and I’m that time he hasn’t seen his children. My children and I have gone through so much to get to where we are today…. stable and at peace. Their father never did anything for his children and was physically, verbally, emotionally, mentally, and financially abusive. I learned the word “narcissist” once I moved out and I truly believe he is a narcissist. He is in law enforcement and threatened me with that often… and still does. This Wednesday, April 5, we have a child custody hearing. I fear for my children’s safety! I am desperate for any tips or help you can give me. He isn’t playing fair….. any minute the judge gives him will be a loss. I need help and would appreciate any advice. I just want my children to have a chance to grow up in a nurturing and stable and loving environment. Thank you. Michelle Ilacad

    • Hi Michelle, I have been working on the release of the Empowered Divorce Summit interviews via YouTube and somehow I missed your message. Please email me at empowereddivorcesummit @ gmail if you are still in need of more information.

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