Loose Cannons: 10 Things My Dysfunctional Family Taught Me by Diana Cannon Ragsdale

Mental Health
2 years ago

Loose Cannons: 10 Things My Dysfunctional Family Taught Me

My parents battled mental illness and divorced. My father (who turns out is not my biological father) married my aunt and my mother became a lesbian. I grew up in an abusive household, severe dysfunction and pure chaos. And no one on the outside knew because my family were Salt Lake City Mormon dynasty with ancestors who were contemporaries of Brigham Young.

I eventually let go of all the delusions about myself, broke free from the Mormon church and dug into how I ended up divorced three times by age 51 with a trio of emotionally damaged kids. Now, at age 62, all is revealed in my new memoir, Loose Cannons.

Here are 10 things my dysfunctional family taught me and how others can apply these lessons to their own lives:

  1. To be more aware of my mental health and practice self-care. If I’m not emotionally healthy, it will bleed out to other members of my family and relationships.
  2. That family, friends, neighbors and church community all lived in denial and neglected to help us kids out. Out of fear of my father, but also, denial had just become more acceptable and comfortable.
  3. That I had lived in fear most of my life, and it’s destructive and damaging. I always waited for the other shoe to drop, the sky to fall, etc.
  4. Mental illness is generational. At least three to four generations of reported history of mental illness. When I learned that my father who raised me was not my biological father, I was so relieved that I hadn’t inherited his mental illness.
  5. Although my family had lived in chronic dysfunction and chaos, I found a way to love, accept and forgive.
  6. Religion was probably good for me in my youth, and provided safety, security and healthy role models. I am grateful for that.
  7. I learned that I wanted to break the cycle of abusive patterns for my kids, and grandkids, to dilute the generational patterns.
  8. Through my own abuse, neglect and abandonment, all of this pain provides me with a purpose: to be a good mother and grandmother. It’s the thing I hold most dear!
  9. I was born resilient and rebellious and I’m grateful for that!
  10. I consciously made a choice to live my life open heartedly, and make space for all of the people in my life. To love, rather than be angry or sad.

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Elisa Schmitz
"I consciously made a choice to live my life open heartedly, and make space for all of the people in my life. To love, rather than be angry or sad." So powerful, Diana Cannon Ragsdale . Many thanks for sharing with us, and welcome to 30Seconds. We look forward to learning more from you!
you are very brave and I commend you for getting through all of that with your resilience...
Nikit Shingari
Thanks for sharing with us

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