Which Role Are You?

The Lost Child- http://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/lost-child-family-role/

Provide relief for the family – sacrificing their identity & desires to give parents one less thing to worry about

For Self: hide from the chaos, from the physical & emotional abuse (under a table, in a closet, their room, the nearest library), avoid being responsible for anyone else…. by withdrawing into a fantasy world, making themselves very small & quiet
For Family: they relieve some stress by not causing an additional burden, provide privacy by not airing ‘dirty ‘laundry’, help family avoid serious problems by never mention alcohol, underlying roles or Recovery

The Scapegoat- http://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/scapegoat-family-role/

Provide a change of focus by allowing everyone to think they are the source of the family’s problems

For Self: take on the ‘bad-guy’ role to protect the addict or other main trouble-maker from having to face his/her pain, their sacrifice given as a love-offering
For Family: serve as the “pressure valve” in the family when tension builds. They misbehave to draw attention away from the ‘problem’ parent so the family’s problems is anything other than the addiction.
• To protect the family from any outside interference (cops, social workers, shrinks, social services….) & to prevent change. They act out the tension & anger everyone ignores, doing things the ‘wrong way’, to show family what’s really going on hoping they’ll can learn from it

The Mascot-http://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/mascot-family-role/

Provide diversion from the family’s problems & making everyone feel better with their comedy & zaniness

For Self: feel scared & powerless in the middle of the family mess & try to interrupt physical & emotional tension & danger to protect themselves
For Family: They are genuinely ‘immature’ but play that up to draw attention away from the scary adults. Use comic relief to lighten the ‘heavy’ atmosphere, cover up the depth of the family sickness by keeping the focus on themselves & create a diversion to diffuse volatile situations. They take responsibility for the family’s emotional well-being & become its ‘social director’.
• Can actually hinder Recovery while using humor to communicate awareness of the dysfunction rather than address it head on, & to indirectly express emotions in the family such as anger, grief, hostility or fear by satire, sarcasm, teasing….

The Placater- http://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/placater-role/

Provide soothing to make others feel better about themselves & better just in general
For Self: try to not keep getting abandoned, to feel safer/not get hurt & be loved, by calming everyone, preventing conflicts or any overt expression of anger
For Family: When parents are impaired in some way, they become a surrogate. Born negotiators, they seem to have an uncanny ability to ‘read’ what others are feeling, but at their own expense, learn early to smooth over potentially upsetting situations & take responsibility for everyone’s pain & emotional well-being.

The Hero- http://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/hero-family-role/

Provide the damaged family with some self-respect & a semblance of stability, shifting the focus from parental failure to the child’s successes

For Self: to make order out of the chaos, feel useful, make a home they can bear to be in, keep anyone from killing themselves or going crazy. Believe that if they’re perfect, the ‘sick’ parent will be cured
For Family: to make the family look good & seem ‘normal’ to the outside world, acting as if the rigid roles don’t exist, to prevent anyone seeing their severe dysfunctionality. They want to bring a measure of esteem to the family through their accomplishments

When I was younger I took the Lost Child role but when I was about 12 I evolved into the Placater role...although some of the characteristics of the Lost Child role I haven't completely merged out of yet...
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Jan 31, 2013