Have you noticed how obsessed we are with our phones, being connected, texting, etc.? When someone is talking, is your brain busy developing a response; making sure to say “don’t forget this or that”?
We’ve become human doings rather than human beings. We try to fill every minute with doing something. Even relaxation is planned, attended and instructed.
When was the last time you sat down and took a good look at your family dynamics? Family Day is a good time to start.
In families, we learn “give and take” but our different temperaments create a dynamic where we learn to side step other people’s personalities and behavior. For example, the bossy person usually never sees that they are bossy…they are just trying to help. The rebel is unsuspectingly pushing to distinguish him/herself from the overachiever. The “family clown” doesn’t realize he’s uncomfortable and subsequently trying to lighten the mood.
What Role Do You Unknowingly Play In Your Family?
Each family has a different dynamic, but in families with an addict or codependency, there are five very specific roles into which most family members fit. Even if you are part of a relatively healthy family, many of these roles may look surprisingly familiar to you.
The Hero, often the oldest child, spends his/her energy trying to make the family appear totally normal. This is accomplished through high achieving behavior in school, work or socially. Everyone appreciates and admires the hero, but it’s not easy for the hero to express his/her deepest feelings, which can lead to problems later in life.
The Scapegoat, often the second child, appears angry and difficult. This child gets into all kinds of trouble, often as a means to attract attention away from the Hero child. The scapegoat also takes attention away from the addict in the family. The scapegoat may engage in very risky behavior, including drug use.
The Mascot, often the youngest child, is unconsciously focused on making everyone laugh to lift everyone’s spirits and to divert attention from the addict. This “Class Clown” is often very active and can become anxious or depressed when life moves more slowly. They may even turn to alcohol and other drugs to help them relax.
The Lost Child is a loner or extremely shy. They often feel ignored and unimportant. They lack the desire and ability to communicate their own needs, which can lead to trouble, physically and emotionally. Later on in life, they may have issues developing intimate relationships.
The Caretaker, or enabler, does everything he/she can to keep the family functional. This child adopts the addict’s issues and responsibilities. While they might become overwhelmed, angry and annoyed by the role they’ve taken on, they continue to play it.
Everyone plays a role, but do we even realize the role we are playing and why?
Our learned behaviors are then carried to school – and ultimately the workplace, the community and into our newly created immediate family.
You don’t necessarily have to change your behavior, but it is critical to see and understand your predominate role and behavior. Then you can really make INFORMED decisions. You won’t be sleep walking through life wondering why the same things and reactions keep happening to you!!! Remember, the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.