Toxic Family ROLES (Part 4)


Scahnge ME??
I’VE ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY,
& now you’re saying it’s not the real me??

PREVIOUS: Part 3 – ACoAs – as children

SITE: The Dynamics of a Dysfunctional Relationship

 

❎ DYSFUNCTION (cont)
2a. ACoAs – as CHILDREN

2b. ACoAs – AS ADULTS
a. the Hero (usually but not always an Extrovert by nature) may herohold on to the role with all their might & become a professional, a healer, an executive…. anyone with authority, responsibility & clout – but only on behalf of others,  OR
• at some point turn their back on the Role so completely that they become the Scapegoat – the perennial ‘fuck-up’ – in order to have NO responsibilities at all – even to themselves.  If that gets to be too much, eventually they can switch into Lost Child & be ‘invisible’

placaterb. the Placater is the overly cheerful & helpful one in class or in the office, always agreeing, doesn’t have strong opinions & doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. They are made fun of for being a–kissers & door mats

c. The Scapegoat** – always getting into trouble, often gets fired, doesn’t follow thru & may land in jail, but can also get a lot of street cred as being cool, the bad-boy/girl scapegoator rebel.  They’re very envious of the positive attention given the Hero. They sometimes take up the Hero role if the older child is missing & there is a desperate need in the family, but it rarely gets them the praise & love given to the ‘favorite’.

** IMPORTANT: Don’t confuse these 2, altho they may overlap:
— Scapegoat Role: child takes on the suffering of the family in a mistaken effort to ease their pain
Being scapegoated: when one child is chosen by the family to be continually picked on, blamed for all their problems — because they’re ‘different’ in some way OR too strong, too honest – or both

d. The Lost Child (as a primary position) tends to be an Introvert by nature, so they are more likely to lost childstay in the background throughout life. Even if isolated in their personal life, they can make great contributions to humanity in literature, science, acting, any form of writing….

• If they form any attachment, it will often be with a Hero type who will take care of them & run their life, or a Scapegoat (perpetrator) who will control & bully them. They’re very loyal & usually passive-aggressive, since they don’t ‘do’ confrontation.  They may have one close friend for life or none at all

e. The Mascot is usually an Extrovert by nature (but not always) & will find mascotways to get noticed – any kind of performer, teacher, salesperson….. the life of the party, naturally entertaining.
BUT but have to work hard to be taken seriously, because of their facade of silliness & ignorance. However, if they have the Hero as a sub-role, they can draw on it for competence & reliability when needed.

= = = = = = =
ANOTHER way to describe the ROLES is to consider how internal PARTS of a person extend out to family member in a dysfunctional system (Internal Family Systems)

SELF : CORE identity of a person. When in our True Self, this is an active, compassionate force, internally & in the family
Qualities : calm, confident, courageous, creative

MANAGER : the internal system’s guide, trying to be in control of every situation & relationship, to keep from feeling hurt or rejected
Aspects: caretaker, controller, judge, passive pessimist, self-critical, striver

EXILE : holds the painful emotions isolated from the conscious Self, to protect oneself & the system. This aspect can become progressively more extreme, loudly trying to be heard & to share their ‘story’
Emotions : despondence, fear / terror, grief / lost, loneliness, rage, shame

FIREFIGHTER : also protects the system, but only acts once the exile is too upset, to soothe & distract oneself from the exile’s emotions
Activities : driven to or immersed in Addictions – computer, diet, exercise, sex, sleep, shopping…
Also: dissociation, fantasy, self-harm, suicidality, violence

= = = = = =
PROFILE of a Dysfunctional Family
Bradshaw on the Family: a Revolutionary Way of Self-Discovery”, John Bradshaw,  Health Communications, Inc., 1988

NEXT: HERO role

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