PLACATER Family Role (Part 1)

Placater 

I CAN’T STAND DISCORD –
I have to make nice

PREVIOUS: Hero Role

SITE: Conflict Styles

 


❧ PLACATER
 Role  – a Twisted form of Service
Combination of the Satir & Wegscheider versions

Placater’s GOAL
Provide soothing to make others feel better about themselves & better in general

PURPOSE

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

BIRTH ORDER: can be oldest child, usually the girl
IN SCHOOL : very compliant, well-liked, so-so students – preoccupied with other’s problems rather than studying
FAMILY TREATMENT
Used as the family social worker, inappropriately told all the adult’s problems, ‘valued’ for not being any trouble

DEFICITS
Few self-protective boundaries, don’t have a clear identity of their own, are not in touch with their own emotions & needs, so can’t get them met, are ‘lost’ without someone to please or fix

BELIEFS:placater girl
FROM: “If I’m nice, everyone will like me”
“Don’t rock the boat”
“If I focus on someone else, it won’t be on me & that’s a good thing”
“If I take care of you, you won’t reject or leave me ”
“I’ll do whatever you tell me to do. I’m here to make you happy.”

TO: “It’s ok to have a focus of my own”
“I am likable without having to take care of others”
“I don’t have the power to keep someone with me, but if they stay it’s because of who I am, not what I do for them”
“I can do whatever suits me best, in all situations”

Placater DEFENSES
• Develop a high tolerance for inappropriate behavior, will take the blame for things not their fault (ironically), thereby protecting others from taking responsibility for their choices & actions
• Main concern is on themselves & how they’ll be perceived. They react to stress or ‘uncomfortable truths’ by trying to avoid it, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths to avoid confrontations
THEY:
• May sacrifice themselves – are willing to lose so others can win
• Efface & belittle themselves, while inflating others, to get brownie points & stop possible aggression.
• Actually believe they care so much about others & that no one cares for them. Can be great listeners

EMOTIONS
Frustrated rage, fear, powerlessness, low self-esteem, guilt. Show shame via victimization, depression, perfectionism

COST TO SELF
Deep sense of not being good enough just as they are, or the right to get equal attention & caring from others.  Denying personal needs, they’re unable to receive, have ‘false’ guilt, a great fear of conflict & anger, are hyper-vigilant with high anxiety

AS ADULTSover-giving
They’re often in abusive & one-sided relationships (with spouse, children, friends, bosses…), constantly giving without getting anything back.  Are overly responsible so become excellent enablers, marring addicts or other ‘broken’ people. Often choose careers as helping professionals, which can reinforce the tendency to ignore their own needs, such as social workers, nurses, therapists…. (more likely in ‘supportive’ positions, so not often male doctors)

PARENTS CAN HELP CHILD
TO: Allow the child to focus on themselves and not others, separate their personal worth from doing/ care-taking, help them to focus on Self instead of others, learn to express emotions & playing

BY: Validating P’s intrinsic value (being vs doing), helping them develop ability to take care of & prioritize needs for themselves (when child IS helping another – ask them what he/she is feeling at the moment)
• Parents (P) talk about & act in ways that reinforcing that prove the adults can take care of themselves & other family members, so the child can relax

NEXT: Placater #2

Toxic Family ROLES (Part 3)

all roles 

I KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED – my Role tells me!

PREVIOUS: TFR (Part 2)

SITEsDifferent Toxic Roles
▪︎  Dysfunctional Family Rules & Roles

Virginia Satir divided the functions into: Blamer, Computer, Distracter, Placater & Leveler roles, sometimes used in Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP) training.
They’re broader than the familiar ones – Hero, Scapegoat, Lost Child & Mascot  (Originally in “IF ONLY MY FAMILY UNDERSTOOD ME” – Don Wegscheider 1979

⬇️ VARIATION
:

1. ADULT Roles (Part 2)
2a. ACoAs – AS CHILDREN
• the eldest boy or eldest girl is usually the Hero or Placater, who is aligned with the non-drinking parent (if there is one)
• the next child becomes the Scapegoat, identifying with the active addict
• The Lost Child 3rd or middle one, & is mostly ignored (3rd wheel)
• the Mascot is last, who tries to keeps things light

Just as there are shifts in any living system, the way roles are assigned, clumped together or reassigned changes over the years of a family’s life.  Toxic Family Roles (TFRs) themselves stay the same no matter who they’re stuck onto, but can overlap or be passed on, like a deadly virus! These severely limiting, false personae are taken on by each child, in one of several ways. If there are fewer or more children, roles double up:

a. For an only child, all 5 roles✶ weigh on them, with one often being dominant, so one person may become mainly Lost Child while another may be mainly Mascot, etc. Not having siblings to share the roles, this child (& later as adult) can experience rapid cycling of moods which can be scary, confusing & sometimes mistaken for manic-depression.
cycling roles
✶ What may seem like ‘being crazy’ – especially under stress – is actually an automatic shift from one Role to another in quick succession – Hero / Placater to Mascot to Scapegoat to Lost Child & back again – with the mental & emotional perspective of each suddenly coming to the foreground & then being replaced.
If there is no obvious medical condition, this switching can be understood rather than feared, & can even be used as a temporary coping skill until Recovery brings out the True Self

b. If there are only 2 kids, each takes on more than one role, depending on gender, birth order & personality.  In this case each child can still have one dominant Role, but can switch into another when dealing with different types of people.  So a child with a primary Role of Hero (the elder), with Scapegoat & Lost Child as sub-roles, can act out the Scapegoat when someone pushes them too far, or the Lost Child when being mistreated in some way.

•  The Hero (usually the eldest) is required to be perfect at all times – to know everything, never make mistakes, always look good….. This is an enormous burden.  When the ‘job’ gets to be too much this child may say or do something inappropriate, outrageous or illegal to relieve the stress of perfectionism. It is both a rebellion & a cry for help, but only garners punishment & a demand for a return to Hero status.toxic roles

The other child may be Mascot & Lost Child, & sometimes will take on the Hero / Placater when the older sibling has left home or is incapacitated – OR when running their own household as an adult.

d. With 3 or more – there are still some overlaps. When an older child leaves home (usually the Hero going off to school, work or war) someone else takes over, which means someone having to double up, with even more pressure

NEXT: Part 4 – ACoAs as Adults