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❧ MASCOT’s (M) GOAL
Provide diversion from family’s problems, & make everyone feel better by being funny & zany
For Self: act silly to try to interrupt their own physical & emotional tension & sense of danger – from feeling scared & powerless in the middle of the family mess Ms are genuinely ‘immature’, but play that up to draw attention away from the scary adults
For Family: use comic relief to lighten a ‘heavy’ atmosphere for everyone, creating a diversion to diffuse volatile situations.
May perform similar tasks to Caretakers, when enlisted to soothe the Dependent’s feelings & needs. And –
• like the Hero, they may be the ‘face’ of the family to the community
• while using humor to communicate awareness of the dysfunction, their antics can actually hinder Recovery. They indirectly express family’s painful emotions such as anger, grief, hostility or fear BY satire, sarcasm, teasing…. rather than address it head on
BIRTH ORDER : Usually the youngest, but not always
IN SCHOOL : Class clown or cut-up, admired by classmates for making school enjoyable.
Are hyper-active, have difficulty concentrating on studies, so may already have or develop learning deficits, & conclude they’re not intelligent (which is not true)
FAMILY TREATMENT : the M is the child everybody loves & prefers. They’re assumed to be happy-go-lucky but not smart or capable. May be seen as fragile, so over-protected & shielded from life’s problems
• Personal : Spend little time at home, with lots of friends, attract constant attention, are exaggerated & dramatic, disruptive, may get into trouble but not the malicious kind like the Scapegoat.
Avoid angry confrontations, go “with the flow”; ignore practical responsibility
Have a short attention span & incongruous emotional responses (laugh when things are serious or painful).
• Social: Their humor is not always innocent. There’re known to make mean or obnoxious jokes & humorous ‘dirty laundry’ stories about the family to express their own repressed anger.
Use fun to amuse their circle of friends but are not taken seriously, may be subjected to criticism & rejection for being silly & flaky
Act dumb, be super-cute, exaggerate their immaturity, make fun of self, do anything to get attention – clowning, humor, becoming an actor, addictions
Attention seeking, distracting to others, difficulty focusing, poor decision-making ability, superficial, ‘in the dark’.
Afraid to look inside & be honestly about emotions & actions, out of touch with ‘unpleasant’ feelings & spirituality
TO: “I have value for who I am, without being entertaining”
“I can be comforted & loved even when I’m not ON”
“ I’m not responsible for others’ happiness”
Anxious, deeply insecure, embarrassed, feel inadequate & unimportant, lonely, sad, self-hating, terrified. Express shame by depression & addictions
COST TO SELF
• Rarely feel loved for themself, only for playing this role to keep family distracted
• ALSO not allowed to be clever, functional, show very real & serious accomplishments
• Not allowed to have sadness or any other painful emotions, &deny the right to know their True Self. Ignore all their own suffering, which may later show up as illness.
• Their frenetic social activity is a defense against intense inner anxiety & tension. Their trouble coping with that stress can make them think they’re going crazy. If not addressed, they can slip into addiction, mental illness or committing suicide
PARENTS CAN HELP CHILD
TO: express humor appropriately, learn to take care of themself, modify need for attention, find ways to be competent
BY: being consistent & firm. Don’t push, only remind, & reward by using natural & logical consequences to their actions. NEVER reinforce sick, sadistic or self-deprecating humor with laughter
AS ADULTS – may already have great social skills, but trouble with addressing conflict directly, & with identifying their own emotions
• give love, but don’t know how to accept it
• are at risk for getting involved in abusive relationships, & try to “save” their partners by being “nice” & “upbeat.”
With growth – can be valued for their best qualities. They:
• are flexible, generous, helpful, independent
• are charming people, entertaining hosts
• have a big heart, & can be good listeners
• have an easy sense of humor, know how to play & enjoy.
NEXT: Roles & Co-dependence