MASCOT Family Role

they won’t feel the pain!

PREVIOUS: Lost Child Role

SITE: Mascot: Not all Fun & Games


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

• take responsibility for the family’s emotional well-being & become its ‘social director’, entertaining everyone to cover up the depth of the family sickness by keeping the focus on themself

• 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 silly childinto 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

mascot dancerFROM: “I must never point out any problems”
“ If I make people laugh, everyone will feel better”
“ I only have value as an entertainer”

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

• 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

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.”

To take responsibility, risk being serious & be taken seriously, learn assertiveness, study something in-depth, feel all emotionsgood host

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

SCAPEGOAT Family Role (Part 1)

they won’t have to!

PREVIOUS: The Placater #2

SITE:  The Scapegoat Who Changed Her Family Role


NOTE: This is not the same as the being scapegoated – where parents pick out one child to blame for all the family’s trouble which they themselves are causing.
HERE, the Scapegoat role seems ‘voluntary’, in the sense that this position is being held as a self-sacrifice.

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
IMP: An in-your-face refusal to comply with a parent’s direct or unspoken demand for perfection-ism 

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 ‘issue’ is anything other than the addiction
• also to protect the family from any outside interference (cops, social workers, shrinks, social services….)

• try to show family what’s defiant_girl-1really going on, hoping they’ll learn from it & change BY acting out the tension & anger in the air that everyone ignores, & doing things the ‘wrong way’

BIRTH ORDER: Usually the second child, sometimes the first boy if an older sister is the Hero
Academically borderline or failing, they drop out, get suspended or kicked out, may not graduate

Family makes them the ‘black sheep’ & then feels ashamed of them. Because they’re the blunt ‘truth-tellers’, one or both parents may dole out harsher & harsher punishments, trying to ‘break’ them for not going along with the program.

They’re compared negatively to older, well-behaved / compliant siblings, sometimes considered ‘mentally ill’, & may be taken to therapy to get ‘fixed’.
Targeted to be Scapegoats, either because they’re:
a type: hyperactive or sick, so are easily bullied, and/OR
b type: the angry, rebellious, problem child who has the guts to say or do what no one else will, & so is easily ‘set off’ / reactive

Personal: IRONY – they are the most sensitive, caring & emotionally honest family member. Scapegoats are actually the strongest ones, since they carry the “sins” for the entire family.
Their sensitivity causes them intense pain when mistreated, making them self-hating & self-destructive. They are the romantic who becomes very cynical & distrustful from being the “target” of the family’s dysfunction. Will leave home as soon as they can

Family : Rebellious (constant trouble with authority, won’t follow directions), They make a lot of noise, diverting attention from the addict & his/her need for Recovery on to themselves. They won’t go along with the Hero who pretends everything’s alright. For a while will try to compete with the Hero for status, but lose & then stop trying to please
Because they have thick walls built around them from fear & outrage, their relationships will often be superficial & inauthentic – except when they can bond with another equally angry, bitter peers.

Often act out in front of others, putting on a tough act. In reaction to the family chaos & abuse, they become the troublemaker – argumentative, attention seekers, blaming others, disruptive, intrusive,  negative leader
AND/OR secretive, sneaky, verbally dishonest, unwilling to take personal responsibility

Defiance, withdrawal, hostility, sullenness, acting out, ‘don’t care’ facade. Strong connection to their peer group (same type) or totally isolated

Inappropriate expression & use of anger, intrusive, won’t follow directions, self-destructive, defiant, irresponsible, underachiever, social & legal problems at young age (truancy, teenage pregnancy, high school dropout, addiction, suicide attempts), can lead others into trouble.

NEXT: Lost Child Role