Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Family "Roles"

In every family there are unspoken roles that each family member holds the place for. In dysfunctional families it is even more evident. Today I wanted to introduce you to some family roles and try to get you to think about your family of origin as well as your family today and see if these roles exist. I have used pictures of sitcom families to allow you think about these roles more concretely.

If they do, I have also offered you some ways that the person in each role can make their lives more balanced.

The first role in families is THE HERO. It is exactly what it sounds like. The Hero is the person in the family who is "perfect", can't be wrong, gets positive attention, awards, achievements, etc...

What you don't see about THE HERO is that they are often afraid of failure, and over-controlled and over-controlling.

How THE HERO serves the family is by making the family not feel so bad because this part is so good and THE HERO likes the extra power and attention.

THE HERO in the family can often end up in adulthood being the workaholic, be plagued with physical illness, controlling, prideful, not so fun, and shameful.

With help, THE HERO can often find out the difference between achievements and success and learn to say no with boundaries and get in touch with their bad side which simply means being okay with not being perfect at everything and possibly fail here and there without shame.

The second role in families is THE SCAPEGOAT. This person is the bad, angry, never good enough, black sheep of the family who just doesn't fit in.

What you don't see about this person is that often they feel hurt, rejected, full of shame, and like the "family loser."

This person is used in the family to ignore any other problems. It is always THE SCAPEGOAT who holds the family issues, although that is nearly never accurate.

Without help, this person can be addictive, have trouble with the legal system (law), be promiscuous, constantly in trouble, continue on in these roles in other relationships or in their jobs, and might have a "chip on their shoulder" and play the victim.

These people in a balanced and healthy way can learn to take appropriate risks, be adventuresome like in missionary work or military, or even be business owners. Mostly they can learn to be okay with the fact that they can be "good" and feel "good" at the same time.

The third role in families is THE LOST CHILD. This person is ignored, quiet, invisible, loves animals, is often really attached to their material possessions, artistic, and sometimes has learning disabilities.

What you don't see about this person is that they are frozen in that they can't seem to express feelings and they are often times very lonely.

In families where there is a LOST CHILD, they often feel that "at least they don't have to worry about this child." This can be counterproductive as you can imagine.

If this person is not helped, they can often not express their needs, not share their opinions and can even lead to suicide due to them feeling empty and alone.

In a balanced situation, this person can be talented, creative, a great listener, can learn to participate and share wisdom and can grow to feel needed and connected. This will take more time for them than for other personality types.

The last role I am going to cover is THE CLOWN/MASCOT. This person is funny, hysterical, cute, immature, and do just about anything for a laugh.

What you don't see in this person is that they often hide pain in their humor, are incredibly scared, and feel inadequate like they have to entertain to be liked.

This person helps the family to avoid issues by clouding them in humor. They entertain the family and bring a light side.

Without help, this person can build up pain and resentment, let others tell them what to do too much, be a follower, and never "Grow up."

In a balanced situation, this person can feel a wide range of emotion and learn to express it, laugh when it is appropriate and cry when it is appropriate, learn to take the lead more, and grow up to meet responsibilities.

Have you found yourself? Your brother? Your Sister? I think these are interesting things to look at!

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