And in a way, comfort is what this post is about. In dysfunctional families, children take on certain roles as a means of coping with the dysfunction that is all around them. Those roles can be summarized as follows:
- The good child: this child takes on the parental role and is really the hero of the family, holding it together through sheer willpower.
- The problem child: the rebel who is often blamed for most of the problems in the family.
- The caretaker: this child takes responsibility for the emotional well-being of the family.
- The lost child: often quiet, in the shadows, hardly noticed and often ignored.
- The mascot: the joker of the family who uses humor to deflect attention away from the dysfunction.
- The mastermind: this one takes advantage of the faults of other family members to get what he/she wants.
Growing up I was a combination of the good child and the caretaker. I had a sister who was eleven years older than me and really was a non-factor in the household by the time I was six or seven. Once she left the home to get married it was up to me to hold the family together, so often my roles were hazy as I tried to juggle various responsibilities.
I have no doubt that I was adopted to save the family. The older I got the more I became aware of this, and let me tell you it is one hell of a load to carry.
Do you see yourself in any of these roles? Do you see any of your children?
Just something to think about…..remember, change is possible. The past cannot hurt us if we do not allow it to. We can kick history to the curb and pave a new road for ourselves…..and it begins with willingness.