The Six Types of Family Roles in Addictive Households
During recovery from substance abuse disorder, it’s best that the entire family is involved. Even if only one person in a family unit struggles with addiction, each and every member is affected. And, can either attribute to helping or even enabling addictive behaviors for the addicted family member(s). During treatment for addiction, families can learn how they can better prepare for supporting their addicted loved one(s). One of the ways they can do so is by learning about the various family roles in an addictive household. This way, each family member can identify their role so they may provide the support, set boundaries, and adjust their mindset to allow for the best chance of recovery success for all.
The Addicted Role in the Family
Obviously, to have family roles play a part in addiction, there needs to be an addiction. The addict of the family will portray dependent behaviors as they continue to attempt to sustain a life of active addiction. As the consequences of addiction begin to form, the addicted family member will often portray negative behaviors to others in the family including lying, manipulating, and pointing fingers of blame. Furthermore, they may become unable to manage moods to they can often portray anger and avoidance behaviors.
The Enabler of the Family
The enabler of the family is one who does not create necessary boundaries with the addict. They may even deny that the person is struggling with addiction altogether. So, they may make excuses for the addict’s behaviors, because they may not even see them as a big deal. While they think this reaction is protecting their family, they really just mask the bigger issue. And, in turn, making it more challenging to heal from the effects of addiction.
The Scapegoat of the Family
The scapegoat of the family is often the person who gets blamed for many of the family issues. He or she is most likely to be the middle child, or second oldest. In many cases, this person feels their purpose is to provide their family members with an outlet for blame. So, they can take on a parent’s and other sibling’s blame in order to protect them from feeling these emotions themselves. Commonly, the scapegoat of the family will eventually be unable to manage his or her anger and act out in avoidance behaviors, often leaving town and not returning.
The Hero of the Family
The hero of the family is the one who is most controlling and often a perfectionist. By keeping up with personal goals, they feel they can provide their family with the illusion that everything will be okay. Normally, the hero of the family is the first child, as they are the most likely to have a type A personality and feel as though they are a leader to their siblings. Because of the position they put themselves in as a leader, they may experience extreme amounts of stress. And, become unable to manage their anxiety.
The Mascot of the Family
The mascot of a family is the person who may utilize humor to try to resolve tension during family arguments or drama. This may be due to the fact that they require approval from those who surround him/her due to their fragility. Most commonly, the mascot of the family is the youngest sibling. Basically, they use humor as a defence mechanism in order to not have to experience the negative emotions which may be brought about by addiction in the family.
The Lost Child of the Family
The family role of the lost child is a sibling who may not be as involved in family relationships as the others. This is due to the fact that they may not have shared as much family attention as the other siblings. Typically, they’re the youngest or middle child. And, characteristically showcase behaviors like isolation and the inability to maintain lasting relationships as a result of addiction in the family.
Learning More About Family Roles in Treatment for Addiction
Certainly, every family is different. So, a family struggling with addiction may not include every type of family role. However, in any case, it’s helpful to learn which family role you may be playing. This way, you can learn to incorporate healthy behaviors, skill sets, and thought patterns so you can heal from addiction yourself. And, support the addict in your family as he or she in on their journey to better health and a life of sobriety.
If you think that family resources and counseling would be good for your family while a loved one gets help for addiction, consider Wellness Retreat Recovery Center. Here, we offer a number of family resources to offer support for the entire family. This includes family outings, education, and counseling with our family therapists. To learn more about how we can help you and your family most past addiction and onto a life of wellness, contact us today.