The Family Roles We Adopted Set Up Patterns of Behavior

Our self-image is formed by allowing ourselves to be influenced by various authority figures. As we mature and accept the responsibility of defining ourselves, these internalized voices of authority must each be examined and evaluated. It is only when we take back our own power to define ourselves that we are truly free.

Our conscious mind is where thoughts are formed. Our subconscious mind is where our creative mind takes root. As we learn to harness the vast power and energy of the subconscious mind, we are tapping into our real source.

From “No contact! The scapegoat walks away” by parenting exposed:

“Walking away from an entire family is one of the most painful things the family scapegoat adult child in a narcissistic family will ever do. Abuse from the narcissistic family towards the scapegoat is often so severe, and so mentally damaging, that the only solution left after exhausting all other avenues, is to walk away from the family unit, and anybody outside of the family unit, connected to the family.”

“Scapegoating is contagious – and once the family scapegoat has been earmarked for this kind of abuse, friends of the perpetrators, or relatives ( minions) previously uninvolved in the situation, may involve themselves in scapegoating this member of the family; just because they can. This is the nature of scapegoating. Once the smear campaign is at work, and infiltrates everybody within the narcissist’s circles, the scapegoat no longer has any control over the situation. Explaining away one’s own innocence proves unproductive. The only options left are to walk away, and to remain non-reactive.”

“At the centre of the scapegoating problem within the family unit, is often an extremely emotionally dangerous, triangulating narcissistic parent, often aided by either an unaware enabling parent, a narcissistic golden child or a flying monkey golden child with a lack of awareness in what they have become involved in.”

My self-discovery test, the Changemaker Test, is found on another of my blogs. Learning Your Labels. In my test, I have added what I found about the family roles. We actually choose 2 roles–what I call a “doing role” (how the world sees us) and a “being role” (the role we use when we get into emotional trouble). My roles are family hero/rescuer and scapegoat.

Family roles in dysfunctional families (which is all of us are part of at one time or another) were introduced by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse in her book, The Family Trap.

The following is an update on family roles from ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics).

Read more here.

Parental inversion happens when we become the parent to our parent to such a degree that their feelings are more important to us than our own feelings. This happened to me in my childhood. I used to cry on the way back to school during lunchtime because I couldn’t save her from the battles my parents had. It never entered my mind to wonder why she din’t try to save me.

From “The Heartbreak of Parental Inversion: In Eight Pieces” by Alice Mills:

“The first time I really became aware of how grievous parental inversion is, came in a meeting with a student, Susan, who had recently broken up with her boyfriend. They had been together for a number of years. As my student related their history, I noticed that she seemed to be relatively unemotional. I was surprised as he had left the relationship unexpectedly for another. When I asked her about her feelings, her response took me aback.

“Oh, I haven’t had time to really feel anything. I have been comforting my mother over the breakup. She is so heartbroken, you would think it was hers,” she said. Susan went on to say that she frequently comforted her mother through life’s hardships. Her mom had always been sensitive and she just kind of got co-opted into taking care of her after her parents split up. Susan, being the oldest and naturally empathetic, took on the role of parent.

The direction of the flow of life and love in a family is supposed to go from parent to child, not from child to parent. While this should be obvious, I often find that some people who go into ministry or counseling fields, whether spiritual, psychological, or financial, come from these kinds of backgrounds. Not always, by any means, but often enough.”

From “Survival Roles Develop Within The Family of Alcoholics” by Peggy Ferguson:

“Each family member can be characterized by specific repetitive behavior. These survival behaviors are personally costly. Each person pays a high price to use these survival roles. They can persist beyond the addicted system into new families of choice as the children grow up and marry. They can persist into a work context, where children of alcoholics find themselves enacting childhood roles. Survival roles can be passed down to subsequent generations, through modeling and learning. Family members may play one role in a family context and other roles in different family contexts. A common example is the family hero who marries an addict and takes on the role of the chief enabler.”

Read more here.

Photo credit.

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Untangled Connections and commented:
    The quote about “no contact” with family speaks to me a lot. In fact, it summarizes why I left my family and have concerns about reconnecting. Take a look at the rest of the post. It’s interesting and has lots of information.


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