Addiction is often seen as a personal problem. In most instances, the addict is often blamed for getting into the habit in the first place. However, all the blame cannot go to them. Family members play a role in addiction. Once you understand the roles, you can see where you fit in and what you can do to help. If you want to know your role and that of other family members, read this narrative driven article. You will learn family roles from an addict’s point of view.
Here are the different roles family members play when it comes to addiction.
- The enabler
The enabler is a non-addict who “cleans up” after the addict. They take care of the addicts responsibilities making the addict feel like their addiction does not have any negative effect. The enabler appears to be in denial concerning the severity of the issue and justifies the addict’s behavior. They are reluctant to get help for the addict since they do not think their addiction is a big deal.
- The perfectionist/ hero
The hero is often a perfectionist. They can be an older child who is an overachiever. The hero always appears to be confident and does not joke around. They take on the extra responsibilities in the home and handle tasks that supersede their maturity levels. Over time, they feel the pressure mounting as the responsibilities keep piling.
- The rebellious one/scapegoat
This is the black sheep of the family. The scapegoat can be a child who always gets into trouble with the authorities. As a child, they can run away and break the rules set for them to get some attention. Even as adults, they often have issues with the law. The rebellious behavior is assumed to be because of living in a toxic environment. Their behaviour is often seen as a cry for help. When dealing with these troublemakers, you need to find the root of their behavior for them to change.
- The joker/mascot
The mascot is the one who has decided to provide temporary relief through humor. They know they live in an unhappy home and use humor to cope. They keep doing this until the situation improves. In some cases, the mascot uses humor as a defensive mechanism. During counseling, they need to learn how to reveal their true selves and show they are not happy. They can get lost in the humor and forget what is going on at home.
- The dreamer
The dreamer is referred to as the lost child in some cases. They isolate themselves from the rest of the family members. They often live in their fantasy worlds where they go to when they want to avoid facing their problems. This can make them have a difficult time connecting with people in the real world. They learn to escape physically and emotionally from the negativity around them.
They need to get help to learn how to face their problems instead of running away from them. The difference between the dreamer and the enabler is that the enabler denies there is a problem while the dreamer knows there is a problem but chooses to run away from it.
- The addict
Addicts often feel ashamed and guilty of their problem and how it has affected their families. However, the biggest challenge is most do not feel like they should stop. This can make the rest of the family start resenting them. The addict can also start acting out and blame the family for the addiction. Even when they go through the recovery, the family still harbors some resentment. That is why the family also undergoes counseling so they can air out their issues and start the healing process.
These roles can affect the people’s behavior from childhood to adulthood. The effects of addiction can affect family members later in their lives. The family needs to go for counseling to find out how the different roles came about. This will help them cope and even deal with the situation so it does not affect their future. If they do not get any help, they might have a difficult time living and relating with others as they will always have a mask and not reveal their true selves.
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