The environment in which the addict is in can have a tremendous impact on their potential to overcome their addiction with a family therapy program for addiction. Family plays an absolutely key part when dealing with an addict. The way that the family treats the addict can play a pivotal part in whether or not the addict will have the support necessary to get better. When there is an addict in the family, the family dynamic slowly starts to revolve around the addict over time, creating dysfunctional family roles that inhibit any road to recovery. Below we’ll go over the roles that family roles in addiction that may be exhibited.
The addict is the center, the focal point of the family. They are often in denial of their drug use. As time passes, all of the family members start to “revolve” around the addict, developing coping mechanisms (and thus taking on the roles) unconsciously or not in order to deal with the addict. While they tend to be the center of the family, they aren’t necessarily the most important role in this dysfunctional family dynamic.
The Caretaker is arguably the most important one in perpetuating the rest of the dysfunctional family roles. They tend to try to keep and broker peace between the rest of the roles. Often excusing and accepting most of their associated behaviors. The Caretaker want to keep everything under wraps and try to create normalcy out of chaos. They let everyone act out on their own while trying to be a stable, sane person in the family.
The Scapegoat plays the role of taking attention off of the addict and becoming a source of chaos themselves by acting out and displaying aggressive behavior. They decide to become the problem child, provoking negative attention in order to take all the heat off of the addict.
The Lost Child
With the attention focused on the Addict or the Scapegoat, the Lost Child is the neglected one of the family. They also tend to avoid all discussions, confrontations and flies under the radar.
The Mascot is the comic relief of the family. They tend to use humor as a way to cope and diffuse a negative situation, usually to their own detriment. They try to keep the humor up because if they don’t they’ll start to feel anxious or depressed.
The Hero does all they can to keep the image of the family to a high standard. They try to cover up and compensate for the Addict’s mistakes. This can usually lead to burn out, feelings of frustration and anger.
Family Roles May Lead to Codependency
Most of these family roles in addiction are manifestations of coping mechanisms due to the following feelings:
Over time, codependency occurs and while the roles are fulfilled with good intentions, it will only further exacerbate any and all problems for the addict and everyone in the family.
Get Help for These Family Roles in Addiction
If your family or a family you know is exhibiting these family roles in addiction, it’s important to seek professional help and find a family therapy program for addiction. Call 866.488.1156 to get more information.