Dysfunctional families are the product of an emotionally dishonest, shame based, patriarchal society based upon beliefs that do not support loving self. Robert Burney
The following shows how I and four younger brothers and sisters survived in our family. To review the main six roles in a dysfunctional family exist of addict, caretaker, hero, clown, scapegoat, and lost child.
Read my previous article Top 6 Dysfunctional Family Roles Affecting Our Self-Esteem for more detail on the roles.
I cite my family to give you an opportunity to relate to your own family. At about the age of ten, I took on the role of Hero. In other words, I took the place of my alcoholic father, the Addict, with the unconscious intent of protecting my mother from his violence. During my teen years driven by sense of inadequacy I strived to be the best student I could be.
Loss of Self-Esteem in My Dysfunctional Family
As an adult, I became responsible and self sufficient never asking anyone to help me. I wore a stone faced expression, cut off from my emotions, afraid to ever express any feelings. Unlike the typical Hero I strived from the age of 24 for personal inner growth and healing of my wounded healer self.
In regards to other family members, my brother Wayne, four years younger, took on the role of the Scapegoat. I never challenged my father, for I knew he would beat me up if I spoke up. Wayne, however, did and wanted to take a gun and shoot my father one time. I stopped him.
Wayne had a lot of anger and probably self-hatred like my father. He, like my father, felt the world owed him a living. I believe he felt like a victim and became an alcoholic and eventually disowned the family. We have never heard from him for years.
Four of us took on the Caretaker role, I, my mother, and my sisters Alberta and Carolyne. We all have kind hearts and exhibit generosity to others. We, however, remained unaware of our needs and how to nurture ourselves as children and for some time as adults. I got into abusive relationships to save the women in my life. I became a holistic health practitioner and also a residential coach to teenage girls.
As children, I and my youngest brother Wesley became the Lost Child. I read a lot as a young child and growing up. I also withdrew into myself and became invisible with no voice to avoid being noticed by my violent father. It worked he never talked to me. I experienced the lowest of self-esteem and suffered low grade depression for a lot of my life.
Wesley got lost being the youngest and my mother getting divorced after 20 years of misery. No one noticed or paid much attention to him, being too busy avoiding the antics of an alcoholic father.
Today my mother and sisters see me as the Hero – the one who made a success of his life. You can also see that you can take on multiple roles or change your roles over time.
Addict –Heal your codependency, wounded inner child, and the wound in your soul. Healing the Addicted Brain: The Revolutionary, Science-Based Alcoholism and Addiction Recovery Program by Harold Urschel
Caretaker – Learn what your needs are. Begin to nurture yourself first. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
Hero– Overcome fear of rejection and failure by acknowledging and building on your inner strengths. Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by John C. Friel Ph. D.
Scapegoat – Heal the blame and shame you choose to take on for your family. Healing the Shame That Binds by John Bradshaw
Lost Child – Build your self-esteem by learning to love yourself. Healing The Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles Whitfield M.D.
Are you ready to rebuild your self-esteem and thereby your happiness and success in life?
See also Top Dysfunctional Family Roles Affecting Self-Esteem–Part 2 https://www.emotionalhealthtips.com/dysfunctional-family-roles-2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret from Drama, Trauma, and Pain. His book provides ways for improving emotional health, easing pain and stress, healing physical and emotional abuse, and spiritual awakening. https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Health-Secret-Freedom-Trauma/dp/0615479170
Michael as a previous Residential and Self-Esteem Coach and Mentor has over 15 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. See eBook Self Esteem- A Teen’s Guide for Girls. This book is valuable for women also. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009L4JLMO
Michael offers Bowen Therapy in person in Sedona, Arizona for easing physical and emotional pain. https://www.emotionalhealthtips.com/bowen-therapy-sedona/
Michael also conducts personalized hiking tours in Sedona for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs.