How Do You Define Success?

I had dinner Saturday evening with one of my girlfriends and we got into a deep conversation about a variety of topics.  But the one that had me thinking all evening and most of today was a simple question she asked me: “How do you define success?” In truth I don’t know. What is success?  My daughter and I discussed success today as it concerns weight loss.  Is it the number on the scale? The size of clothes you wear?  Or...

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It’s All Mom’s Fault, or Is It?

We have focused many posts on the adult children of emotionally barren families.  As we go forward there will be posts on resilience and recovery for them.  But before we begin that, it’s important to complete the information on family structure. As mentioned originally, this work began with work on families of alcoholics. Studies showed that an alcoholic was more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety when his wife went into treatment as...

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Roles and Relationships

One of the interesting things about working with adults raised by emotionally absent parents is that they form the foundation for the next generation, unless the adult child does something to change their way of being in the world.  And it’s important that those changes happen before the next generation is very old, so the babies aren’t caught up in that same drama. For those of you who have noticed some of these roles in your friends and...

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The Mascot: Using Humor to Cover Pain

The last of the four roles is the Mascot.  As mentioned, this learned behavior uses humor and fun to offset the stress of the family situation.  It looks like fun but all is not happiness and roses, for the humor is used to cover a dark side. The mascot lives in buried fear.  The child living this role is afraid that the family problems are going to be identified.  They are afraid that their shortcomings will be seen.  They are afraid that...

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The Lost Child: Finding The Way Back from Emptiness

A family where the parents are emotionally absent (whatever the reasons) leaves the children to fend for themselves emotionally.  In learning to cope in a difficult situation with a child’s maturity and knowledge, the siblings often adopt one of four roles to cope with the emotional emptiness of the home. The Lost Child believes that there is no point in attracting attention to themselves – after all no one is aware they’re around. ...

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