Three More Characteristics of Children from Troubled Families

As mentioned before, these characteristics first evolved from work with adult children of alcoholics but have now been generalized to anyone raised in an emotionally barren family. In the last two posts we discussed characteristics 1 – 4.  Today we’ll look at the next three which include: Have difficulty having fun. Take themselves very seriously. Have difficulty with intimate relationships. The first two of these characteristics may...

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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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The Lost Child: Invisible and Unheard

The third of the four roles is the Lost Child.  Remember, in a family with an emotionally absent parent, the other parent is focused on the ‘missing’ one.  So no one is focused on the children.  As a result of their emotional absence, the children learn to cope by adopting certain behavior styles.  Unfortunately, these learned roles become their way of interacting with the world.  Although every one has a bit of every role, for these...

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The Problem Child – It’s Not All Bad

In every family with an emotionally absent parent, the children learn and adopt one of four roles to deal with the stress and tension in the family.  These roles are the hero, rebel or scapegoat, mascot and lost child. The previous two posts talked about the Hero – the child who learned to handle the stress in their home by shutting off any knowledge of their wants and needs and becoming a ‘human doing’ – a person who judges...

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