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 people will learn what a fake they are, for on the inside, they aren’t funny at all. Rather they are stressed, angry, and lonely. The mascot believes they are loved only for their behavior – not for who they are. Because of that belief, they rarely go inside to focus on how they feel or to decideon what they want out of life.
And ironically, as long as they keep busy entertaining everyone all the time, they never have to figure life out – they continually live in reaction rather than action.
Children of the mascot are emotionally abandoned – what else can they be when one parent is focused on entertaining them rather than parenting them. The latter requires some self knowledge – of values and beliefs, which the mascot lacks. And doesn’t want.
The untreated mascot will often marry the family hero so that the details of life are handled. The hero, attracted to the light-heartedness of the Mascot. And they will do it all, but they will be continually looking for more emotional input from their partner. As a result, both parties are miserable and the cycle continues into the next generation.
There is another side to the mascot as an adult. Because they are usually agreeable and lack strong opinions they may be seen as door mats. Male mascots may be seen as hen-pecked, having giving up all forms of authority to their spouse. Women in this role may be seen as overly dependent – and be dominated by their partner. This puts them at risk of physical abuse, which they will laugh off, after the tears and the immediate hurt.
To heal, the mascot needs to learn to be still in the moment and allow stress or tension to build. And stand in it. No jokes or quips. No funny faces. No physical reaction. Simply stay in the moment and allow the stress to be. Once they’ve accomplished this (which may never be easy) the mascot can learn to be responsible for them and their choices. They can learn to face conflict and to be as comfortable as anyone can be with sadness, anger in others or fear.
It is hard to love a mascot. They need reassurance that they are valuable and competent as a person. And above all, their sense of humor must be appreciated.
This is the final post in this series of the four roles of the mascot. Next week I’ll look at roles in the context of family size and then we’ll discuss relationships between roles.
If you have something you’d like to discuss or learn about, feel free to leave me a comment with the suggestion. I’ll do what I can.
Remember, no serious diagnosing your family or friends. And as always, I appreciate your comments. Feel free to email me privately if you don’t wish to post publicly.
Clown picture is courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Clown
Man in the party hat is from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499