Updated: Nov 22, 2021
As per research, there are 4 types of roles anyone can play in a family. Especially in a dysfunctional setting, one can get identified too much with either of the roles & this is where the problem begins. With these roles, we tend to keep replaying dramas in our home without it leading us anywhere. It surely doesn't help us grow, it disrupts our home environment and it hampers our self worth and esteem. The first thing to break this pattern of roles is to become aware that you may be playing one. Following are the roles one can play:
The hero, on the outside, is perfect and is always right. This person is an over-achiever and tends to receive a high amount of praise and positive attention. On the inside, the Hero has an immense fear of failure and letting down the family by not living up to the expectation to be perfect. The problem begins for a hero when he or she defines their worthiness on success. Anything less than that, hampers their self esteem. If you identify yourself as a Hero in your family, then you need to take it easy. Do not associate your worthiness by how successful you are, stop chasing perfection and embrace failures. Learning to Say No to family to things that don't serve you is also beneficial as for the family, the Hero is their trophy for the outside World and they base their worthiness through his/her achievements.
The Scapegoat is the opposite of the Hero role, and is seen as the problem of the family. The Scapegoat is also referred to as the “black sheep” of the family, and has a hard time fitting in and relating to the other family members. His/her behavior is seen as bad and never good enough. The Scapegoat tends to be more impulsive and angry. Although the Scapegoat may put up an angry affect to keep others away, on the inside the Scapegoat is filled with shame, hurt, and rejection. The Scapegoat has little motivation to succeed because he or she already feels like a failure and a loser. If you identify yourself as a scapegoat, then understand the root of your feelings of shame, hurt and rejection. Understand that you are not your thoughts. Try to be more vulnerable and share your feelings with a coach, therapist or a trusted family member. Work on your self love and believe that you are a good person at heart. Build your strengths to achieve your Goals.
3. Lost Child
The Lost Child refers to an individual in a family that is often ignored, quiet, and seems/feels invisible. This person has a low sense of self, identity, and worth. Not much is expected of the Lost child, because this person is often not pushed to try hard or to succeed. The Lost Child tends to keep opinions to him or herself and rarely feels needed or as a contributor to the family. This can lead to depression when the individual feels like more of a burden to the family. With some help, the Lost Child can learn to accept feelings and learn how to appropriately express emotions. The Lost Child can be extremely valuable when solving problems because he or she has learned to think things through internally and through listening before speaking. The Lost Child is very creative (thanks to those inward hobbies!) and often talented. With time, the Lost Child can learn to feel connected to others and gain a healthy sense of self. If you identify with this role, then work on building deep connections with people who you really like. Start expressing your thoughts and feelings more to the World and build your self worth.
4. The Clown
The Clown/Mascot is just what it sounds like: funny, goofy, often immature, and does anything for a laugh. The Clown role is often frowned upon in school settings by teachers, and can either be popular with other children, or found to be an annoyance. As pain continues to build up and remain covered or avoided, the Clown/Mascot becomes more burdened which can result in depression. The Clown/Mascot may feel pressured to always cover up others’ pain as well by making others laugh or cheer up instead of working through issues. The Clown/Mascot tends to be a follower and allow others to dictate his/her life, even if not consciously. If you are someone who identifies with this role, then learning to disengage with this role can help you remain centred. Face the pain instead of covering it up with humour. Accept that things are difficult in this World and sometimes accepting and facing them is the best way to heal it rather than covering it up temporarily with humour. Resist the urge to be funny all the time.
We can tend to pick up either one role or multiple roles from situation to situation. And these roles are applicable not only to family settings but also in any group be it workspace of friends. Playing these roles unconsciously becomes problematic when we start identifying oursleves with these roles and the same drama keeps happening with our family , or group settings. This, becoming aware and regaining back the control and breaking the autopilot mode of playing these roles can help you live more consciously & without drama. Which role you tend to Play? Comment below and share your knowledge.
The content has been inspired from the following blog