Addiction can impact family members in different ways and may result in the development of specific roles within the family system. Here are some common family roles that can develop when a family member has addiction:
Enabler: The enabler is a family member who makes excuses for the individual with addiction and may enable their substance use by providing money or covering up their behavior.
Hero: The hero is a family member who tries to maintain a sense of normalcy in the family by excelling in academics, sports, or other areas.
Scapegoat: The scapegoat is a family member who takes on the blame for the family’s problems and may act out or rebel against authority as a way of coping.
Mascot: The mascot is a family member who uses humor or other coping mechanisms to distract from the impact of addiction on the family.
Lost Child: The lost child is a family member who withdraws from family interactions and may isolate themselves as a way of coping with the impact of addiction.
Caretaker: The caretaker is a family member who takes on responsibility for caring for other family members and may neglect their own needs as a result.
It is important to note that these roles can be fluid and may change over time as the family dynamics shift. Understanding the roles within the family can be helpful in addressing dysfunctional patterns and promoting healthy communication and relationships. Family therapy can help families identify and address these roles and develop healthy coping strategies and communication skills.