what roles do family members play in addictionSubstance abuse commonly results in unhealthy roles being taken on by family members.

For those who’ve never had to cope with the behaviors of an addict before, it’s impossible to understand the severity of the problem. Substance abuse is difficult to get a grip on, and when it’s happening in a home among family members, everyone takes on a role to cope with the chaos that ensues.

With this in mind, understanding these roles and how they can contribute to the problem will give you some insight. This information will help you start a discussion that could eventually lead to the treatment and counseling your family needs.

If you or your loved ones need treatment for a substance abuse call 1-800-298-1783.

Your call is crucial and could save a life.

Everyone Has A Role To Play

Each family member will play a role in the house. While all of these roles might not exist in your home, the following are the roles you could be witnessing if you have an addiction in the family:

The Addict

An addicted family member will not solely live in a consistent state of chaos; they’ll bring this messiness into the home as well. A substance abuse problem is the coping mechanism of choice for this individual. So when it comes to handling issues or complicated feelings, their substance — or substances — of choice will always be within reach.

Over time, the progress of this disease continues to dominate this individual’s life. They’ll manipulate others, burn bridges, lose friends, alienate family, and neglect themselves time and time again. And when it comes time to take the blame for these issues, they blame others. All of this negatively impacts the entire family, and the sad fact is that this individual will continue to find difficulty as they fail to get the treatment they need.

The Enabler

This person is trying to make the situation better but to no avail. The Enabler will continue to deny that The Addict has a problem. This individual has no sinister motives. Instead, he or she is looking to protect the family from The Addict’s actions. They will make excuses for The Addict’s behavior simply because they love this person. And while it seems as though they’re doing the right thing in their own mind, their actions only encourage the issues to persist.

This person is most commonly the spouse of the addict, although the role is taken on by a child from time to time. Regardless of who The Enabler in the family is, finding this person and explaining how their actions contribute to The Addict’s problems is essential for the family to make progress towards a less chaotic life.

The Hero

The Hero in your family is the person who is always trying to bring your family together. They’re working hard to ensure there is somewhat of a sense of normalcy, attempting to put out the fires and decrease the daily chaos as much as possible. This person is likely hard-working, an overachiever, and aims for perfection every time.

More common than not, this is a role the eldest child will take on in an effort to help their family. While The Hero is trying to help everyone else live a better life, they’re generally taking on a lot of pressure with this role. As a result, it’s somewhat common for The Hero to experience extreme anxiety, resulting in stress-related illnesses as they grow up. 

The Scapegoat

Someone has to be The Scapegoat in the family. However, sometimes, The Scapegoat can be The Addict as well. Other times, the second oldest child might take the blame, offering the family a sense of purpose in the process. The family’s collective anger is targeting this individual, and if this person is not The Addict, they might take a lot of the pressure wrongfully.

This person might act as a shield to keep the blame and resentment of the family away from The Addict. And as this individual grows up, if the person is a male, he might act out with violence. However, female scapegoats are more likely to run away from home or become involved in promiscuous sex to cope with the pain.

The Jokester

The Jokester is the person in your home who is always attempting to supply humor to make light of the situation. No matter how dark times might get, this individual will seek out the approval of the rest of the family by offering a humorous outlook.

This is a family role that the youngest child will usually take on. Since they are feeling vulnerable as a result of The Addict’s actions, they offer comedic relief to take his or her mind off of the fear and pain of growing up in this chaotic household. As The Jokester grows up, they’re often more prone to self-medicating with substance abuse, continuing the cycle of addiction.

The Lost Child

The Lost Child is the most withdrawn person in the family. They might feel or seem invisible to everyone else in the family, lacking the attention that some of the other family members might receive. This person is not looking for attention, especially since the substance abuse is causing issues they’d rather not be a part of.

This role is usually taken on by the youngest or middle child. They will usually procrastinate making decisions and have a difficult time forging intimate relationships with people. Due to the experiences they have in their home, they find solitary activities appealing and use them to cope with their family troubles. 

Ridding Your Home Of These Roles

Do you recognize any of these roles? If you do, it’s essential to understand that your family can rid themselves of these roles and progress towards a better lifestyle. The first step is getting The Addict help.

Find the assistance your family needs today call 1-800-298-1783.