Addiction rarely only affects the addicted person, but also their entire family and even social circle. If you live under the same roof with a person who abuses drugs or alcohol, then you might fall into one of the common family roles in addiction. These roles typically evolve out of coping strategies and are rarely healthy for either the addicted person or the people around them.
What Are Some Common Family Roles in Addiction?
Experts in the addiction field have identified five potential roles in a family where a member is struggling with addiction. The first role is that of the enabler. Many enablers will be in denial. The enabler doesn’t want the problem of the addicted person to exist, so they pretend that it’s not serious. They will also rather often make excuses to themselves and others for the addicted person’s behavior. Another role is the hero. This person is usually a Type A personality who has perfectionist tendencies. They try to compensate for the addicted person by doing everything right and creating a sense of normalcy. This person tends to experience high levels of anxiety and stress as a result. The third role is the scapegoat. This person often, unfortunately, gets blamed for the family’s problems to shield the addicted person. They also are often the one to put a voice to the collective, yet hold hidden anger at the addicted person. If this role is taken on by a child, then they have a substantial risk of having problems when they get older. Males tend towards violence, while females often find solace in casual sex or run away from home. The fourth role is the mascot. This person often tries to deflect the anger and stress through humor. The youngest child usually takes this role through desperation for approval and as a resistance to pain and fear. The fifth role is the lost child. This person is usually shy and introverted and may be considered invisible by others in the family. These people often have social problems later in life.
Coping With Common Family Roles in Addiction
The aforementioned dysfunctional roles often lead to codependency with enough time. The problem is that family members usually take these roles as a form of coping. They’re typically not healthy for the person taking them or for the addicted person who ends up having their behavior shielded. What these roles don’t do is address the problem of addiction. They also don’t address the fact that it’s often challenging to get out of substance abuse without professional help. It’s not healthy to just hope that the person will stop using drugs or alcohol. The formation of these roles is why many quality rehab centers offer family treatment and counseling along with our addiction treatment programs.
Intervention for Common Family Roles in Addiction
If you recognize any of these negative roles in your family, it’s crucial to get help through a family therapy program in Hanover, PA. The Ranch PA understands that addiction doesn’t only affect the addicted person. We offer the following services and programs for people and families struggling with addiction:
- Drug and Alcohol Treatment
- Individual & Family Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Don’t allow addiction to keep you from living your life. Reach out to The Ranch PA at 717.969.9126 today and let us help you get back on track.