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The Remarried Life

Oct 31, 2017

Brian Mayer discusses the different roles the family members take on when dysfunction is present.  When families are not healthy, human nature will tend to conform to the unhealthy situation rather than make attempts to change it.  As a result the children and even the spouse of the individual with the issues will begin to adapt unhealthy patterns to support the continued unhealthy behavior of one family member.  We hope you enjoy today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at

Today's Goodies

  • In blended families, dysfunction is usually more common.  As we have mentioned before the divorce rate continues to get higher with each subsequent marriage.  This obviously means that there are many more unhealthy patterns present which include anger issues, alcohol or drug problems, and pornography addictions. 
  • According to research by Sharon Wegscheider in the early 1980’s she proposed 5 different possible roles that children and spouses of the unhealthy parent/spouse will take on to continue the new normal unhealthy patterns.           
  • Caretaker takes responsibility for the bad behavior of a parent.  They can be co-dependent and protect the real caretaking adult by stepping up to take care of meals, cleaning, etc.  The spouse can take this role, but often children will. 
  • Family Hero attempts to bring pride to family by working hard and being successful at school and work.  They do this to avoid problems at home.  They have a façade of of self confidence and success but internally have issues of inferiority.  Often this is the oldest child.  The rest of the family does not see the issue if one is doing well.  They grow up trying to win the approval of others. 
  • Scapegoat diverts attention by acting out in anger.   Since no one is healthy and can model appropriate behaviors the scapegoat will not know how to control anger and behavior.   They often become the one to blame for the issue of the parents rather than being seen as a symptom. 
  • Lost Child withdrawals to escape.  Since they appear content they will begin to be neglected.  They don’t learn social skills as a result.  They cannot stand up for themselves and often get bullied.  Bulimia is common in the lost child as they try to satisfy pain through eating.  They will finds pleasure in other activities including drugs. 
  • Family clown diverts attention from the issue to themselves.  They try to lighten to heaviness and drama in the family.  The humor hides the pain inside.  They attempt to relieve stress and tension by distracting everyone.
  • Characteristics of a function family include:  Clear parent child separation of duties, everyone feels valued and encouraged, roles are not rigid but fluid, change is encouraged, boundaries are present, children are comforted and have a safe harbor at home. 
  • What have you noticed in your family?  Are your children playing these roles as an attempt to smooth the family system?  Are you playing one of these roles?  Are you the source of others taking on these roles? 

Resources Mentioned

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