Substance addiction and abuse can ruin family dynamics, disintegrate trust, and cause disruptive communication. Someone who experiences a friend or family member fighting with a substance use disorder often bear a wide range of difficult and painful feelings. Family members may feel at a misfortune when seeing their loved one trapped in the holds of substance abuse. Hence, we at PRC Rehabilitation Center focus not only on the individual but the family as well.
Substance use disorder is both an individual and a family disease. It affects the whole family. There are certain roles that the role of family takes around the addicted person. Let’s discuss those dysfunctional roles in detail.
The caretaker is an enabler, who always covers for the family member with a SUD in regards to their problems and responsibilities. In order to keep the role of family unit happy, they do these things. They also support the negative behavior of the individual with the SUD by protecting them from the consequences of their actions.
The family member who always insists that everything is fine is the hero. They deny the fact that there is dysfunction in the family. They even try to make others believe that everything is fine in the role of family. It’s not that the hero is boastful or feels a need to impress others, insisting that everything is fine is how they cope with the trauma their family is facing. The hero is often successful in many ways. Since the hero stays in denial, they often build up their guard and have a very hard time letting others get past it. This makes their life difficult as they grow up and they are unable to be in romantic relationships with others.
The scapegoat role does the exact opposite of pretending everything is alright, they voice the family’s collective anger. They often give the role of family a sense of purpose by providing someone else to blame for their issues, which protects the addicted family member from much of the resentment and blame. They may be seen as rebellious and do things to shock their families, like getting tattoos or piercings, engaging in illicit behaviors, and associating with disobedient groups of friends just because they can.
The youngest child mostly takes the role of the mascot in the family. They learn quite early that laughter reduces tension and eases stress, and she or he responds to discord in the family by trying to lighten the mood through humor. Mascots seek attention by acting silly and funny, in order to cover up the family’s pain. They never seem to grow up, and the family fosters their immaturity by protecting them from painful realities.
The role of the lost child in a dysfunctional family is very different from the above mentioned roles. It isn’t loud and it doesn’t take over the spotlight. In fact, the lost child hides away far from any attention that’s given out by parental figures. The lost child always stays outside the drama and keeps to themselves, while the others get physically and verbally abused.
The addict is the focal point of the family. They are the source of family’s conflict as they deal with their behavior and choices.
The question that arises here is that what roles should the family take around the addicted individual. When families ask us this question, our team at PRC Clifton Karachi psycho-educates them on the stigma attached to addiction. Once you have all the awareness of what addiction really is and how can it be treated, then you reverse all the unhealthy roles into healthy ones. Strong and healthy boundaries should be maintained along with tough love, respect and healthy communication skills.
For any queries kindly contact our team at 0341-1959599, or visit our treatment rehabilitation centers.