FURIOUS AT FAMILY? FIRST ASK YOURSELF, WHICH MASK DO YOU WEAR?
Today’s Fury-related post is brought to you by the fine folks at Internet-of-the-Mind.com….
Before you try to resolve some family conflict, it’s best to know whether you and your clan are clinging to certain unspoken rules and long-held roles. If you are, you’re not likely to resolve the insanity; any cease fire is apt to be temporary.
- The Flashy One: The class president… strait A student…captain of the football team… and valedictorian.
- The Responsible One: The 10 or 12 year old who comes home after school…gets the mail…washes the dishes…cleans up the house… and cares for the younger children. This is the “behind-the-scenes-hero.
This child learns to get attention through misbehavior. They get time, attention, affection, and direction from teachers, principals, counselors, and juvenile officers who are all trying to manage their behavior. Unconsciously, the rebel understands that negative strokes are better than no strokes at all.
It is the job of this child to help the family avoid conflict by heading off trouble and making sure others don’t make waves. This role and the People Pleaser may also be the Lost Child. It is not unusual for middle children to take on several roles or all of the roles at different times in the life of the family.
They may also lose themselves in comic books, novels, television, video games, and imaginary friends to name a few distractions. This child brings relief to the family because they’re known as the one they never have to worry about. They are always around somewhere would never make any noise.
While this is an attempt to protect themselves from feeling their painful emotions, it usually backfires because they end up attracting, and being attracted to, people who freely express those same painful emotions. These people “trigger” the intellectualizer into reluctantly experiencing their blocked emotions.
The baby of the family… usually preoccupied with humor or being cute. This child gets a lot of time, attention, affection, and direction for the cute and funny things babies do. They learn to stay “on stage” and become the class clown or the beauty queen. The silliness of this child can continue into adulthood to an embarrassing degree.
In dysfunctional families, roles sometimes shift. People will adopt different parts, but the script doesn’t change. The clan needs masks to keep avoiding emotional pain and deeper issues.