- Nuclear includes the caretaker (parents) and children.
- Extended includes grandparents, grandchildren, uncles/aunts, and cousins
- Crowned Prince - often the first born male, can do no wrong, often spoiled/pampered, gets own way, and runs the family.
- Enchanted Princess - female version of the Crowned Prince.
- Mascot - the compliant child, usually middle child, seeks approval/acceptance by "getting along" in the family system. Parents are often "proud" of this child.
- Lost Child - is the least invested in the family system. Often a middle child and easily "lost" between older and younger siblings.
- Clown - is the child who jokes and makes everyone laugh in the family, to protect themselves from feeling real pain and dysfunction within the family. They try to "cover up" the true identity of the family (which is often painfully dysfunctional).
- Identified Patient - may cause the most problems in the family, but are the most "loyal" member. They act out in order to draw attention to the family system's dysfunction in order to get help.
As the Lost Child, what the outside world doesn't see (and I can't either)-
- Not allowed to have feelings
- Hurt and abandoned
- Low self-esteem
What I represented in the family system was relief; at least one kid that no one worries about. I pretty much could be left alone/trusted without any problems.
As an adult, if I don't seek help this is what could happen-
- No zest
- Little fun
- Stays the same
- Dies early
- Can't say NO
- Can't handle stress
- Marry a "hero"
- Good company
Characteristics of a dysfunctional family system-
- Unable to identify feelings
- Difficulty in expressing positive feelings
- Difficulty in forming lasting relationships
- Struggle with perfectionism
- Demonstrate rigidity
- Trouble adjusting to change
- Feel overly responsible for one another
- Constant need of approval
- Members feel powerless to change
- Marked by low self-esteem
- Members don't know how to have fun!
I can recall struggling with many of the above characteristics and to this day some still affect me. The last bullet is one of the many things I currently struggle with. For example, there are things that are fun to do, but I either turn competitive or I can't seem to let go (lose my inhibition). I maintain a sense of self-control and have a difficulty being wacky or silly. I also think my inability to get "excited" about things stems from this same topic.
I write all this out because I want to recognize my past and heal, move forward and grow closer to God. If I can gain some understanding and know there's help, then I can heal; I can not repeat the past; I can let go and let God!
Any comments would greatly be appreciated! Thanks.