PREVIOUS: Lost Child Role
Provide diversion from the family’s problems & making everyone feel better with their comedy & zaniness
For Self: feel scared & powerless in the middle of the family mess & try to interrupt physical & emotional tension & danger to protect themselves
For Family: They are genuinely ‘immature’ but play that up to draw attention away from the scary adults. Use comic relief to lighten the ‘heavy’ atmosphere, cover up the depth of the family sickness by keeping the focus on themselves & create a diversion to diffuse volatile situations. They take responsibility for the family’s emotional well-being & become its ‘social director’.
• Can actually hinder Recovery while using humor to communicate awareness of the dysfunction rather than address it head on, & to indirectly express emotions in the family such as anger, grief, hostility or fear by satire, sarcasm, teasing….
BIRTH ORDER: Usually the youngest, but not always
Class clown or cut-up, admired by classmates for making school enjoyable.
Are hyper-active, have difficulty concentrating on studies, so may develop learning deficits, & conclude they’re not intelligent (which is not true)
Assumed to be happy-go-lucky but not smart or capable, are the ones everybody in the family loves & prefers, may be seen as fragile, so over-protected & shielded from life’s problems
• Personal: They spend little time at home. Have lots of friends, a short attention span & inappropriate emotional responses (laugh when things are serious or painful). Avoid angry confrontations, go “with the flow”; disown responsibility, attract constant attention, are exaggerated & dramatic, hyper-energetic, disruptive, may get into trouble but not the malicious kind like the Scapegoat does
• Social: They can make obnoxious jokes about the family by using inappropriate humor to indicate their own repressed anger. Use fun to amuse their circle of friends but are not taken seriously & may be subjected to criticism & rejection for being silly & flaky
Exaggerate immaturity, being super-cute, acting dumb, making fun of self, doing anything to get attention – clowning, humor, becoming an actor, addictions
Attention seeking, distracting to others, stay immature, difficulty focusing, poor decision-making ability, superficial, ‘in the dark’. Fearful of looking inside & being honestly about feelings & behavior, so will be out of touch with ‘unpleasant’ emotions and their spirituality
From: “I must take their pain away”
“ If I make people laugh, there is no pain”
“ I only have value as an entertainer”
To: “I have value for who I am, without being amusing”
“I can be comforted & loved even when I’m not ON”
“ I’m not responsible for others’ happiness”
Terrified, lonely, embarrassed, sad, anxious, deeply insecure, S-H, inadequate & unimportant – show shame with depression & addiction
COST TO SELF
• Rarely feels loved for themselves, but rather for playing this role and keeping the family entertained. Not allowed to have sadness or any other painful emotions. ALSO not allowed to be clever, functional, show what they can accomplish in a serious way. They ignore all suffering, which may later show up as illness, & deny the right to know their True Self.
• Their frenetic social activity is often a defense against intense inner anxiety & tension. Their inability to cope with that stress can leads them to believe they’re going crazy. If this is not addressed, they can slip into addiction, mental illness or committing suicide
PARENTS CAN HELP CHILD
TO: express humor appropriately, learn to take care of self, manage need for attention, find ways to be competent
BY: Be consistent & firm; do not push, only remind, & reward by using natural & logical consequences to their actions, DO NOT reinforce sick, sadistic or self-deprecating humor with laughter
Without help : Persist in immature behavior patterns, & may marry a Hero to take care of them. Instead of dealing with problems, they will run away – ignoring them, changing the subject or making a joke about everything. Generally can’t handle stress & always on the verge of hysterics
Adult RECOVERY NEEDS
To take responsibility, risk being serious and to be taken seriously, learn assertiveness, study something in depth, feel all emotions
With help: Valued for their kind heart, generosity & ability to listen. They’re charming people, entertaining hosts, have a good sense of humor, know how to play & enjoy, quick-witted & witty, joyful & bring joy to others, flexible, independent, helpful