LOST CHILD Family Role


invisible 

I’M INVISIBLE TO EVERYONE,
& they like it like that!

Previous:  The Scapegoat

SITE: Lost Child –> Invisible Adult

❧ LOST CHILD
GOAL
Provide relief for the family – sacrificing their identity & desires to give parents one less thing to worry about

PURPOSE
For Self: hide from the chaos, from the physical & emotional abuse (under a table, in a closet, their room, the nearest library), avoid being responsible for anyone else…. by withdrawing into a fantasy world, making themselves very small & quiet
For Family: they relieve some stress by not causing an additional burden, provide privacy by not airing ‘dirty ‘laundry’, help family avoid serious problems by never mention alcohol, underlying roles or Recovery

BIRTH ORDER: 3rd or middle child

IN SCHOOL  :Loose themselves in school work, good grades, don’t want to participate, called the ‘space cadet’, geek, nerd….

FAMILY TREATMENT : Generally ignored, or considered a ‘blessing’ for not expressing needs.  Last child parents will think to get help for because they go unnoticed

ACTIONS /STYLE
• Socially Acceptable :  Pleasant when spoken to, quiet & unassuming, don’t call attention to self, have opinions but don’t express them, never make waves or demands
• Socially Awkward:   Distant, ill at ease with others, uncomfortable when focus is put on them, little or no expression of emotions.  Hide out to not be a bother. Strong attachments to animals & things instead of people, sometimes with one close friend but often none. May have confusion or conflicts about their sexual identity and functioning

DEFENSESSinvisibility
• quiet, aloof, ‘invisible’, super-independent, depressed/ suicidal, feel easily rejected while always staying aloof, deny getting upset
• use chemicals, food, porn…. to dull the pain, so become addicts, can be overweight, bulimic or anorectic….
• drift thu life with no little or ambition so may be under-employed or obsessed with one ‘big’ goal (realistic or not, productive or not)
• day-dreamers – buried in books, internet, religion / spirituality, creative mental pursuits, keep a diary, draw, listen to music, watch TV
• may try to get attention indirectly by getting sick, having asthma, allergies, or by bed-wetting

DEFICITS
• poor communication skills, unable or unwilling to initiate (passive), have hard time seeing choices / options, tend to lack direction, afraid of making decisions
• give up self-needs & the possibility of asking for or being offered help,  follow without questioning, easily bullied & made fun of, avoid professional help

BELIEFS:  
From: “Why should I feel? It’s better if I don’t”invisble chils
“If I don’t get emotionally involved, I won’t get hurt”
“I can’t make a difference anyway”
“It is best to not draw attention to yourself”

TO: “I deserve attention”
“I do make a difference, I am of value & people will value me”
“If I don’t get emotionally involved I’ll never have meaningful connections”

EMOTIONS :  Lonely, rejected, fearful, sad, suppress anger, hurt, depressed, show shame with procrastination & being the victim

COST TO SELF
Always feel different, like an outsider, don’t know how to get their needs / wants met, including need for personal connections, have social phobia so stay ignored & unappreciated, hard to get credit for abilities, feel suicidal

PARENTS CAN HELP CHILD
To: use creativity & imagination, be more social, express emotions, feel important, useful & valuable
By: giving private encouragement & praise, don’t criticize, encourage anything positive,  provide opportunities to be successful, include child in family process

AS ADULTS
• Unsosad manciable: the most obvious isolators, withdrawn from life to hide from whatever will hurt or make them uncomfortable – which is almost everything.  Terrified of intimacy, they most often avoid connections all together
• attracted to any solitary work or careers where they don’t have to deal with people
• ’Sociable’: if in a relationship they’ll be noticeably unavailable in many ways, pick controlling Heroes or unpredictable chaotic Scapegoats or Mascots
•  If artistic, will be excellent actors, studying their parts carefully, glad to hide behind a fictional character
• Generally: when needing to make a commitment based on logical thinking, feel they have few options because growing up they just went along with whatever was going on, instead of think thru possible choices
• Without help: they’re indecisive, can’t say NO, have little or no passion, fun or zest, don’t change & grow, are always alone or promiscuous, die early

Adult RECOVERY NEEDS
• to reach out, deal with loneliness, face their pain, make a few deep relationships, give up victim position
• become a team player, practice flexibility, taking the initiative, making decisions, notice & use
avwork aloneailable options
• With help: they can express talents, creativity & imagination. Can become assertive, resourceful & independent (instead of isolated)

STRENGTHS
• work well alone, self-reliant, quiet,
• easy-going, understanding, patient, spiritually developed
• resourceful, creative, flexible, non-conformist, quirky sense of humor
• well-read, scholarly, good observer & listener

NEXT: Mascot Role

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15 thoughts on “LOST CHILD Family Role

  1. Thank dog for all those strengths. So many of those statements rang true, a blessing for not expressing my needs! Not making waves. Withdrawing and taking pain somewhere hidden.
    No now though, much therapy and TA training and I am nearly cured 😉

  2. This is my wife 90%, She has already grown in some categories quite a lot. She has not got an eating disorder or drug dependany but the social dynamics are spot on. She has admitted to most of these dynamics at one time or another, but refuses to accept that they are a problem, and that they have anything to do with having an alchoholic parent. She contradicts herself to maintaing the facade. How do I get her to take the ACOA perspective so that she can grow forward from the truth? We have been having serious intimacy struggles, divorce has been mentioned, she may leave me to avoid facing the truth and dealing with it as a problem. Help please

    Doug

    • Hi Doug,
      Thank you for writing. I’m sorry to hear of your pain. As you know, there’s no way to make someone face their damage. Everyone has to ‘hit bottom’ in their own time – if ever. In the mean time you can go to Al-Anon, even if you’re not an ACoA yourself & she’s not alcoholic. That’s how I got started in my Recovery. I don’t know if you have the support you need to take care of yourself, which has to come first.

      If your marriage is salvageable, the only way for a shift is for you to change any part you’ve been unconsciously playing that has automatically developed between you. This is not a criticism or judgement, only a suggestion based on knowing how people function in relationships. Have you read ‘Games People Play” by Eric Berne, or “Scripts People Live” by Claude Steiner?

      You can keep asking for what you would like & saying how her behavior affects you, using ‘I’ statements. If you continue reading this blog you will find many suggestions for yourself on how to live well. Ultimately that’s all we can do.

  3. Useful info. Lucky me I discovered your web site by chance,
    and I am surprised why this twist of fate did not take place sooner!
    I bookmarked it.

  4. Thank you for what you have written, I relate to quite a bit of it – I don’t relate to the part where they are good academically, nor the suicidal part although about two years ago it dawned on me that I did not see suicide as an option when I was younger.
    I don’t know what ‘need for a personal connection’ looks like and what it is for me, so I feel I can not get one.
    Neither of my parents appear to have had an addition, although my mothers father was supposed to have been alcoholic. In later years my mother on occassion appeared to me to display narcissistic traits, and I think my brother does too.

    Most of my life I felt ‘defective’ and this has basically disappeared in the last five of six years as I have taken on doing recovery work, attending Al-Anon, CoDA and SLAA Annorectic meetings. I am more comfortable in myself now, although being sociable and having friends seems evasive to me.

    Thanks, Peter H

    • Thanks for writing. I’m glad you have gained self-esteem thru your hard work.

      Once we have self-esteem – then we can risk disappointment & losses if we want personal connections, because we know it’s not our fault or unworthiness.

      The up side is that if we choose well (not from the Wounded Child) then the benefits of good connections (relationships at any degree of rapport) – help us heal even more.

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