There was always something that laid heavy on me most of my life, that caused me confusion, pain, and in a lot of ways prevented me properly seeking the help I needed and deserved. It was 1 of the main things that headed the list of the reasons why I thought I knew I was simply weak, or maybe not even weak, but definitely a defective person born a certain way and beyond help. That something was:
- My older brother, on the outside at least, had done ok in life and didn’t seem to share the same issues that I had, despite being raised ‘exactly the same’.
In my eyes, this had always made any argument I may have wanted to raise about the way I had turned out being a direct result of my upbringing, completely flawed. We were raised in the exact same environment, by the same people and showed an equal amount of love and tolerance and all other types of emotions we receive from those that bring us up through love. So I was ‘clever enough‘ to not use this as an argument or a need to seek help, and instead I pretended I was ok. In fact, I played the opposite to what I felt inside.
“Yea that’s how life was back then, but worse things have happened to better people, you gotta get on with it.”
I convinced a lot of people, including often myself with this kind of statement but the truth was, I was dying inside and I had no idea why. But the reason it couldn’t have been my upbringing was because otherwise me and my older brother, and my younger one too, would have turned out practically the same.
Well it turns out I was wrong! I was wrong, because my basic logic of which I had applied to come to the conclusions I had, had been the real thing that was flawed. Alcoholism is not as simple as that.
Until I found Nacoa, I had no idea that people within a ‘troubled family’, or even a healthy family under stress, can tend to take on different roles. With families dealing with alcoholism in particular these roles are usually more fixed and played with more intensity, compulsion, and delusion. This role-playing is not a calculated behaviour but happens subconsciously.
I had no idea it was happening and it prevented honesty, especially with myself, even away from the home.
Much like the lie I took into adult life that ‘I had taken it all on the chin’.
The table above was adapted by Nacoa, with permission, from the work of Sharon Wegscheider Cruse. It shows the different roles that children play within the family. It is, of course, for guidance only, and each childs personalities and genetic traits have to be taken into account. Some children can take on more than one role, in the case of an only child they can often try to take on all roles, and roles can change when a family circumstance changes, such as the eldest child moving out.
Now, I’m not an expert, and only have my experience, but looking at this chart alone I can tell you, without doubt that I was the mascot. Working across the table, my motivating feeling was always fear. I can remember spending most of my life making decisions and choices in an attempt to prevent or avoid situations that often didn’t even happen. It was tiresome, extremely tiresome.
I’ve mentioned before in ‘I need your love’ about just how much my life was controlled by a need for gratification from others. My hyperactivity and constant clowning around were an obvious symptom of me as a family mascot. My pay off was clearly the attention I received, and that was a feeling of self-worth, however hollow that actually was. My family received their fun from my antics and I found my place in the world there.
I guess I’m pretty text-book in this, because I paid all the possible prices. Emotional illness, immaturity, and addiction. Yep I bagged them all, and although understanding the clear line that I’ve followed didn’t simply take all that away for me, it did allow me to give myself a break, and realise how differences in siblings reactions can come about.
It helped me realise that I’m not just defective, a ‘bad egg‘, but that if there was a process that happened to get me tangled up like I did, then there can be a process to untangle me!
If only I had of known this sooner. That confusion I lived with for so long could have been eased. Perhaps more importantly, I may have been easier convinced that a solution was possible.
I carried my ‘mascot‘ behaviour into adulthood. It meant that I felt I had to be the funny guy ALL the time. I realise now that this is where another contradiction I had in my life came from. I never understood how I could be so popular and liked by so many people, and yet hate myself. This was the mascot in me. It meant that I absolutely had to bury and suppress ALL my negative emotions, because I felt totally unloved unless I was making people laugh and being centre of attention! I loved meeting new people because of all the attention there was to get, but struggled as relationships moved forward and my comedic value began to wear off.
Unless I was the mascot, and the I mean the main mascot, I was simply lost in life.
Much like with many of the characteristics I’ve gained as a COA, upon realising their origin, and working on my own healing from them they can have a positive influence on my life. Make no mistake, I’m sure the mascot in me enjoys the attention I receive for even writing this blog! The point is I’m not controlled by this kind of thing any more, not always at least! It doesn’t have to be so relentless any more, and I don’t have to play the clown whenever I’m around a substantial amount of people. I can just do it when I want, and believe me I do. 🙂
For me, this is just another thing that I should have known about when I was younger. I know grades are important at school, but I would have given up any of my grades at school for this kind of knowledge.
Maybe you’ve looked at the table above and can relate to one or more of the roles? I don’t have any experience with any of them from my point of view, so I can’t write in-depth about them, but maybe people would like to comment below if they do, or contact us with a post of their own?