It’s old news that unhealthy families end up with family members who play roles. Hero. Scapegoat. Lost child. Mascot. Old news, right? And, also old news – we always want the role we weren’t assigned. It’s like hair preferences. I always wanted wild and curly hair, but my best friend always wanted straight and silky smooth hair (which I refer to as limp and lifeless – but that’s just me). She of course had a head full of hair with a lot of texture, me, I was the limp and lifeless straight-haired one. If a hair transplant had been possible, we would have signed up for the experience.
In Dale’s class, I learned that we don’t get a vote on our assigned role. As the first born, hero was an assignment I received not one I earned through heroic acts and endless examples of bravery. My youngest brother was the mascot and I always thought it was because he was so funny – but according to family systems, he was probably assigned the role and then had the burden of learning to live into it.
Another fun fact, the system itself can change up the roles without any thought or consideration of the family itself. Now THAT’S discombobulating. No one wants to be the hero UNTIL they are assigned the role of scapegoat. Trust me on this one.
How do we manage against the pressure of the invisible and greedy system itself? With great difficulty – especially in light of our cultural times. Most folks in the twentieth century did not have access to the spirituality of imperfection. During that point in history, most people were given a different theology – one of ascension. Try hard to be more like Jesus – perfect. Do better. No – do your BEST! Achieve, perform, and make God proud! Success is a sign that God loves you was the message of these times.
But in 1934 that began to change. More on that tomorrow.