Hero child, hands folded.
Lost child staring into space.
Scapegoat telling it like it is.
Mascot spewing comic relief.
These are the classic roles in dysfunctional families I learned about in workshops when I started working with families of addiction. In one workshop – one of the first – we were each given a big sheet of paper and told to draw a picture of our family of origin at the dinner table. Not much more instruction than that. Just go for it. Then we were asked (though I’m sure it wasn’t required) to share our drawing in front of the group of about 20 other counselor at the workshop.
I can get flashes of the drawing and remember wearing a striped dress with a belt. I remember hesitating when it came to my mother. I’m sure my dad had USMC somewhere on his visage. I said I didn’t want to be like my mother. I was afraid of being like my mother. Afraid of having nervous breakdowns. I wanted to be strong like my father. Though now I know my mother had a different kind of strength that saved my father. I was the hero child and the lost child combo. My sister was the scapegoat after she was the mascot/clown. Then after she died, I became the scapegoat.
But after all the families I’ve encountered, we weren’t that dysfunctional. We are all learning how to cope with what got to us. And we can all move to different places at the table, or move to a different table of our own choice or creation. We can step out of our assumed roles. The hero can roll in the aisle laughing a belly laugh and dance around the living room. The lost child can become grounded and focused if she chooses to. The clown can learn to cry and be okay. The scapegoat can save the day or save himself.
Or they can embrace their favorite parts of their best roles. The hero can lift herself and others may follow. The lost child creates stellar colors of music. The clown amuses those who need laughter most. The scapegoat cuts through the crap.
Each role, each component, is inside each of us. The child remains within and comes out to play in the warm sunshine. Nurture him. Hold her. Sing to him. Guide her with love. We are survivors. Strong yet fragile. Imperfectly wise. Hungry for healing, each at our own pace. Even if that pace is standing still and breathing air. Sometimes recovery is all about resting on the earth and watching the clouds. Other times, it’s dancing and leaping in faith into an ocean of love or mystery.
Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was roll/role.
To learn more, visit Linda G. Hill at:
Here are the rules:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!