? Pieces of April ? Pieces of April
? “Mother Mother” Tracy Bonham ? “Mother Mother” Tracy Bonham
? “The Rifle” Victor Martinez ? “The Rifle” Victor Martinez
? “Teenage Wasteland” Anne Tyler ? “Teenage Wasteland” Anne Tyler
? “When You Grow Up in a Dysfunctional Family” George A. Boyd ? “When You Grow Up in a Dysfunctional Family” George A. Boyd
Bubble Maps on roles in a “dysfunctional” family Bubble Maps on roles in a “dysfunctional” family
ESSAY #1 (200 words) The roles in the bubble map are not just for dysfunctional ESSAY #1 (200 words) The roles in the bubble map are not just for dysfunctional families but for all families (ALL families are dysfunctional to a degree. No families are families but for all families (ALL families are dysfunctional to a degree. No families are perfect.) Which role do you and your brothers and sisters play within your family? perfect.) Which role do you and your brothers and sisters play within your family?
ESSAY #2 (200 words) In the story “The Rifle” what roles does each character play? ESSAY #2 (200 words) In the story “The Rifle” what roles does each character play? How might they behave differently to solve the conflicts they face? How might they behave differently to solve the conflicts they face?
ESSAY #3 (200 words) In the story “Teenage Wasteland” Donnie makes some wrong ESSAY #3 (200 words) In the story “Teenage Wasteland” Donnie makes some wrong choices. Who do you think is to blame for the way Donnie ends up? Donnie? His parents? choices. Who do you think is to blame for the way Donnie ends up? Donnie? His parents? His tutor? Defend your answer with examples from the story. His tutor? Defend your answer with examples from the story.
ESSAY #4 (200 words) If you ran away from home today, where would you go? How ESSAY #4 (200 words) If you ran away from home today, where would you go? How would you survive? What choices would you make to ensure that you had a successful would you survive? What choices would you make to ensure that you had a successful life? What people and resources would you need to help you? life? What people and resources would you need to help you?
ESSAY #5 (200 words) Compare and contrast how the character of April is at the ESSAY #5 (200 words) Compare and contrast how the character of April is at the beginning of the film with how she is at the end. beginning of the film with how she is at the end.
“Mother Mother” Tracy Bonham “Mother Mother” Tracy Bonham
How's the family?
I'm just calling to say hello How's the weather?
How's my father?
Am I lonely?
Are you listening?
Just a phone call to ease your mind Life is perfect
Distance making the heart grow fond
When you sent me off to see the world Were you scared that I might get hurt? Would I try a little tobacco? Would I keep on hiking up my skirt?
I'm losing my mind
I'm bleeding to death
Yeah, I'm working
I'm just starting to build a name I can feel it
Round the corner
I can make it any day
Can you hear me?
Sure, I'm sober
Sure, I'm sane
Life is perfect
Still your daughter
Still the same
If I tell you what you want to hear Will it help you to sleep well at night? Are you sure that I'm your perfect dear? Now just cuddle up and sleep tight
I'm losing my mind
I'm bleeding to death
I miss you
I love you...
When You Grow Up in a Dysfunctional Family When You Grow Up in a Dysfunctional Family
by George A. Boyd ? 1992
When you grow up in a dysfunctional family, you experience trauma and pain from your parents' actions, words, and attitudes. Because of this trauma you experienced, you grew up changed, different from other children, missing important parts of necessary parenting that prepare you for adulthood, missing parts of your childhood when you were forced into unnatural roles within your family. For some of you, it has led you to attempt to flee the pain of your past by alcohol or drug use. Others of you feel inexplicably compelled to repeat the abuses that were done to you on your own children or with your own spouse. Others of you have felt inner anxiety or rage, and don't know why you feel as you do.
You were innocent, and your life was changed dramatically by forces in your family you had no control over, and now you are an adult survivor of that trauma. This article will discuss what these families are like, what is the impact of growing up in these families, and what you can do to begin the process of healing.
A dysfunctional family is one in which the relationships between the parents and children are strained and unnatural. This is usually because one of the family members has a serious problem that impacts every other member of the family, and each member of the family feels constrained to adapt atypical roles within the family to allow the family as a whole to survive.
The spouse in this family may enable the problem spouse to maintain employment by lying for him or her, for example. He or she may become obsessive about the problem spouse's abnormal behavior, such that he or she loses perspective in his or her own life, a pattern that is called codependency. Sharon Wegscheider referred to this family role in alcoholic families as that of the
The children also assume roles within the family to make up for the deficiencies of parenting. Sharon Wegscheider referred to these roles within the alcoholic
2 family as the Hero, the Scapegoat, the Lost Child, and the Mascot.
protects and takes care of the problem spouse, whom Sharon
3Wegscheider refers to as the , so that the Dependent is never
allowed to experience the negative consequences of his or her actions. While the Enabler feels angry and resentful about the extra burden that is placed upon him or her by the Dependent's unhealthy, irresponsible and antisocial behavior, he or she may feel powerless to do anything about it. The Enabler feels he or she must act this way, because otherwise, the family might not survive. While the family is afforded survival by the Enabler's responsibility, the Enabler may pay the cost of stress-related illness, and never have his or her own needs met, in effect, being a martyr for the family. The paradoxical thing about the Enabler's behavior is that by preventing the Dependent's crisis, he or she also prevents the painful, corrective experience that crisis brings, which may be the only thing that makes the Dependent stop the downward spiral of addiction.
, who is usually the oldest child, is characteristically over-responsible
and an over-achiever. The Hero allows the family to be reassured it is doing well, as it can always look to the achievements of the oldest son or daughter as a source of pride and esteem. While the Hero may excel in school, be a leader on the football team or a cheerleader, or obtain well-paying employment, inwardly he or she is suffering from painful feelings of inadequacy and guilt, as nothing he or she does is good enough to heal his family's pain. The Hero's compulsive drive to succeed may in turn lead to stress-related illness, and compulsive over-working. The Hero's qualities of appeasement, helpfulness and nurturing of his or her parents may cause others outside the family to remark upon the child's good character, and obtains him or her much positive attention. But inwardly, the Hero feels isolated, unable to express his or her true feelings or to experience intimate relationship, and is often out of touch with his or her own sources of spirituality.
, who is often the second born, characteristically acts out in anger
and defiance, often behaving in delinquent ways, but inwardly he or she feels hurt in that the family's attention has gone to the Dependent or the Hero, and he or she has been ignored. The Scapegoat's poor performance in school, experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sexuality, flaunting of the conventions of society, or involvement in adolescent gangs or criminal activity may lead him or her to be labeled the family's problem, drawing attention away from the Dependent's addiction. This behavior can also be seen as a cry for help, and it is often the delinquency of the Scapegoat that leads the entire family into treatment. The acting out behavior of the Scapegoat may bring with it substance abuse or addiction to alcohol or drugs, early pregnancy for which he or she is not prepared, or incarceration. The hostile and irresponsible attitude of the Scapegoat may lead him or her into accidents, or acts of violence against others or self. The attitude of defiance may lead him or her to do poorly in school, effecting future employment and the opportunity to earn an adequate income. The Scapegoat's cleverness and manipulation may be used to engage in leadership of peer groups, or in the invention of schemes of dubious legality, or outright criminality, to earn a livelihood. Though the Scapegoat may develop social skills within his or her circle of peers, the relationships he or she experiences tend to be shallow and inauthentic. The Scapegoat, cast in the role of a rebel, may have lost touch with his spiritual potentials and morality, as well.
role is characterized by shyness, solitariness, and isolation.
Inwardly, he or she feels like an outsider in the family, ignored by parents and siblings, and feels lonely. The Lost Child seeks the privacy of his or her own company to be away from the family chaos, and may have a rich fantasy life, into which he or she withdraws. The Lost Child often has poor communication skills, difficulties with intimacy and in forming relationships, and may have confusion or conflicts about his or her sexual identity and functioning. These children may be seen to seek attention by getting sick, asthma, allergies, or by bed-wetting. Lost Children may attempt to self-nurture by overeating, leading to problems with
obesity, or to drown their sorrows in alcohol or drug use. The solitude of a Lost Child may be conducive to the development of his or her spirituality and creative mental pursuits, if the low self-esteem and low does not shut down all efforts at achievement. The Lost Child often has few friendships, and commonly has difficulty finding a marriage partner. Instead, he or she may attempt to find comfort in his or her material possessions, or a pet. This pattern of escape may also lead him or her to avoid seeking professional help, and so may remain stuck in his or her social isolation.
role is manifested by clowning and hyperactivity. The Mascot, often
the youngest child, seeks to be the center of attention in the family, often entertaining the family and making everyone feel better through his or her comedy and zaniness. The Mascot, in turn, may be overprotected and shielded from the problems of life. Inwardly, the Mascot experiences intense anxiety and fear, and may persist in immature patterns of behavior well into adulthood. Instead of dealing with problems, the Mascot may run away from them by changing the subject or clowning. The Mascot uses fun to evoke laughter in his or her circle of friends, but is often not taken seriously or is subjected to rejection and criticism. The Mascot commonly has difficulty concentrating and focusing in a sustained way on learning, and may develop learning deficits as a result. The Mascot also may fear turning within or looking honestly at his or her feelings or behavior, so he or she may be out of touch with his or her inner feelings, and his or her spirituality. The frenetic social activity that the Mascot expresses is in fact often a defense against his or her intense inner anxiety and tension. The inability to cope with the inner fear and tension leads many Mascots to believe they are going crazy. If this inner anxiety and desperation not addressed, it is not uncommon that a Mascot may slip deeper into mental illness, become chemically dependent, or even commit suicide.
A special case is the only child. An only child in an alcoholic family may take on parts of all of these roles, playing them simultaneously or alternately, experiencing overwhelming pain and confusion as a result.
Sharon Wegscheider notes that the longer a person plays a role, the more rigidly
fixed he or she becomes in it. Eventually, family members "become addicted to
their roles, seeing them as essential to their survival and playing them with the
same compulsion, delusion and denial as the Dependent plays his [or her] role
Dr. Janet Kizziar characterizes four types of "troubled family systems", which are
5"breeding grounds for codependency:"
(1) The Alcoholic or Chemically Dependent Family System
(2) The Emotionally or Psychologically Disturbed Family System
(3) The Physically or Sexually Abusing Family System
(4) The Religious Fundamentalist or Rigidly Dogmatic Family
Codependency expresses in these dysfunctional families through the typical
strategies of minimizing, projection, intellectualizing and denial. Minimizing
acknowledges there may be a problem, but makes light of it. Projection blames
the problem on others, and may appoint a scapegoat to bear the family's shame.
Intellectualizing tries to explain the problem away, believing that by offering a
convenient excuse or explanation, the problem will be resolved. Denial demands
that other people and self believe there is no problem.
The patterns of codependency can emerge from any family system where the
overt and covert rules close its members off from the outside world. These family
systems discourage healthy communication of issues and feelings between
themselves, destroy the family members' ability to trust themselves and to trust
another in an intimate relationship, and freeze family members into unnatural
roles, making constructive change difficult. Rules that encourage the unnatural
patterns of relating in these codependent family systems include:
• Don't talk about problems
• Don't express feelings openly or honestly
• Communicate indirectly, through acting out or sulking, or via
another family member
• Have unrealistic expectations about what the Dependent will do
• Don't be selfish, think of the other person first • Don't take your parents as an example, "do as I say, not as I do"
• Don't have fun
• Don't rock the boat, keep the status quo
• Don't talk about sex
• Don't challenge your parent's religious beliefs or these family rules