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Is Your family Unhealthy? 5 Types of Roles in an Unhealthy Family

Types of Roles in an Unhealthy Family


“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” –Brad Henry. A good family is one of the biggest pursuits one can have. It can be that one vent to rely on in difficult times to seek support. A family can be one biggest empathizer but the same family can be unhealthy too, consciously or unconsciously. There are certain things that a family member could have been doing, and that is a sign of unhealthy behaviour/ family. So, let’s look at the types of roles in an unhealthy family.

5 Types of Roles in an Unhealthy Family

1. The Caretakers

A caretaker is that over- caring person who could cross that extra line of protecting and caring for others. Such a person generally makes excuses for the other members of the family and is a people’s pleaser. They are the ones who will always smoothen any conflict that comes (might come) from there end for the family to stay together. They often end up taking any problem that is not for them to carry, or is not theirs, for the family. They are often in denial of the dysfunction in the family or either try to fill that dysfunction by self-sacrificing.

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Roles in an Unhealthy Family

2. The Scapegoat

They are the ones who are always being blamed. They become the reason for every problem in the house. This child is often seen as the black sheep of the family with internalized shame and guilt. All that they do is crave independence and distance from the family as they are constantly criticized for reasons that are valid or invalid. They are even ignored for speaking the truths about the dysfunction in the family.

3. The Hero

This person is the one who tries to be the saviour, the hero of the family. They take on to be the father of everyone and strives for perfection. They are the ones who constantly try to show the family as not dysfunctional, and even constantly try to make the family look good. But deep inside, they are burdened by guilt and shame and try to normalize things by chaos and false hope.

4. The Lost Child

As the term suggests, this child is a lost child, an invisible member of the family. They are the ones who refrain from having a conversation with family members and choose to spend time alone. They are the ones who deny their own needs and bury their feelings and emotions. They are the most difficult at decision making.  Their first and foremost effort goes into trying that they don’t end up hurting anyone.

5. The Mascot

The ones who crave approvals and use humour as a way to avoid the signs of dysfunctions in the family. They pretend that they are in their own bubble and nothing really bothers them but the truth is that they live in the bubble because things both them much. they are burdened with guilt, shame and fears. Most often feel lonely and continue to avoid the pain.

So, these were the major roles in an unhealthy family. And let’s just accept that every family is a little troubled, every family has issues but the very problem is the inability to identify these issues. The family often doesn’t understand the harms of ‘the caretakers’ or how unusually wrong is been happening to ‘the lost child’ or ‘the mascot’. Hence, it is important to about the dysfunctions in the family and ensures that everyone gets the space to come out of the unhealthy zone in the family.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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