Dec 19 2007

When big shoulders break…

Published by at 10:05 am under Counseling & Psychotherapy

Are you feeling happy yet? Holidays are a time of heavy demands. Some of us carry these burdens…

on our shoulders and feel weighted down. What is this about?

Maybe we spend too much time trying to please others and being worried about whether they like us or not.

Worse, we may fear they will leave or abandon us if we don’t give them exactly what they want.

Claudia Black wrote a great book about 20 years ago, It will never happen to me: Growing up with addiction as a youngster, adolescent and adult.

This was a book written for people like me who grew up in an alcoholic family. So, this makes me someone who can speak from experience. I walked the walk…it wasn’t easy.

Claudia Black identified several roles children learn to play in vulnerable or dysfunctional families, including the responsible or family hero, caretaker, “lost” child, and scapegoat.

Each of these roles carries huge burdens. Children learn to play these roles in their family and then carry them out into the world.

They learn these roles in a dysfunctional family and the roles they play are equally dysfunctional in the world.

The caretaker role is usually the one who learns to be empathic and understanding. They avoid conflict and do everything they can to have a happy family. They forgive even before the alcoholic or drug addict has even asked for forgiveness.

Eventually, those big shoulders that carry these emotional burdens break. This is the opportunity for change.

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