We are continually writing new posts in hopes of helping families and loved ones better understand addiction and its effect on their lives.
One of the simplest and most fundamental elements to understand is that the active addict is not the only one participating in the addiction. Friends, family members and loved ones all may be playing their own role without even knowing it.
Over the past few months we have discussed “The Enabler”, “The Scapegoat”, and “The Hero” among others.
Today I want to talk about a common catalyst of addiction in the family; “The Lost Child”.
The Lost Child will just go with the flow, don’t stand out, don’t make any trouble. With the antics and achievement of the other family members, the low-maintenance kid is what the addiction family needs. Unfortunately, the Lost child often stays lost long into adulthood and has a lot of trouble getting direction in their life, interacting socially, or standing up for themselves.
The lost child may spend time alone to escape the problem. They can experience social difficulties such as imaginary friends, make believe play and may be very shy.
The role the lost child sees for themselves is to not add any demands on the family system, be as low maintenance as possible. Some common characteristics of the lost child are:
- not much family connection
- feels lonely
- poor communication and relationship skills
- feels unimportant
- disappears from family activities
- reinforced for causing no problems
- seldom considered in family decisions
- quietly lives on the edge of the family
- build solitary short term worlds including watching TV, reading, listening to music, and eating
- spend extraordinary amounts of time alone
- secondary personality issues often arise in adulthood such as sexuality problems, weight problems, excessive materialism
If you think that you may be experiencing any of these characteristics, or if your addiction is causing this behavior in your loved ones, feel free to call us today for a free addiction consultation.