Friday, November 23, 2012

Roles That Enmeshed and Abandoned Children Play within Families

From the writings of Pia Mellody on Facing Love Addiction and Love Avoidance (The dynamics of non-sexual covert/emotional incest)
Note: A child can fill both positive and negative roles.
“Positive Roles”
Roles Assigned to Child With Enmeshing Abuse

"Positive Roles":

  • Hero or heroine (good child)
  • Counselor
  • Surrogate partners
  • Surrogate parent
  • Mediator
  • Mascot (comedian role)
  • Daddy's Little Girl (a ROLE, not a name said in passing)
  • Daddy's Little Man
  • Mommy's Little Girl
  • Mommy's Little Man


In Enmeshment,
In a relationship, this person will be “very good at being good.” Because he/she is so adaptable as a child, when they become an adult, they will seek intensity in order to feel alive and do it in a “positive” but COVERT manner.

They derive both shame and a false sense of empowerment from these roles which imparts a sense of value. They objectify those whom they care for by devaluing their partner while also elevating self.

Negative Roles”
  • Scapegoat (problem child)
  • Rebel

In a relationship, this person will be “very good at being bad.” This adult will seek intensity in order to feel alive in a “negative” OVERT manner.



Roles Assigned To Child With Abandoning/Neglecting Abuse

Negative Role”
Lost Child:
In a relationship, this person will act in a dependent, needy manner and try to create intensity inside the relationship itself as he/she perceives that it is the relationship that keeps him/her alive.


Irrelevant Child:
Deeper level of the lost child.


Xenophobia for BOTH SUBTYPES:
  • Fear in general.
  • Fear of strangers.
  • It is a biological imperative and sometimes is necessary for survival, and we then tend to be relational with what is familiar.
  • For the person who has been neglected or abandoned, he/she will try to be relational with people who create distance in relationships through the use of walls. (They will naturally be attracted, ironically, to those who are emotionally unavailable to them.)
  • For the person who has been enmeshed, he/she will feel compelled to be relational with people who are needy and who believe that they are worthless.

From Pia Mellody's writings and lectures,
and professional training with "The Meadows" treatment facility.

And from
by Mellody, Miller and Miller
HarperOne, 1992.