Restorations Therapy Blog

A Deeper Look at The Hero Role Within the Dysfunctional Family

by on Friday, February 28th, 2020

Substance use disorder (SUD) does not only affect the individual with the disease, as it impacts the entire family. This relationship is evident when looking at the roles that family members take on to try and balance the family dynamic. Since addiction to drugs or alcohol is an inability to stop drinking or using drugs, changes in behavior, and deterioration of personal relationships and emotional response, the family unit suffers immensely. Family connectedness, physical health, mental health, and finances are all disturbed by the SUD within the family. Often, family members do not even realize they are developing dysfunctional behavioral patterns to cope with the family member’s SUD. Children and adults are susceptible to this development.

The Hero

The hero often puts on the façade that everything is fine and well. Most of the time, this role belongs to the oldest child in the family. When looking at the hero, most people would be hard-pressed to notice what they are dealing with within their family and home life. They accomplish this by accomplishing good deeds and successes outside of the home. The hero is typically a perfectionist, self-sufficient, and overly responsible. They most often join sports teams, extracurricular clubs, and excel in their educational studies. They also may have successful work lives, start working at a young age and obtain good jobs following graduation.

The problem with this role is the avoidance of the issues. The hero is mainly lying to themselves and everyone else about what is going on. Therefore, the hero may avoid letting anyone too close. They may not invite friends over to their house for fear of exposing the truth of their lives. Thus, their interpersonal relationships suffer. Also, friends may begin to realize these avoidance behaviors and start asking questions about them. 

Are You Trapped in a Dysfunctional Family Role and Looking for Help?

The hero is primarily wearing a mask to the outside world that paints a more positive picture of their home lives and family. Since they work so hard outside of the home to maintain the image that their family is “perfect,” and portraying the “golden child” image, they may do everything they can to repair the dysfunction that goes on inside the home. Therefore, this individual may struggle to live up to the status they established outside the house, and may even take on parental roles to younger siblings. Engaging in this role may lead to psychological issues later in life, since these behaviors may lead one to hide traits within themselves. 

Located in Centennial, Colorado, Restoration Therapy works with patients who are struggling with addiction, intimacy disorders, and trauma who are seeking treatment. Restoration Therapy offers individualized and group therapy, workshops, psycho-educational classes, and more to. For more information, please call us at (720) 446-658

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