The Bottle Family: A Portrait of a Dysfunctional Family with Substance Abuse – Part 2

The Bottle Family Part 2

Please check out Part 1 in this series if you haven’t done so. In the second part of this series we are going to look at the children and the roles they play in a dysfunctional family. When neither parent functions properly, the children lack the care and attention that they need, growing up with emotional wounds. Each child will react to this lack of attention in their own way.

Daryl (hero)

He is the overachiever, the hero of the family. People wonder how he is related to the rest of his family. He overcompensates for the slack in his family. Daryl appears to be confident and capable, but these hurts can keep him from intimate relationship. He would typically feel driven to help and care for others as he grows up, but this can potentially result in resisting the help that he desperately needs.

Bubba (scapegoat)

Bubba is the opposite of Daryl. He doesn’t even try to live up to Daryl’s accomplishments. His attitude is that rules are made to be broken. He is considered the scapegoat, drawing attention away from Willie. To Bubba, negative attention is better than no attention. As a teenager, he is likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Since he can’t get approval from his parents, he gets it from his peers. Bubba will probably grow up making poor decisions. Although physically an adult, he remains a child emotionally and mentally.

Sissy (lost child)

Sissy is the lost child. Growing up she usually played alone, being shy and withdrawn never causing problems. She dislikes confrontation and fights. As a teenage she is likely to look to the opposite sex for the love that she is in need of. Sissy marries young and has babies in an effort to feel needed. She finds a false sense of security in being weak and needy.

Jerry (mascot)

Jerry is the class clown mascot. He hides his pain and frustration by making jokes. He uses the humor to manipulate people and avoid conflict. He will make fun of others since he sees no other outlet to defuse his anger and hurt. As an adult, Jerry will lack problem-solving skills and his commitments in life will probably be no more than lip service.

We see that Willie is not the only one sick in the family. He may be the only one with a chemical dependency problem, but the entire family is seriously affected by it. Every member has attempted to find love, acceptance and significance through unhealthy means. Each family member needs to learn new, healthy and nurturing ways of relating to one another.

We hope this two-part series has helped you understand and maybe even identify with the different roles of individuals in the home of a addict. This is NOT a healthy family and the addict is NOT the only one who should seek help. Please share if you know of someone else who may benefit from this.

Let us know in the comments below if you can identify with any of the roles mentioned.

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