In most alcoholic and drug addicted families, each family member takes a role. All roles are meant to distract from the true pain in the family, but they all look somewhat different. The Lost Child becomes the least obvious member of the family, but their troubles are no less significant.
Lost Child Fears Causing Problems In Alcoholic Family
The Lost Child in an alcoholic family blends into the woodwork for fear of causing problems. They have already seen what happens to the scapegoat and want no part of that. They are often identified as a “model child” because they cause no stir. Despite this so-called compliment, their situation is far from positive. It only adds to the illusion that their alcoholic family is doing just fine. They just want it all to go away.
Isolation Is Survival Skill in Alcoholic Family
Hiding and fantasizing goes from a childhood survival tactic to a general way of approaching life as an adult. Their ability to adapt as a child helps them make it through a difficult childhood. But this can lead to indecision and difficulty forging their own way in life. Instead of being the flexible one like they were in childhood, this isolation becomes restricting.
By taking themselves out of their family situation every day, family members often don’t regard their feelings or opinions as very important. Their isolation brings on social difficulties as they grow older. They may be a low maintenance kind of person, but they also offer very little to a relationship.
They tend to see more than they speak out about – they are present yet make themselves insignificant. Unless someone captures the lost child at a younger age to teach them healthy social relating skills, they are likely to remain lost for a long time.
Because of their social isolation, people identified as a “lost child” are at a high risk for suicide. They may have escaped the day to day emotional pain of their family life. But they also missed out on crucial social learning and connection.
Alcohol Rehab For Parent Can Help Potential Lost Child
If an alcoholic parent goes to alcohol rehab when their children are young, a potential Lost Child can be reincorporated into the family. It can take some work, but alcohol treatment can teach the entire family how to reconnect. The Lost Child needs to understand that they are important and that they won’t cause irreparable pain by speaking up.
Without alcohol treatment, a parent may have no idea what kind of loneliness their Lost Child is experiencing.
If you were a Lost Child of an alcoholic or drug addict, what are your experiences with this? Did you parent go to alcohol treatment during your childhood and get you involved with the family again?
By Wendy Lee Nentwig, Contributing Writer