Understanding The Chemically Dependent Family with Dr Paula Nelson

In today’s show, Dr. Paula Nelson helps to unravel the dynamics of chemical dependence within the family unit.  Because the “addicted person” will normally stop at nothing to supply their need, the family is negatively impacted.

Within the family, there is often an enabler who has the role of “smoothing things over” in order to protect everyone.  These individuals convince themselves that the drugs or alcohol isn’t the problem and they make excuses for the behavior. There are also other roles family members can take to deflect the chemically dependent person’s behavior.

The “hero” in the family is usually the overachieving perfectionist.  He/she tries to bring the family together and it often is the eldest in the family who takes on this role.  Because they feel they need to do everything correctly, there is an extreme amount of pressure on the “hero” and they can experience stress-related illnesses later in life.

Another role within the family is the “scapegoat” and this is the person who gets blamed for the problems in the family.  In this way the addicted family member is shielded from much of the blame.  If the family is largest enough, there are “roles” for all the members because everyone is experiencing the addiction in their own way.

I believe Dr. Nelson helps our listeners on today’s show better appreciate how addictions impact families and ways the family can work together to heal.

Listen to this week’s program below.

Listen to past shows by clicking HERE.

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