Updated: Apr 27
Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic I now understand my chameleon-type tendencies growing up. I so desperately wanted and needed the attention of my parents. My dad was an alcoholic and wanted everyone to live structured and in line. He needed to have control of those around him even though he was not in control of himself. At times he could be extremely critical, brave, and proud. A solid choleric in control. My mother, the codependent, seeking to control the addiction to save her family, had eventually lost herself. Because of this family dynamic and being the firstborn of the family I morphed into many different personalities to try to be seen.
My first role was the responsible hero. I strived so hard to get good grades and they came pretty naturally through grade school. I wanted to be the best helper I could be at all times. I remember always being commented by other adults that I was “so mature” for my age. I never wanted help, I believed I could do everything myself and I made it a point to prove it. This was the only time I did not wear a mask. I was in proper melancholy form and my greatest need was encouragement and approval.
When that didn’t work to get my parents’ attention I changed masks to mascot. This role was used throughout middle school. I sought attention from all during this time. Told elaborate stories to get friends, and made people laugh by doing silly antics I never felt comfortable doing. I was finally gaining attention. I wore the mask of the sanguine.
I then moved on to being a scapegoat. While my first two masks were able to gain attention I still feel like it wasn’t enough. Moving into high school I stuffed my feelings by beginning to do drugs. I started to put up a front like I didn’t care, grades were slipping, I hung with the wrong crowd and blamed my family secret for it all. I was desperately still seeking attention and wanted recognition for the times I did well in school. I wore the mask of the sanguine/choleric.
Lastly, I became the lost child, except I wasn’t a child anymore, I was an adult with children of my own. I was so deep in my addiction that I wanted nothing to do with anyone. I had no more friends, no aspirations and hid during stressful situations. I was emotionally and spiritually numb. I needed to be inspired back to living my life. I wore the mask of the phlegmatic. My greatest need was to be inspired and I fulfilled that need by becoming sober.
I wore all these masks to protect myself when all I had to do was nurture my true God-given temperament in inclusion, Melancholy Phlegmatic. I just needed inspiration and encouragement from those around me. In the end, my spirit was exhausted from being someone I wasn’t just to fit in, and trying to find my place in this world. I sat in the phlegmatic weaknesses and stayed there for a while.
To anyone who is feeling broken, lost and wandering, I pray that you find your way back to Christ. Your spirit will feel a strong nudge when it has exhausted the wearing of the masks. Seek the word, seek truth and listen. Holy Spirit will guide you back home.