The Lost Child Family Role and How to Find Recovery

So far, of the six family roles, we have looked at the Hero and the scapegoat and today we will look deeper in to the Lost Child Role.

As the title suggest, the person taking on the role of being the person that no one has to worry about. They retreat at the back of the family chaos.

This child will mostly stay away from the family but is also dealing with difficult emotions which they manage by escaping the source.

Though they are very equipped in escaping physically, there is no way to emotionally escape the anger and deep hurt that surround them.

The Lost Child Family Roles

This Lost child picks a safe role where they don’t have to burden the family anymore than it is. They will stay in the background barely unnoticeable.

Because of this demeanor, they rely fully on themselves and their limited resources to survive. They learn to mask their pain so that thy don’t disrupt the family further.

The person in this role will do their best to be very good and stay quiet receiving or demanding little or no family attention. This helps them in masking the pain and loneliness.

What other people see from the Lost child is mainly a very quiet, neglected or ignored family member.

They are normally invisible and have some learning disabilities.

They to have a natural love and connection with animals, they are artistic and loves luxury “stuff”.

They tend to appear self-independent, quiet, sometimes stone faced, withdrawn and have may fall into eating disorders.

How to help a Lost Child role family member or friend

You may have heard the expression lost child syndrome. We use it casually but it’s a real issue to those that unconsciously play this role in the family system.

Lost children have no ability to share or show their emotions which leads to very shallow relationships that leaves them unfulfilled.

They carry a lot of shame due to this demeanor which makes them hold everything to themselves.

This shame can be overwhelming. If unchecked, this may easily lead them to depression, withdrawal from other people and are prone to tendencies towards suicide.

What people don’t see is the deeply rooted feelings that this role is incapable of expressing and the loneliness that comes with it.

They feel like they have no value for the family, making them feel powerless and fear being exposed.

How to Help a Lost Child Role Loved One or Friend

To be able to help someone in this role or yourself as a lost child, you will need to invite or accept invitation to take risk of being exposed.

Encourage them and engage them in active participation in activities.

Provide positive attention to them that they already lack and need desperately and also constant reassurance.

The Lost Child role has provided great wisdom as a result of quiet and having focused listening. With healing, they are talented and very creative people. Like all the other roles, there is normally a primary and a secondary role.

If you find or know that you are a Lost child, understand the other roles and identify your primary role and your secondary role to be able to help yourself.

Do not assume that everything will be okay once the addicted member gets well. The addiction is not only on the addict, it falls on the whole family, hence the term family disease. You too will need to get helping recovery from the family system coping roles that you may not even be aware of.

Recovery is never easy for the family. It requires going through some discomfort and pain.

The resolve to get out of the comfort level to a new level will help you stay the course no matter what is going on around you.

Irrespective of whether your addicted loved one ever finds their own recovery you must learn to grow and be healthy. The addiction has affected you more than you may consciously know. Your health is also important.

Are you the one carrying the lost child role in the family?  Do you know someone who is?

Or do you have a better understanding of the loneliness and the inability to express feelings that the Lost Child carries?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Such wonderful information in here.  I have never read anything around this topic before, so great job on being fresh and creative. 
    Reading this post, I think that we all knew or know someone that would fit into this lost child role.  The quiet and almost disconnected child that doesn’t engage at all.  Many times like you said, they just fall through the cracks of a family, especially if they have siblings.  I often think back to my own childhood with 2 syblings, and how difficult it is for parents to be attentive enough to spot one of their children needing more than the other emotionally.
    This makes sense that these kids then become depressed and live very lonely lives.
    Thank you so much, I really enjoyed it.

  2.  I strongly believe that children played an important role within the family but,  the oldest children in the family has to take on the parental role of caring for their younger also though while still  think about who is responsible for what within  family and how the current arrangement is working, what i  actually argue is  that our  grandparents have to  acquire an important place within the family by assuming a  “central child-rearing role”  while parents work. Thank you  for such a  important and interesting argument.

    • Thanks Mike. This is true, where possible grand parents should really step up to shield the families in recovery. 

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