The Roles People Play
- compiled by Philip St. Romain; all rights reserved.
Role: a part played by an actor in a play.
-- a cluster of behaviors designed to meet a certain need, or to perform a certain function.
ex. parental, spousal, son/daughter, minister, secretary; roles enable us to direct our giftedness toward a certain end.
A. How a role Is defined/determined.
1. By the goal/end/function toward which behavior Is focused.
a. Raising children is function of parenting role.
b. Helping people turn to God is function of ministry role.
c. Job description defines employee roles.
2. By the rules for exercising behavior within the context of attaining this end/goal/function.
a. How do I parent my children? What do I model/teach?
b. How do I minister? What do I model/teach?
c. What are policies and procedures for doing my work?
B. Types of roles.
1. Healthy, functional.
a. Goal/end/function is reasonable and legitimate.
b. Rules for exercising behavior are reasonable, nurturing, and energizing. Due process
exists. Justice. Equity.
c. People can move in an out of roles.
2. Unhealthy, dysfunctional (has at least one of the characteristics listed below):
a. Goal/end/function is unreasonable.
b. Rules for exercising behavior are unreasonable, disempowering, energy-draining.
No due process. Injustice.
c. People get locked into roles. Primary identity defined in terms of roles. Identity
becomes fixed/rigid. Identity- contusion outside of roles.
C. Dysfunctional Roles and the False Self Ego
1. Goal/end is to gain approval and/or minimize disapproval.
2. Rules for exercising behavior are those of Critical Parent, carrying a shaming judgment
if rules are violated.
3. Identity conferred by role is rigid, fixed. Giftedness is not known or experienced outside
4. Survival Roles are mega-roles, over-arching and encompassing other roles.
Smaller, specific roles assume context of Survival Roles.
5. Examples (most people have one primary, one secondary).
Hero/achiever. Caretaker. Clown. Messiah, Lost Child, Troublemaker, Special One,
Knowledgeable One, Organizer, Controler, Peacemaker, Conventional One
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