Bullying and Competition

Perhaps it has been the recent attention of the Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after being viewed by his roommate, Dharun Ravi, who is now facing a 10 year jail sentence charges of committing a hate crime from his public exposure of Tyler as  a gay male. Perhaps it might also be my connection to Rutgers as my Alma Mater, but I begin to consider the impact that bullying has on our society, and of course on our relationships. Bullying is not a new phenomenon, though I pose that it has progressively gotten worse over the generations. This is not due to some people’s conviction that the younger generation is somehow worse than prior generations. I happen to believe that each generation’s, “younger generation” is almost always viewed as a group which loses the values which the prior generation experiences and values. However, what has developed with alarmingly rapid progress within the last 25 years has been the use of technology in the use of social feedback and social media as a mechanism for bullying.

Certainly among preteens and teenagers, the use of social media is considered common. Regardless of socio-economic status, the use of websites like twitter and facebook by teens is prevalent, and the ease in expressing negative feedback to peers is more than any generation has had to face. I remember growing up in a time period where rumors may fly and that social feedback was perceived as being the most important aspect of a middle and high school experience. However, at some level, I knew that this communication was limited only to my immediate peers, and whoever was in earshot. Now, with the invention of some of these websites, rumors can be texted, updated, and you-tubed across the globe in a matter of moments. There no longer exists time for reflection or even reaction to a particular event, before it is publicized to the entire population at large.

The lack of an ability to react is a dangerous thing. Reaction is a really important part of healthy relationships. Stopping, thinking, and reflecting on a proper course of action is something which can be used as a healthy coping skill for many if not most of us. An example of the dangers of this lack of time to reflect can be seen in sports. When a player is frustrated at his situation, lack of playing time, relationships with other teammates, coaches, ownership or fans all can lead to a tweet which is then publicized with immediate fervency. I wonder if the player has even made it home from whichever stadium they played in before their tweet has made it to news sources. These same type of feedback loops exist with kids, and it is incumbent on adults and parents to react in healthy ways.

When a child appears to be bullied, either through traditional methods or via technology, most are seeking support and concern. Public ridicule is something which can weaken the feelings of anyone over time, and to see examples of the serious effects of bullying can be viewed no longer than the Columbine shootings of the 1990’s. However, the opportunity for parents to be a role in their parent’s lives as leaders, and not as friends is critical in this area. If a child feels comfortable talking to a parent or an adult, the adult can seek the proper channels to address the bullying directly, via the school, guidance department, or even police if necessary. Bullying is in fact a form of harrassment – do not address it as anything less than that. I wonder if the athlete who posts their feelings on twitter rather than address it directly with whom they feel slighted by can address their issues more straightforward, and with less adverse effects. Certainly, as parents, we can teach our children how to be assertive with addressing a bully, and not aggressive. Most bullies stop when they are confronted assertively. Aggressive responses can accelerate bullying, especially to a point of violence. Teaching assertiveness can be one of the best lessons our families, and our teams, might be able to learn…

How ‘failure’ can be the best thing for you…

I am not perfect. As much as I would like to pretend that I am, I am filled with flaws, imperfections, and distance from who I would love to imagine myself to be ideally, to the individual I actually am. I am not unique in this whatsoever, as all of us have differing levels of imperfection. However, it is how we deal with these perceptions of what is termed “cognitive dissonance”, or the difference between the real self and the ideal self.?? I asked friends of mine who are teachers, and how this is perceived among kids as well as adults, and was sent here to a great page describing how the being considered a failure and failing is set early in the educational process of children.

So, the site got me thinking: if we learn early on as individuals the perception of failing, and we internalize that definition, how often do we respond within this role? Is it only in education? If we view ourselves as failures at school, do we then fail at work? As husbands or wives? As parents? How often do these broad definitions define ourselves as failures at life? How these questions are answered play out in all of our relationships, especially with those whom we are closest to. That level of intimacy also can lead to vulnerability, and remind us of memories at failing in the past. If we consider ourselves failures, we can become reactive when these memories get kicked up.

I suggest that the concept of failing is integral to a happy and successful marriage or set of relationships. I use the arena of sports again to form an analogy of how this is true: how many undefeated teams have their been in the course of history? Typically, in all different types of sports, it’s very rare. The concept of being undefeated, without any losses or setbacks, is almost unheard of, and those times when it is managed those individuals can cite within the time period of being undefeated how adversity stared them int he face, and they were able to overcome it. The idea of overcoming adversity, setbacks, obstacles to success, is one of the key ingredients of success in sports and success in life. If we learn to love the failures and setbacks of our goals, and gain character from the journey of life, we can recognize the value of failure in helping us to eventually attain what we seek – happiness.

Holiday Competition

To all of my readers who have wondered where my next post has been, the answer remains that during the hectic time of the year known as the “holiday season”, I have been quite busy. Which of course got me thinking, how do the holidays and time spent with family and friends influence or relationships with one another? There are so many themes that occur in various cultural practices around this time of year, and especially in Judea-Christian households, there can be an emphasis not only on religious practices for Christmas or Chanukah but also in spending time with friends and family, which as we have been discussing is an ideal setup for competitive relationships.

Of course, some holiday competition is rather explicitly shown. A simple youtube search, and competition within a community is lit up for display and reflection. If only our inter-relational disputes were so neatly choreographed and melodic. However, I do believe that we can take some inspiration from this type of display of healthy competitive and cooperative interactions. Most people who have light shows rarely are the only ones in their community who do so. Often, their are rival houses who compete for the top spot every year, and as the notion of light shows as competitive enterprises have expanded and the internet as availed them to us, more houses compete with others around the country, driving them to excel in effort, showmanship, and expense. While these may not be the values best attributed to the holidays, it does exemplify how we can achieve greatness through spurring one another on to better heights.

As the holidays come around every year, I wonder how we can use competitive instincts to capture the meanings behind most religions. While each disagrees as to specifics of the nature of God and how it influences mortal human beings, most agree on basic morality: be kind to oneself and one another. Try to do the more righteous thing at every opportunity, and likely good things will eventually come your way. Perhaps, this missing idea which drives many individuals away from organized religion is a lack of fully embracing competition. Can you be more moral than your neighbor? Can you identify more aspects of your life and your self to work on, and feel that you can make realistic progress on in this year. Can you beat last year’s progress? Quantifiable goals might help all of us to let what holidays have always marked in wide variety of cultures – times to mark the passage of time in our lives, and notice who and what we have around us. A time to reflect and become present with one another, and not let the busy-ness of our lives dominate our human business – that is our humanity. Happy holidays everyone 🙂

Competition and Depression

Depression is something that in many ways, all of us must go through as human beings. Periods of sadness, grief, loneliness and even hopelessness are universal emotions that is a part of being a person. However, some individuals have a stronger sense of depression, to the point where it can be a clinically justified diagnosis and impacts every aspect of life. In my mind, I think a contributor to the development of depressive symptoms occurs in relationships which dictate negative competitive aspects. I say “negative competitive aspects”, only to be specific, as compared to other posts of mine which refer to competition as a potentially healthy way of managing emotions and relationships. With depression, the competitive imbalance occurs when the feelings of being ‘less than’ and hopeless; helpless to change the parts of our lives which contribute to depression.

Perhaps we feel sad when unfortunate life events occur. A family member dies, we lose our job, or our spouse leaves the relationship. These typical events tend to be the largest reported triggers of depression, and each can involve competitive thinking. When a family member dies, it immediately triggers a universal human truth – we are mortal. As far as medical technology has gone, all homo sapiens have a terminal lifespan – we cannot live forever. As this tends to cause great concern and distress for most of us, being reminded of this fact can lead to clinical depression. Industries such as anti-aging cosmetics exist to capitalize on this human fear, and many of us buy wholeheartedly into a notion that if somehow we live long enough, or longer than others, we have won. Rarely is it a competition about the quality of life that we lead, which is contributes to the whole problem. If all of us tried to beat one another as to who can live the richest, most rewarding life for as long as possible, perhaps our universal fear of death will minimize. If we capitalize on every moment as we live it, so when we look to the twilight of our years, we embrace the lives that we have lead, we cease to feel “less than”. We are winners. We are the winners of life.

Unemployment is another major trigger for sadness. Many of us identify our selves through our jobs. As an example, if a stranger asks you to tell them about yourself, many of us lead with our job title. This is particularly true for most of us men. As a result, when the economy takes a downturn and unemployment rises, many of us feel unidentifiable. We cannot seem to determine who or what we want to be without that job title, and our determination of self-worth by financial worth emphasizes how lousy we feel about ourselves. The longer the period of unemployment, the more intense the depression can become.

Sex and Competition

Of all topics, many people relate sex and sexuality with competition the easiest. Perhaps it is due to sexual categories of?? Sado-Masochism, or S&M, as well as traditional roles of domination between men and women in heterosexual contexts. However, I believe that competition in sexuality extends far deeper than during the physical act of intercourse, and has a far great impact on the emotional intimacy present or absent during sexual behavior.

Sex has gotten a reputation and a role within society that acts as a lightning rod for concepts of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’. Men are taught that promiscuity is not only desirable but that having many female sexual partners can be viewed as “conquests”. Popularity can be ensured in adolescence by having more conquests than other boys, and thereby a competitive sequence begins. For women too, there is a competitive nature, only seemingly in reverse. Promiscuity is still frowned upon, and girls who engage in multiple sexual partnerships are viewed as ‘tramps’ or ‘sluts’. These types of terms rarely extend to their male counterparts, and as a result, girls are trapped between dual messages – they should?? be sexually pure and innocent, but, when sexually active, they should be experienced and act with wild abandon. Many of the sexual issues with both genders that take place during relationships take place during this time period of courting and sexual discovery, and continues to be a problem for all of us as we take these messages into our relationships.

The courting process may be the only one that is rich in research on how competition functions in mate selection. From scholarly journal articles to books published in self-help aisles in bookstores across the country, it is relatively accessible to find out ways of beating the competition to attract the mate of your choice and “succeed in the dating game”. Unfortunately for those of us who wish to carry relationships beyond the point where courtship leads to dating and beyond a status of “friends with benefits”, there exists almost no information on how these types of competitive behaviors extend into long-term relationships. In my belief, the sex that occurs early in any relationship has to be categorically different than the type of sex which occurs as a relationship lengthens, grows and matures. Early sexual interactions still place in the hyper-competitive arena, where sexual prowess can be a marker on whether or not the relationship will even proceed. As one of my clients once phrased it so eloquently, “If you’re a lousy lay, you’re not getting a second or third date.” (Male, 23) However, what makes a lousy lay versus a great lay lies incredibly in our conceptions of competition and being better or worse than our competitors.

Little can be owed to self-improvement in the dating arena, whereas in long-term relationships hold that growth in sexual expertise is thought to be highly correlated with enduring satisfying relationships. This occurs when one or both members of a relationship learn that competing with other potential sexual partners is no longer an imminent threat, and they work to turn competitive instincts inward. Can you be better sexually than you were the last time? What exactly does it mean to improve within the sexual realm? For men: does improving sexually mean increasing time aroused before orgasm, or being able to achieve an erection by shear will? For women: does sexual improvement require unfathomable heights in flexibility and contortionism? Is multiple orgasms even possible? Is it a requirement? So many of these questions lie buried in the competitive jargon associated with sexuality, and contribute to the anxiety, depression, and low-self esteem where many issues of sexual dysfunction are based on.

It is when we take a healthier view of competition and sex that some of these answers can become clearer. Improved sexuality can occur in many ways. For both genders, most people answer in research articles that great sex occurs when they feel connected with their partners on an emotional or even spiritual level. Attention to both the partner’s sensations and concentration on your own physical sensations is a hallmark to building arousal, and are taught in such therapeutic techniques as Sensate Focused, which teaches how one partner’s role is to physically stimulate in non-genital areas the other partner, and the other partner’s role is solely to enjoy and experience the physical contact. There is no competitive aspect of this by shear description, but for those who have competitive aspects of their personality, they can use this venue as an opportunity for growth. Can you experience sensations in different and better ways than last time? How can you involve yourself more fully in the present experience with your partner? What challenges can you set for yourself and meet and succeed at these aims? These questions can not only mark progress in the relationship, but keep the fun and excitement present in long-term relationships which are so fundamental to having healthy sexual relations.

Gangs and Competition

Not all of us are able to grow up in communities and families with loving family values who support our educational, emotional, and physical needs. Some of us must think of survival before developing healthy relationships, and it is in these circumstances we turn our attention to our next topic, Gangs. Those people who choose gang involvement typically do so for many reasons. Poverty, lack of resources, and a sense of involvement and support typically head the list. After all, who of us do not which for access to money, security, and the unquestioned support which comes from those who say that they care deeply for us? The lure of social status also comes into play, as those of us with nothing can claim responsibility and dominance over entire neighborhoods, and entire populations with which we grew up.

However, these decisions continue competitive thinking. The desire to be the best, and have a hierarchical advantage over others can take place in high income areas as well as low. The desire to “keep up with the Jones’s” is the same inherent desire in all of us as the desire to ensure safe territory for our family, or surrogate family described in gang societies. However, due to the lack of overall security, these are typically enforced with maximum defense of competitive edge: you cannot be beaten if your enemy is dead. Hence, we take the theories of competitiveness into a situation where life itself hangs in the balance. Moreover, we join with others who believe the same thing, and will protect us to ensure both their survival and prosperity as well as ours.

Those gangs who have flourished in today’s world have done so with several of the theories I have proposed in Competitive Theory. Rather than competing within the gang itself for supremacy, there is a clear indication of roles within the gang, with flexibility for change based on approved behavior. While this may appear antisocial to those outside the gang, securing additional territory for drug sales, eliminating threats by violence or intimidation, or providing the emotional backing to other gang members through physical presence are all types of thought which make any organization of people successful, including families. How these gangs describe themselves as families is intriguing, as we can wonder how families might be able to take some of this structure to improve our situation while leaving the negative aspect of gang lifestyle behind. Would gangs be as horrific if the emotional support, security, and prosperity they provide in culture can be achieved without the violence and illegal activity? Couldn’t that be described as healthy family relationships?

Competition and Language

The theory of Competitive Therapy has its origins in some aspects of modern theoretical thought as well as postmodern theory, as it applies to psychotherapy. In modern thought, theories describe how a therapist is able to assist clients to reformat their relationships in some way via the therapist’s expertise and as an authority figure to utilize their knowledge and give this perspective to clientelle to help them gain additional information to take control over their own lives. Contrastingly, postmodern thought sees the therapist as an equal to the clientelle, with a different subjective set of experiences who engages with clients in their progressive story and work to offer ways to reframe their collective experience.

In Competitive Therapy, benefits to both of these models can be seen. The therapist is seen as a coach, one who is an authority on types of competitive relationships and is able to utilize competitive drives to maximize the potential of every client and help them to fulfill their role within the family system. However, there is a postmodern influence as well, as the therapist does not maintain this role throughout treatment, but rather assists those in leadership positions within the family to restructure the family system with themselves as experts. In this period of transition, the ‘coach’ encourages the ‘leader’ to become what is known in the sporting world as a “player-coach”; specifically a person who is both a participant of the activity and also one who can dictate what aims the team overall is geared toward. Due to the complexity of having this duel-role, it is common to need assistance of the therapist as coach to take over one of these roles during times of crisis, but not to maintain that role throughout the entirety of the family system or team.

As a result, Competitive Therapy continues to be brief in nature. Once family roles are identified, the player-coach learns to behave in their duel roles and at different times. The best way to do this is to utilize the language of how the family defines their roles and experience. When competition is the underlying feature bringing clients into treatment, the competition is directed at other member of the family unit. As change occurs, a therapist can help to redirect the competition to an outside agent where the family joins together in an effort to overcome this adversary. A mentality within sports teams mimic this theory as an “us-against-the-world” philosophy. By joining with the player-coach, a therapist can help to encourage the leader to use language to solidify the team while also holding each members role as an invaluable asset to the overall functioning of the system.

Theories of Dysfunction

In competitive relationships, the overwhelming desire is to win. At all costs. Even if this means that not all family members begin interactions in a competitive stature to one another, once one member begins to relate to the others in a desire to establish victory and dominance, the other family member must either accept that positioning or react in an attempt to assert their own dominance. And so, the other family members will react to the competitive relationship initiator, and become a part of the competitive system.

There are multiple areas of concern which can result from these types of interactions. To begin with, a defining concept of competition is that there must be a winner. And a loser. Especially in subsystems in families (ex. spouses, siblings, mother-daughter dyads, grandmother-son dyads, etc.), there exists a definition where only these two positions can be held. One winner, and one loser, where the loser feels defeated, helpless, and potentially hopeless to alter this position if repeated attempts at competition are formed with the same individual constantly in the “loser” role. Feelings such as these contribute to levels of clinical pathology including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and even personality disorders. Extreme examples of competition can even lead to extreme mental health symptoms such as psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder and perhaps schizophrenia. While these are hypotheses at this point in scientific inquiry, the reactions to these emotions have been demonstrated in other theories.

More often, feelings of helplessness and depression can lead toward issues of being suicidal or other power and control issues. Psychological symptoms like eating disorders happen frequently, as an adolescent and child begins to learn that they may feel helpless in many ways, but they are able to control certain things – like they’re food intake. Other power and control disorders include cutting, acting out, and violence against others. If these issues are unaddressed into adulthood where new relationships form, those with feelings of powerlessness can try to assert dominance in new relationships; leading toward issues of domestic violence. Most often, these feelings can lead toward individuals trying to cope with them in another pattern of symptoms – substance abuse – where the discomfort, pain, and anxiety of feeling powerlessness is sought to be numbed or escaped from.

While these individual disorders can be symptoms of competitive relationships, they are resultant from competitive family systems. A pecking order is formed within the family for dominance, and acts similarly to pack relationships found in other species. However, humans are more complicated than other species, and our cognitive abilities to reason, think, feel, and plan can make pack-like mentalities difficult in everyday circumstances. A competitive balance is especially difficult if in these relationships, the winner is continually up for debate. If mother and father both vie for dominance, and as a result neither wins, a child can attempt to also vie for control. If the child obtains control and can dictate what their restrictions and rewards are, the child begins to fill the role of “winner” prematurely, and without the direction, experience, and advisement of the parent who correspondingly becomes a “loser” to the child. These types of relationships lead to high levels of stress, confusion, and resentment among all family members, as the child is thrust into a role of leader which they are unable to fully manage, and the parents are resentful of each other and of the child who has taken on this role. A restructuring of the family roles is needed to assert appropriate relationships and correct the competitive drive which has turned this family topsy-turvey.

Role of the Therapist

In every theoretically-based model of therapy, the role of how the therapist functions in the system is a major aspect of how that model is applied to real life situations and relationships. Famous examples of this include Freudian therapy, where the therapist was seen as a “blank slate” and whose objectivity was as critical to the relationship as the client’s willingness to explore aspects of their childhood. Another example can be seen in Rogerian therapy, where the therapist displays unconditional positive regard for the client. The therapist’s role is to act as a mirror to the client and to mirror the client’s language both for clarification and to identify needed areas of change.

In Competitive Therapy, the framework of competition is turned on its edge. Rather than competing against each other in family relationships, individuals can learn to direct their competitive drives in more positive ways. As a therapist, the role is similar to that of a coach on a sports team. An effective coach is in a positive of authority, while also a defined role of someone who does not engage in the behavior in the field of play while also has an immense impact on the success of the team. This can be seen across types of sports, and positive models of coaching can be seen in individual and team sports. Similarly, positive coaching in therapy sessions can be applied both to individuals and families.

A quality coach has a mission to positively motivate and bring out the best in each member of the team. A coach can define how the team operates within itself, and use the roles of the team members to complement one another rather than vie for popularity or leadership roles. Indeed, some of the most successful coaches in history may not have had the most talented individuals but rather have been able to capture the talent of each individual and maximize potential. Such an approach in therapy can be used to harness the positive aspects of every family member, and to help each other identify family roles and fulfill their potential within each of those roles. Leadership positions can be obtained in a family is a manner similar to a team, and with the assistance of the coach/therapist, the leader can become a “coach on the field/court” and act in a way to effectively replace many of the coach’s responsibilities over time. In sports, an example of this can be seen in Peyton Manning, who is a team leader and is given freedom to direct teammates and playcalling that he believes will be successful. His progression in this area occurred along with his experience, and in this manner, a family can mimic the success. The most experienced family members are also the eldest family members of a nuclear family – the parents and grandparents. In this way, the initial role of the therapist is to redefine the family in terms of leadership, and to grant a leadership role to each parent.

Leadership is not something which is assumed, but is a learned skill. Parents who have lost this role as dysfunction has occurred within the family have a difficult time in reassuming this position without assistance, and here is where a coach can assist the process. Children feel most comfortable in families where boundaries, rules, and determined roles are clearly defined and supported. Knowing that a parent is in control, while may initially be opposed in the process of change, inevitably brings a feeling of stability and control to a child, and a sense of belonging to the overall family. In sports, an example of this would be a role player in a basketball game being asked to determine the final play of the game – a task that is outside the expected range of that role.?? Rather than putting that pressure on a role player, that role being assigned to a team leader will make the role player feel increased comfort and a focused aim on his task – one aspect of the overall team goal. In families, children can excel when they know that their tasks are focused, simple, and direct. Go to school. Do homework. Make your bed. These types of tasks are simple and clearly defined. For parents, each of these fit overall into making life as a family cohesive and functional. When any of these tasks go unfulfilled, the overall system goes into chaos. Recognizing this is a role of a family leader, and supporting each task to be fulfilled is best guided within that role. As such, ensuring that children know what these roles are and attend to them can fit within parental guidelines as a family leader.

Another role of the therapist is to grant credence to every family member. If some family members do not feel heard, their likely reaction is to act out or withdraw from the system. While hearing each voice does not necessarily infer that each person’s preferences for the family will be carried out, many times issues in family or team dynamics is based on participants feeling alienated or unheard. The role of the therapist is to also enable a team leader/family leader to mimic this behavior when the coach is no longer around – to teach a leader how to listen to all participants while not relinquishing that role of being in charge.

Good coaches do not coach the same individuals for forever, and indeed one of the beauty of sports is that lessons learned on the field are more valuable as life lessons than merely for that specific function. Similarly, Competitive therapists do not intend to have long-term therapy. Like most other systemic therapies, Competitive Therapy is brief in nature, and is aimed at specific problem-solving behavior. It is not meant to form full analysis of the self, but is rather to determine how to make the family/couple function happier and more effectively. A coach should teach?? the family leaders the skills to continue this work after therapy, so that a constant involvement in the therapeutic process is not needed.

Competitive Addiction

Addiction can take hold of many families and as per statistical analysis, virtually everyone on the globe has interactions with at least one family member, friend, colleague, or associate who has suffered or is currently suffering from addiction. As a field, the culture of addiction has taken great strides over time in developing a definition of addiction as a mental illness which has physical and mental symptoms to overcome as it progresses. In families too, addiction can shred relationships to an extent that sometimes, they are beyond repair, at least for the immediate circumstances. However, many addictive relationships can be put within the context of competitive relationships that have helped to form and maintain these patterns.

Addictive families have undergone labels in current treatment centers with terms such as “enabler”, “codependent” and “co-addicted”. While these terms can realistically describe?? relationships which foster continued use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, many families can have similar titles which do not involve substance use as the primary reason to come into treatment. Families with any individual member who appears to be functioning less in society and in social relationships may or may not present with addiction, but certainly can have individuals in the family system which help to support them being the central figure in dominating family relationships.

Within a competitive perspective, it has taken a great deal of unconscious effort on the part of the identified figure to dominate the family’s focus and attention. Also, it has taken a lot of effort for the family to maintain this perspective, though it can be difficult to see as a family member. A way to perceive how this is so is to look at both functional and dysfunctional sports teams as a system which can either support or shun individuals.

A functional team can utilize special members on the team with talent, leadership skills, or otherwise exceptional characteristics to stand out from other team members as a representative of the organization and a face to the franchise. Examples of these types of individuals include the stars of all types of sports, including Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretsky. Along with talent in their respective sports, each has become a dominant figure from their teams as a way to stand apart from their teammates while not being determined as outsiders or troublemakers, but rather as individuals who support the overall system by their contributions.

Dysfunctional teams can also have their stars, and individuals who separate themselves in ways similar to dysfunctional families. Troublemakers on the team or individuals who find themselves in legal or social trouble detract from the overall system and focus negative attention on themselves and the system which supports. Examples of these kind of throughout news sources, including Terrell Owens, Laurence Taylor and Michael Vick. While undeniably talent and special in their own right, each of these players have wreaked havoc on their teams with either legal or social ramifications.

Families can use these examples to restructure their own organizational system. Rather than specializing addicts as members who consume all attention and require a system to reduce their negative influence, their talents and importance to the family system can be instead transformed to highlight hidden layers of talent and uniqueness. Utilizing skills surrounding addiction can be a difficult thing for any family member to make into a reality, and it is frequent that important consequences be set to offset negative behavior. By making this individual a leader and imparting the realization that they can be a rolemodel to other family members, addicted persons can acquire the skills needed to use their skills in an effective, rather than destructive manner.