Chameleon mixing in with the plant life.

Sharing – Pay attention to the chameleon kids

Jake’s description of “chameleon kids” sounded a lot like someone who grows up with Alcoholic parents like I did:

“When children don’t want to add stress to the family, they may become the good kid, the quiet kid, the calm kid, the nice kid, the helper kid, or the rule-following kid; they become a “chameleon kid.” The chameleon kids are experts at changing who they are to fit their surroundings. They figure out who you need them to be and they become it. Chameleon kids follow the rules, are incredibly empathetic and perceptive, and they are high self-monitors.”

Jake describes the risk of these kids growing up to be people pleasers. I’d go one further. Not only did I grow up as a people pleaser, but I also had zero sense of self. Without someone to react to and to become the person they wanted me to be, I was no one. I tell people this often but I spent more time in therapy figuring out who I am than I spent trying to process childhood trauma and that was a direct result of growing up as this chameleon kid. My entire personality was based on fitting what was needed by other people, starting with my alcoholic father and the person who sexually abused me, right through to friends and my first wife. I was what I thought they wanted me to be. When my therapist started asking about what I wanted to be, I was blank. There was nothing there.

Gladly, she helped me create something. I know too many abuse survivors who haven’t done that yet. They remain in a non-stop loop of creating themselves to meet others’ expectations, or what they perceive those to be. I wish they could recognize this and how to recover from it. If this sounds like you, go read more:

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