Describing The Colony: Family Types Part 1

colony of fire ant
The Colony motto is “That’s the way we’ve always done it, and that’s just the way it is.”

Colony Family

Colony families are task oriented and mission-driven. Achievements are significant. Many families start with the intent to be a colony. They try to be well organized, following rules and schedules to create the perfect family. When anxious, the colony relies on the basics, muscle-memory, and standard operating procedures.

They rarely question or challenge authority; unless it’s in violation of policy. These members need regulations and policies to feel safe and secure. They like to know the rules and boundaries up front. Their boundaries are often rigid. Members enjoy and usually stick to a routine and are bound by tradition. Change is challenging for the colony.

In the wild, the colony is loyal itself as its members are expendable. The members exist for the good of the system. Members willingly sacrifice their life for the good of the colony. Very few deviate from the establishment. The colony moves and thinks as one organism. Members are intellectually dependent on each other and are not free to be creative or think for their selves.

Colony Members

Colony members are very good at networking with others to accomplish a task or goal. Their strength and survival are based on numbers working toward a common interest. However, they tend to develop dismissive relationships styles. Meaning they fail to establish meaningful emotional bonds and relationships. This is why these members can feel lonely within the crowd. Their relationships are functional and pragmatic, serving a purpose. Their conversations are superficial and rarely deep and meaningful. Members are passive and have a lose-win mentality. They may see their selves as peacemakers but often come across as martyrs and victims of the system.

Be sure to check out Part Two; The Solitary Hermit.


Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave Jenkins, DMin, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist in the Northern Virginia area; retired US Army counselor/medic. He's the founder of Fredericksburg Relationship Center. He's been married to the same woman for more than 30 years and has four children, a daughter-in-law and son-in-law.