CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS
From: Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Woititz
1. The children are confused as to what is "normal" or healthy.
2. They have difficulty completing projects or tasks.
3. They lie compulsively, even when there is no need to.
4. They are overly critical of themselves.
5. They take themselves too seriously and have difficulty having fun.
6. As adults they have difficulty with intimate relationships.
7. There is great need for control of one's life, an excessive anger when this can not be achieved.
8. There is a life-long need for approval and affirmation.
9. There is a feeling of being different from other people.
10. They are either overly responsible or overly irresponsible.
11. There is extreme loyalty to the abuser even though it is unwarranted.
12. There is frequent impulsive behavior which only aggravates the problems.
These characteristic behavior traits and attitudes begin in childhood and continue into adult life.
Conrad Hunter, Jr. M.D. has stated, "You show me your child of an alcoholic and I'll show you a sick child." Some of his reseach has shown that " nine out of ten times the daughter of an alcoholic father will marry an alcoholic." He believes that she becomes so accustomed to an inappropriate caretaking role, that when she grows up she looks for someone, usually unconsciously, with the same pitiful neediness of her own father.
Fortunately there are now many support groups developing to help provide healing for children of alcoholics.
ALATEEN - For adolescents of alcoholics
ALATOT - For young children of alcoholics
ACA / ACOA For adult children of alcoholics or other dysfunctional families
OO- Overcomers Outreach - Christian support group that often has special sessions for children.
SOME ISSUES WE SEEM TO HAVE IN COMMON DUE TO HAVING BEEN BROUGHT UP IN AN ALCOHOLIC OR DYSFUNCTIONAL HOME:
1. We came to feel isolated, uneasy with people -- especially authority figures.
2. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process.
3. We are frightened by angry people and personal criticism is perceived as a threat.
4. We either became alcoholics ourselves or marry them or both. If we fail to do that, we find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic and perpetuate the cycle or abandonment.
5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims, and we are attracted by that characteristic in our relationships.
6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and it is easier for us to be concerned with others than ourselves.
7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves; and become reactors rather than actors, letting others take the initiative.
8. We become addicted to excitement in many of our affairs, preferring upsets to workable relationships.
9. We confuse love with pity and tend to "love" people we can pity or rescue.
10. We learned to stuff our feelings in childhood and keep the buried as adults through that conditioning.
11. We judge ourselves harshly and often have low self-esteem.
12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment. We will do almost anything to hold onto a relationship in order not to experience the pain of abandonment. Yet we keep finding ourselves in insecure relationships because they match our childhood relationship with addicted / dysfunctional parents.
13. Thus addiction / dysfunction can be seen as a disease that affects the entire family and we became dysfunctional . This means we learned to imitate the behavior of our parents.
THIS IS A DESCRIPTION , NOT AN INDICTMENT!