Alcoholic family members are embarrassed and develop strategies to cope. To the outside world, no one would know that they’re upset about it. They don’t talk about the alcoholic/addict outside of the family.
They don’t trust other people, thinking no one would understand them and would gossip about them and they’re not open with their feelings. Others live in chaos, but will swear that this doesn’t affect them. This becomes a pattern of behavior.
To become emotionally free, adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) have to release the anger that they have with their parent and accept that that’s the way life was. But, they’re not children today.
They have to realize that they don’t have to carry childhood pain into their adult lives. This does not mean ‘forgive and forget’. It means that what’s past is past. What went on in their childhood was not good – however, to dwell on the past brings you back there. To be healthy and develop healthy relationships with others, you learn to accept, your past without anger so you can must move on.
One of the problems that an ACOA, (or anyone else in a dysfunctional family has) is that they don’t know what a
healthy relationship is.
There is nothing to relate to and their expectations may be unrealistic. No family is ‘perfect’. But when you come from a dysfunctional family, you can’t compare. Everyone else seems better off than you.
Alcoholic Family Character Traits
If you are a Child of an alcoholic/addict or have been brought up with family function here are some behaviors that you display.
- Control (become uncomfortable, anxious when not in control)
- Overly responsible (need to be perfect)
- Avoid emotions
- Denial (particularly when threatened
- Low self-esteem (regardless of competence)
- Feel victimized (attracted to similar, in love and other friendships)
- Compulsive behaviors
addicted to relationship,
or may become alcoholics themselves
- Do anything to hold on to a relationship
- All or nothing thinking
- Anxiety and stress related illness (migraines, ulcers, eczema, etc)
- Rarely grieve over losses
- React and are hyper vigilant, just in case…..
(Source: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention)
If you see these characteristics in yourself, you can get help. Al Anon meetings can be very helpful and so can Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA).
is specifically focused on alcoholic family issues. Coaching or recovery coaching is not therapy, but it's very effective in quickly dealing with issues. Similar to being on a team, the coach gives you the direction to get to your goals.
may be exactly the answer that you're looking for.
Many members of the clergy offer counseling services which are usually free of charge. But whatever you do, do something to give you peace of mind.
Alcoholic family members can get support through NACOA
Your childhood was affected by a dysfunctional family, but as an adult, you no longer have to carry the pain.
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