Professionals in several fields have identified characteristics that children who grew up in alcoholic homes have in common. What I have found interesting in my recovery journey is that you don’t have to grow up in an alcoholic home to possess some of these character traits. I have met and know people who did NOT grow up in alcoholic, or drug associated homes who exhibit some of these. Sometimes they don’t recognize or admit they have them, but they do. Some folks in recovery can spot these characteristics in others. It’s one of those “been there done that” observations.
I urge you to review the list. Do any of these characteristics hit home? I had to claim every one of them when I started my recovery journey.
14 Characteristics of Adult Children Of Alcoholics¹
These are characteristics we seem to have in common due to being brought up in an alcoholic household.
1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
4. We either become alcoholics, marry them, or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
8. We become addicted to excitement.
9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue”.
10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (denial).
11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
If you think one or more of these might apply to you, don’t feel alone. Don’t isolate yourself. Get help. You can contact me to discuss these characteristics if you like. You can reach me at email@example.com