Adult children of alcoholics appear to have characteristics in common as a result of being raised in an alcoholic home. Review the characteristics listed. If you identify with these characteristics then seek appropriate sources of support to understand and resolve them. You will find many self-help books on this subject. Additionally, there is Adult Children of Alcoholics 12-Step self-help community meeting, individual therapy, and group therapy facilitated by a therapist.
- Isolation, fear of people, and fear of authority figures.
- Difficulty with identity issues related to seeking constantly the approval of others.
- Frightened by angry people and personal criticism.
- Have become an alcoholic yourself, married one, or both. A variation would be the attraction to another compulsive personality such as a workaholic. The similarity is that neither is emotionally available to deal with overwhelming and unhealthy dependency needs.
- Perpetually being the victim and seeing the world from the perspective of a victim.
- An overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Concerned about the needs of others to the degree of neglecting your own wants and needs. This is a protective behavior for avoiding a good look at yourself and taking responsibility to identify and resolve your own personal difficulties.
- Feelings of guilt associated with standing up for your rights. It is easier to give into the demands of others.
- An addiction to excitement. Feeling a need to be on the edge, and risk-taking behaviors.
- A tendency to confuse feelings of love and pity. Attracted to people that you can rescue and take care of.
- Avoidance of feelings related to traumatic childhood experiences. Unable to feel or express feelings because it is frightening and/or painful and overwhelming. Denial of feelings.
- Low self-esteem. A tendency to judge yourself harshly and be perfectionistic and self-critical.
- Strong dependency needs and terrified of abandonment. Will do almost anything to hold onto a relationship in order to avoid the fear and pain of abandonment.
- Alcoholism is a family disease which often results in a family member taking on the characteristics of the disease even if they are not alcoholics (para-alcoholics). Dysfunctional relationships, denial, fearful, avoidance of feelings, poor coping, poor problem solving, afraid that others will find out what you are really like, etc.
- Tendency to react to things that happen versus taking control and not being victim to the behavior of others or situations created by others.
- A chameleon. A tendency to be what others want you to be instead of being yourself. A lack of honesty with yourself and others.