The Problem

Adult Children of Alcoholics found that they had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional households.

We had come to feel isolated, and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. Hence we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat.

We either became alcoholics ourselves, married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.

We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Because often have an over developed sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we trusted ourselves, giving in to others. We became reactors rather than actors, letting others take the initiative.

Therefore we were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. We keep choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

We learned to keep our feelings down as children and keep them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we often confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue.

Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism,
She learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule,
She learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,
She learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise,
She learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.

If a child lives with security,
She learns to have faith.

If a child live with approval,
He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

This is a description, not an indictment.

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