Children who grow up with an alcoholic parent, or in a home that is dysfunctional for some other reason (e.g., drugs, gambling), learn adaptive behaviors to better cope with their feelings of abandonment and chaos. The tips below are specific to Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA); however, they are directly applicable to individuals who have grown up in any dysfunctional home, whether it is the result of gambling, drugs, or another type of compulsive behavior.
Without realizing it, as adults these individuals often have a need to feel abandoned, because that was how they were raised and is all they know. They don’t know what it is like to have a stable home; therefore, they frequently enter relationships that are not healthy. The ACOA may either become an alcoholic, marry one, or both. They can also tend to gravitate toward other compulsive behaviors, such as gambling, because it feels familiar to them. ACOAs feel like victims and compensate for this by becoming people pleasers, overly responsible, reactors, and trust others instead of themselves.
The following is a list of characteristics compiled by Janet Woititz, the Author of, Adult Children of Alcoholics. You do not necessarily need to display all these characteristics in order to be an ACOA.
If you share any of these characteristics and would like t o learn more about how to cope with these issues please contact your Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential, assistance at 410-685-7878 x3041 or 800-492-1964 x3041