Fourteen Traits of a Adult Child of an Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Family


I never had a relationship with a anyone who was a child of a Alcoholic and highly dysfunctional family in my life. However, one of my good friends has a girlfriend who was raised in such a family

He tells me he loves this woman, however his experiences is none that he has been through before as well and none that I understand. So I did some research.

What I found I ran by him and he said his girlfriend has many of these traits. As I read on I couldn’t help but crying knowing that a child had to endure this type of traumatic childhood

Accordingly, I am publishing the Laundry list as it has come to be known of the fourteen Traits of an Adult Child from this type childhood.

The 14 Traits of an Adult Child

  • We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures. We grew up in fear.
  • We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  • We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  • We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  • We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  • 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.
  • We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  • We became addicted to excitement.
  • We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  • 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).
  • We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  • 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.
  • Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became Codependent and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  • Codependent people are followers not leaders. They are reactors not actors.

Codependent people acquire certain traits in childhood that tend to cause them to focus on the wants and needs of others rather than their own.

The Flip Side of The Laundry List

  1. We move out of isolation and are not unrealistically afraid of other people, even authority
  2. We do not depend on others to tell us who we are.
  3. We are not automatically frightened by angry people and no longer regard personal criticism as a threat.
  4. We do not have a compulsive need to recreate abandonment.
  5. We stop living life from the standpoint of victims and are not attracted by this trait in our important relationships.
  6. We do not use enabling as a way to avoid looking at our own shortcomings.
  7. We do not feel guilty when we stand up for ourselves.
  8. We avoid emotional intoxication and choose workable relationships instead of constant upset.
  9. We are able to distinguish love from pity, and do not think “rescuing” people we “pity” is an act of love.
  10. We come out of denial about our traumatic childhoods and regain the ability to feel and express our emotions.
  11. We stop judging and condemning ourselves and discover a sense of self-worth.
  12. We grow in independence and are no longer terrified of abandonment. We have interdependent relationships with healthy people, not dependent relationships with people who are emotionally unavailable.
  13. The characteristics of alcoholism and para-alcoholism or codependency we have internalized are identified, acknowledged, and removed.
  14. We are actors, not reactors. We are not codependent

Please note these traits were gathered from Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. If any of these traits apply to you visit this site in my opinion it is extremely helpful and an excellent resource.

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The ADHD Teacher

Becoming a Teacher, Finding Myself

Human Performance Psychology

Enhances & Restore Performance, Grow Business & Personal Wealth

Learning to write

Just your average PhD student using the internet to enhance their CV

CJ Mollo

Internet Marketing Tips & Product Reviews!

love and loss

love of a lifetime

Simply Pao.

A Journal of Trauma, Healing, and Motherhood

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