Many of us found that
we had several characteristics in common as a result of being
brought up in 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. All the same
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 live from the
standpoint of victims. Having 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.
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.
These symptoms of the
family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us 'co-victims',
those who take on the characteristics of the disease without
necessarily ever taking a drink. 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.
Even more self-defeating,
we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring
constant upset to workable solutions.
This is a description,
not an indictment.
with permission of the Adult Children of Alcoholics Fellowship