As a therapist working with clients from different family backgrounds, one thing rings true: No matter the type of dysfunction in a family, it produces similar characteristics in the next generation. Janet G. Woititz has done alot of research in this area and has come up with 13 characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics. As Teri described yesterday, you don't have to grow up in an alcoholic family to experience these characteristics. You could also have grown up in a family where there were other compulsive behaviors or strict religious beliefs, among others.
Here are 4 more characteristics:
- Adult children of alcoholics judge themself without mercy. Adult children don't allow themselves to make any mistakes, put themselves down when they do, and are harder on themselves than anyone else would be.
- Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun. It can be due to feeling too anxious of letting go of control to have fun, or due to feeling as though you always need to be the "responsible" one in the group.
- Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously. It's very hard for adult children to laugh at themselves, or laugh if someone else is poking fun at them (out of love).
- Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships. Difficulty doesn't apply only to intimate/romantic relationships, but also family, friends and working relationships as well. Trouble can stem from difficulty building trust to having poor boundaries or feeling abandoned.
Thank you for reading and please check back in as we have many more characteristics to share!
Written by: Tamara McCord, MA, LMHC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.