Blue field like crop rows and burgundy border, saying "Don't Just Survive - Thrive

Adult Children of Alcoholics, by Janet Geringer Woititz, EdD

Preamble: From the back: “The legacy of growing up in an alcoholic home – or any type of dysfunctional environment – can follow us into adult life with negative consequences on health, work, and love. Rather than continuing to allow our actions and reactions to be governed by an unhealthy childhood, here are answers on how to recognizes, change and prevent the ghosts of our past from deleteriously influencing the present and future.”

Thesis: Adults who have grown up in a dysfunctional home have specific learned personality traits that hinder ability to function emotionally. Recognizing this, forgiving yourself for it, and then cognizantly changing the pattern leads to a brighter future and family.

Specific Things to Remember:

  • Specific traits of such a person
    • Guess at what normal is
    • Difficulty following through with tasks and objectives
    • Lying when it’s just as easy to tell the truth
    • Judge of self without mercy
    • Have difficulty having fun
    • Takes self very seriously
    • Difficulty with intimate relationships
    • Overreacts to changes they can’t control
    • Constant seeking of approval and affirmation
    • Feel different from other people
    • Either super-responsible or super-irresponsible
    • Loyal, even if undeserved
    • Impulsive, locking oneself into actions without giving thought to consequences
  • Moving forward to not do the same to your kids
    • Work on yourself and your own personal growth
    • Listen to your children
    • Tell the truth. Be honest with them
    • Educate your children
    • Encourage your kids to attend Alateen
    • Give up denial
    • Do not protect your children from knowing the ravages of alcoholism (or dysfunction)
    • Don’t be afraid to be affectionate
    • It is important to establish clear boundaries
    • Children need to take responsibility for their behavior
  • Be on the guard for
    • It running in families
    • Children of alcoholics (or dysfunction) are likely to continue the pattern themselves
    • Children of alcoholics (or dysfunction) are likely to marry that which they are used to

Nice Passages: