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Children of Alcoholics

  1. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS (COAS) BECOME ISOLATED AND AFRAID OF PEOPLE AND AUTHORITY FIGURES.
    COA’s are always surprised when an authority figure recognizes, agrees, compliments them, or says “yes.” COA’s would rather go without, do without or make do for themselves rather than ask an authority figure for assistance. COA’s approach authority figures anxiously.

  2. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS BECOME APPROVAL SEEKERS AND LOOSE THEIR IDENTITY IN THE PROCESS.
    COA’s seek approval all the time. They need a lot of it; and if they do not get the approval they need, they will get angry.
  3. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS ARE FRIGHTENED BY ANGRY PEOPLE AND ANY PERSONAL CRITICISM.
    COA’s hate criticism, and they spend a lot of time and energy performing to be “beyond reproach.”
  4. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS BECOME ALCOHOLICS, MARRY THEM -- OR BOTH -- OR THEY FIND ANOTHER COMPULSIVE PERSONALITY SUCH AS A WORKAHOLIC TO FULFILL THEIR NEED TO ATTACH.
    COA’s are at high risk of becoming alcoholics themselves. This is because of their genetic predisposition and the role modeling they received as children. Because of family patterns, COA’s are often attracted to other alcoholics and will often marry them. Taking care of an alcoholic, and living in an alcoholic relationship are familiar and easy patterns for them to repeat.
  5. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS LIVE LIFE FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF HELPING AND SEEKING VICTIMS, AND ARE ATTRACTED BY THAT WEAKNESS IN THEIR LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP RELATIONSHIPS.
    COA’s learn early in life what it is like to be a victim, what jt is like to take care of a victim. Again, they repeat these patterns of behavior in adulthood.
  6. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS HAVE AN OVERDEVELOPED SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AND IT IS EASIER FOR THEM TO BE CONCERNED WITH OTHERS’ PROBLEMS RATHER THAN THEIR OWN. THIS PROCESS ENABLES THEM TO NOT HAVE TO EXAMINE THEIR OWN FAULTS TOO CLOSELY.
    By constantly looking outside of themselves, COA’s conveniently avoid the pain and other feelings locked up within their own selves. COA’s will often enter helping-types of professions, and it is important that COA’s in such positions seek professional help to explore the effects of alcoholism upon their lives.
  7. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS HAVE GUILT FEELINGS WHEN THEY STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES, SO INSTEAD, THEY GIVE TO OTHERS.
    COA’s often believe that they do not deserve to be happy, or that they are worthwhile people. Their self-esteem is often extremely low. When coupled with the other conflicts that they have with authority figures and relationships, they will more often then not choose to back down from and argument or choose not to express their needs and desires.
  8. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS BECOME ADDICTED TO EXCITEMENT.
    COA’s have a hard time feeling naturally good, and therefore they become attached to people, places, and activities that excite them and bring them pleasure, Such excitement attachments may include relationships, burglarizing, vandalism, or high-risk activities such as driving fast and parachuting.
  9. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS CONFUSE LOVE WITH PITY AND TEND TO “LOVE” PEOPLE THEY CAN “PITY OR “RESCUE”
    COA’s are experienced caretakers and tend to get involved in relationships in which they can maintain that role. They confuse “loving” with “mothering.”
  10. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS HAVE LEARNED TO DENY THEIR FEELINGS FROM THEIR EARLY CHILDHOOD, AND THEY HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO FEEL OR TO EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS.
    After enough trauma, COA’s learn to cut themselves off from their feelings. They will report not having any feelings or that they feel disconnected from their feelings. They will often report confusion when asked about their feelings. This is a defense mechanism that helps protect them from being in too much pain.
  11. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS JUDGE THEMSELVES HARSHLY AND HAVE A VERY LOW SENSE OF SELF-ESTEEM. SOMETIMES THEIR LOW SELF-ESTEEM IS COMPENSATED FOR BY TRYING TO ACT SUPERIOR TO OTHERS.
    COA’s never feel as though they measure up to their own standards. It stops them from asserting their needs because they do not feel as though they deserve even the most basic of wants. Low self-esteem also keeps them from trying new things or from leaving bad relationships.
  12. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS ARE DEPENDENT PERSONALITIES WHO ARE TERRIFIED OF ABANDONMENT. THEY WILL DO ANYTHING TO HOLD ON TO A RELATIONSHIP IN ORDER NOT TO EXPERIENCE THE PAIN OF ABANDONMENT. THEY ARE CONDITIONED TO THESE TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS, AND WILL REPEAT THEM IN ADULTHOOD.
    COA’s are dependent personalities, and yet they have often not even identified this or their feelings of being terrified of being abandoned. They will often romanticize their relationships, and stay in relationships when they know they are bad for them.
  13. ALCOHOLISM IS A FAMILY DISEASE, AND IT AFFECTS THE PARENTS, SPOUSE, AND CHILDREN OF THE ALCOHOLIC.
    A family is a dynamic system of inter-relationships. One person’s behavior affects all the others in some way (even if they deny this). COA’s are often greatly effected by their parent’s drinking, self-destructive behavior, and lack of responsibility. The family members, especially the children, need treatment as much as the alcoholic.
  14. CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS ARE REACTORS RATHER THAN ACTORS.
    COA’s are not original, spontaneous, or initiating. They often feel full of responsibility, and have a difficult time having fun and enjoying themselves. They are often followers rather than leaders, and more easily susceptible to peer pressure.