Sanctuary and Serenity

What are Adult Children of Alcoholics?

Posted on: March 26, 2010


Who is an “adult child”?  The answer is found in the family background.  We begin life vulnerable, and trusting, dependent upon our caregivers.  If our caregivers are secure, healthy individuals with fair parenting skills, we have a good chance of growing into secure, happy adults ourselves.  If our caregivers were/are suffering from compulsive or addictive patterns, their behaviours and messages to us will be inconsistent, confusing and damaging.  We may have been lavished with love and attention one day, and ignored the next.  Being unable to cope themselves, these caregivers may have expected us to take on adult responsibilities well in advance of adulthood, or to take care of, protect, or make decisions for them and others within the family unit.  This may have left us feeling inadequate, confused, and pressured.  Instead of being encouraged to be the children we were, and getting the chance to experience the natural, gradual growth necessary to become adults, we may have reached adulthood without really understanding the maturing process.  We may have experienced feelings of being overwhelmed, helplessness, or resentment under circumstances which are ordinary in adult life.  We are “adult children”…we have the bodies of adults, the responsibilities of adults, drives of adults, but the unprocessed emotions of small, dependent children.

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