Trauma recovery is my favorite subject. Mostly because I have experienced it for many years. Here are some characteristics of victims of dysfunctional upbringing. This includes dealing with alcoholics and the mentally ill.
Janet G. Woititz, PhD wrote the book for Adult Children of Alcoholics in 1983 and in her book she lists the following.
- Guess at what normal behavior is
- Have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end
- Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth
- Judge themselves without mercy
- Have difficulty having fun
- Take themselves very seriously
- Have difficulty with intimate relationships
- Overreact to changes over which they have no control
- Constantly seek approval and affirmation
- Feel that they’re different from other people
- Are super responsible or super irresponsible
- Are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved
- Are impulsive—They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.
Of course, if you’re a child of an alcoholic, etc., that doesn’t mean that everything on this list will apply to you. But it’s likely that at least some of it will.
Quoting from Adult Children of Alcoholics book:
The solution is:
The solution is to become your own loving parent.
This involves finding the right meetings, therapist, safe place to re-learn how to become the person you are meant to be. Find a way to unburden the unexpressed grief you hold, see your family dysfunction for what it was, and keep the focus on the here and now. None of it was your fault but it is your work to heal.
It is not easy to do this work, just start where you are and take as much time as you need. You are worth it.