There are many characteristics Adult Children of Alcoholics share. In doing some research for this article I was amazed at how many of these characteristics I still exhibit. At 57 years old I thought I had worked through many of the obstacles that have come from growing up in an alcoholic home. I discovered that many of these things are still ingrained in me.
1.) I have always been uncomfortable with people in authority over me. I will often deliberately “disobey” them.
2.) I constantly seek the approval of others. I am uncomfortable if I think someone doesn’t like what I am doing.
3.) I judge myself harshly, far more than anyone else in my life does.
4.) I isolate myself especially when things are going wrong in my life.
5.) Angry people frighten me. My parents fought often in my childhood.
6.) I don’t know how to have fun and tend to be super responsible.
7.) I have a great deal of trouble with intimacy on many levels.
8.) I feel differently from “normal” people.
9.) I see myself as a victim which can lead to self-pity. As an alcoholic myself, self-pity is not an emotion I can afford.
These are some of the characteristics that I identify with. I have worked on them over the years and yet still I struggle with many of them. Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that we should strive for progress not perfection. As I see myself reacting to any of these things I can stop and think about what I am doing. However as I grow older I am learning that it is also important to acknowledge that there are some things that I cannot change. These characteristics are part of what makes me who I am.