Kanzeon Bodhisattva


The Problem, or The Laundry List

The problem: We seem to have several characteristics in common as a result of having been brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional family system.

  • We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

  • We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

  • We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

  • We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our abandonment needs.

  • We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love, friendships, and career relationships.

  • We have and overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our faults or our responsibility to ourselves.

  • We get guilt feeling when we stand up for ourselves and instead give in to others.

  • We become addicted to excitement.

  • We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and rescue.

  • We have stuffed our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much. This includes our good feelings such as joy and happiness. Our being out of touch with our feelings is one of our basic denials.

  • We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

  • We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings. We received this from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

  • Alcoholism is a family disease and we took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

  • We became reactors rather than actors.

  • Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal is.

  • We have difficulty having fun.

  • We take ourselves too seriously.

  • We have difficulty with intimate relationships.

  • We constantly seek approval and affirmation.

  • We usually feel different from other people.

  • We are either super responsible or super irresponsible.

  • We are extremely loyal even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

  • We tend to lock ourselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behavior or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over our environment. As a result, more energy is spent cleaning up the mess than would have been spent had the alternatives and consequences been examined in the first place.

  • We think we have more problems with sexuality than the general population.

  • We tend to look for immediate as opposed to deferred gratification.

  • We are overly sensitive.


Adult Children of Alcoholics and other Dysfunctional Families Anonymous

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