Growing up with alcoholism in the home has far reaching effects that may be difficult to overcome.  An alcoholic parent’s behavior can be highly unpredictable from one moment to the next.  They can suddenly be angry, violent or abusive and their children can be always walking on eggshells while trying to determine what mood the unpredictable parent is in.  Children in a home like this may grow up to be very anxious adults. These children may be targets of physical or emotional abuse, or they may suffer from neglect since an alcoholic parent may not always have their wits and their faculties about them.  The child can try to cover up for their parents’ behavior by being the family clown or by stirring up trouble themselves.  They may have to learn at an early age to care for themselves if the alcoholic parent turns neglectful. Here are some common sample traits of children of alcoholics: •  Become super-responsible as children, acting overly mature for their age •  May become the family clown or peacemaker as a child and in adulthood •  Eager for approval from others, and afraid of angry people or people with authority •  Impulsive and addicted to excitement, prone to becoming alcoholic or drug dependant •  Confuse love with pity, and so they are attracted to partners they can pity and “rescue” •  High sense of guilt, low self esteem and terrified of being abandoned •  Suppressed ability to feel or express emotions •  Become super responsible adults, or else super irresponsible •  Attracted to alcoholics for friendship or marriage •  Prone to anxiety or depression •  May be extremely loyal, even if that loyalty is not deserved Suzanne can help with individual therapy / counseling sessions.  Individual sessions provide intense one on one focus and support that provide the means for real insight and healing.  Participation in ACOA self-help community groups may also be encouraged.  Please call Suzanne at her office in Rockville, Maryland at 301-272-1320 for a free initial telephone consultation to find out how she can help.
ACOA - Adult Children of Alcoholics
Suzanne Corcoran, LCSW-C, Counseling for Couples and Individuals in Rockville, Maryland