The “Laundry List”
(14 Characteristics of an Adult Child)
These are characteristics we seem to have in common due to being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household:
- 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 sick abandonment needs.
- We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love and freindship relationships.
- We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and it is easier for us to by concerned with others rather than ouselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
- We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves in stead of giving in to others.
- We became 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 (denial).
- 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 which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
- Alcoholism is a family disease and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
- Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.
– Tony A., 1978