You sense that something’s wrong, but you don’t know what.
It can be a relief to realize that some of your struggles are common among ACOAs.
Over the years, in relationships, I felt constantly let down, disappointed and was treated like crap by people who were supposed to be my “friends”.
I didn’t believe I could trust anyone so I figured it was safer to just be alone. Many of us are hard wired to welcome the most emotionally unavailable, destructive people into our lives – only to get burned.
As a child, your partner may have had the following characteristics: On the other hand, your partner may have swung to the other end of the spectrum, trying to make everything perfect, being the peacemaker in the family, striving for perfectionism, taking on adult responsibilities, and denying their own needs in favor of protecting the alcoholic parent.
You may not have made the connection between your partner’s family history and what shows up in your relationship, but the impact is huge.The feelings, personality traits, and relationship patterns that you developed to cope with an alcoholic parent, come with you to work, romantic relationships, parenting, and friendships.They show up as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, stress, anger, and relationship problems.Researchers have found that adult children of alcoholics sometimes struggle in relationships because of lack of trust, loneliness, emotional denial, feelings of guilt, shame and rage, sadness, being unsure of their identity, needing control, having issues asserting themselves, being desperate to please others, and overreacting to criticism.In addition, it’s thought that ACOAs are more likely than the general population to constantly seek approval and validation, feel that they are “different,” be super-responsible, judge themselves harshly, be extremely loyal, and plunge into action without considering consequences.What if your partner’s parent is still in the picture?