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Post Info TOPIC: Adult Child Characteristics


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Adult Child Characteristics


Adult Child Characteristics

1. Adult children guess at what normal is.

There is no frame of reference for what it is like to be in a normal household. You also have no frame of reference for what is O.K. to say and feel. In a more typical situation, one does not have to walk on eggs all the time. Because you did, you became confused. Many things from the past contributed to your having to guess at what normal is.

 

2. Adult children have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end.

In a functional family, the child has this behavior and attitude to model. The child observes the process and the child may even ask questions along the way. The learning may be more indirect than direct, but it is present. Since your experience was so vastly different, it should be no surprise that you have a problem with following a project through from beginning to end.

 

3. Adult children lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.

Lying is basic to the family system affected by alcohol. It masquerades in part an overt denial of unpleasant realities, cover-ups, broken promises and inconsistencies. Lying as the norm in your house became part of what you knew and what could be useful to you. At times, it made life much more comfortable. If you lied about getting your work done, you could get away with being lazy for a while. It seemed to make life simpler for everybody.

 

4. Adult children judge themselves without mercy.

Your judgment of others is not nearly as harsh as your judgement of yourself, although it is hard for you to see other people's behaviour in terms of a continuum either. Black and white, good or bad, are typically the way you look at things. You know what it feels like to be bad, and how those feelings make you behave. And then if you are good there is always the risk that it won't last. So either way you set yourself up.

 

5. Adult children have difficulty having fun.
6. Adult children take themselves very seriously.

These two characteristics are closely linked. You didn't hear your parents laughing and joking and fooling around. Life was a very serious, angry business. The tone in your house put a damper on your fun. Eventually, you just went along with everybody else. Having fun just was not fun. The spontaneous child within was quashed.

 

7. Adult children have difficulty with intimate relationships.

The feelings of being insecure or having difficulty in trusting, and of questions about whether or not you are going to get hurt are not exclusive to adult children. These are problems most people have. It is simply a matter of degree, your being a child of a alcoholic caused the ordinary difficulties to become more severe.

 

8. Adult children over-react to changes over which they have no control.

The young child of an alcoholic was not in control. The alcoholic's life was inflicted on him, as was his environment. In order to survive when growing up, he needed to turn that around. He needed to begin taking charge of his environment. This became important and remains so. The child of the alcoholic learns to trust himself more than anyone else when it is impossible to rely on someone else's judgement.

 

9. Adult children constantly seek approval and affirmation.

The message you got as a child was very confused. It was not unconditional love. The definitions were not clear and the messages were mixed. "Yes, no, I love you, go away." So you grew up with some confusion about yourself. The affirmations you did not get on a day-to-day basis as a child, you interpret as negative.

 

10. Adult children feel that they are different from other people.

Feeling different is something you have had with you since childhood and even if the circumstance does not warrant it, the feeling prevails. Other children have had the opportunity to be children. You did not. You were very much concerned with what was going on at home. You could never be completely comfortable playing with other children. You could not be fully there. Your concerns about your home problems clouded everything else in your life.

 

11. Adult children are either super responsible or super irresponsible.

Either you take it all on or you give it all up. There is no middle ground. You tried to please your parents, doing more and more, or you reached the point where you recognized it did not matter, so you did nothing.

 

12.Adult children are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

The alcoholic home appears to be a very loyal place. Family members hang in long after reasons dictate that they should leave. The so-called "loyalty" is more the result of fear and insecurity than anything else, nevertheless, the behavior that is modeled is one where no one walks away just because the going gets rough. This sense enables the adult child to remain in involvements that are better dissolved.

 

13. Adult children are impulsive.

They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

 



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ROSIE,  a work in progress!!! 

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Great list, mama!  Thanks for posting.

I can see almost all of them in me.  Thanks to the miracle of recovery, these characteristics do not rule my life any more.  Still working on:

4. Adult children judge themselves without mercy.

5. Adult children have difficulty having fun.

Together we can all shed the baggage of the past.  Guests, please join our experience, strength, and hope! 

In Recovery,

Princess K.



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Princess K.



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Thank you Princess K

I share with you having to work on my issues

My big one is being so hard on me

Over reacting to changes over which I have no control

Thinking I am different and not in a good way

Thank you all for reading this lets recover together. Together hand in hand and heart to heart, we CAN reclaim the good and satisfying lives we so deserve


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ROSIE,  a work in progress!!! 

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This is a welcome resource for me--I have struggled with feeling different and just trying to act normal according to how I see others. Since I feel so odd, I allow that voice in my head to convince me that I am worthless and can't do anything right.

However, I think my lack of close relationships comes because I also criticize everyone else, I think so that I can somehow feel better about myself (but it doesn't work--duh!).

I am very, very blessed to have a wonderful hubby of almost 39 years and we are followers of Jesus Christ, which brings comfort and perspective. I have had many meaningful experiences helping others, particularly children.

I think the reason I have gone searching on the internet for such a resource as this is because our four adult children are not doing well. While hubby and I never drank or used any drugs, we both came from homes where our fathers were alcoholics. I didn't even realize that my parenting, of course mostly based on how I was raised, would damage my poor children, even more than I was. I worry almost all the time about them.

So thank you for welcoming me here to your circle where I hope to find understanding and healing, and ways to help my adult children.



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Theresa Norman


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Welcome to MIP, trustytussy!!!

This truly is inter-generational.  There is such a thing as grandchildren of alcoholics.  We pass on what we were shown, but we can break the cycle.

I confess that I also judge others in a lame attempt to feel better about myself.  It's a good thing people don't have ESP!

Please join us if you haven't already, and you will see our daily readings and personal shares!

In Recovery,

Princess K.



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Princess K.



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WELCOME, trustytussy....I hear you...I have 2 daughters who are in programme because this is generational as Mrs. Snoopy says above me...the buck had to stop with me, even tho daughters were grown, 14 years ago, I got into program and teh younger one just dove right into it and shes thriving...the older one hates me because I didn't shell out money every time she needed something, I let her go to jail for drugs and she got sober, worked program when she was locked up, then she gets out..STILL sober, Thank you God, but she's different: cold..its all about what I can do for her..Well?? on Social Security and PT work to suppliment it, I don't have the $$ I used to so I am not of use to her.....I used to blame me for her actions, thought i was a total screw up as a mom, but I don't anymore...I did the best i could with the tools that I had..I loved them, never abused them, never beat them, instead I let them have "consquences" for their wrongs...I let them face the consequences and it did well....I used to put others down and judge them to make me feel better or better yet: focusing on others faults, enabled me to NOT have to look at me....Didn't work..when I got into recovery, it REALLY didn't work, LOL because program is an honest, look at me situation and by the time I drug me here 14 years ago, I was ready...hungry....craving a better way of thinking/feeling/acting/and being....I am nowhere near where I used to be, but I am never gonna be at the finish line because this is a life long commitment ...those of us who are smart, realize that the old patterns of sick thinking CAN and DO come back if we get lazy on programme...I am a lifer here and not ashamed at all about it...thank you for posting, hope to see you soon

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I appreciate your comments, mamalionessyou are so right when you say that as mothers we did the best we could with the tools we had. I am also at the point where I want to have a better way of thinking, feeling, acting, and being about the choices my children have made and the part I have played in that. Life is a process and you only fail when you give up, right? Thank you for your friendship and welcome.

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Theresa Norman


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((((((trusty)))))) may I call you Theresa??? love that name..One of my favorites....and yes, I have had to realize with program tools, that yea, i was not perfect mom, noone is...but I did my best and honestly??? Now I can hold my head up and say "you did good...mostly you did good"....I liked what you said "you only fail when you give up" may i add to that that sometimes when we are totally powerless and we have NOTHING we can do about another person's actions, consequences, we sometimes do have to toss in the towel..I have a brother who is completely 100% drug addict, on the streets, using heroine, etc., I had to "let go" of him..Its like hes "gone" but the body is still, out there in the Los Angeles Streets living, but high and messed up on his drugs.....I had to let him go....do my grieving, like a funeral, he is so far gone, he can't even communicate sensibly to anyone...so in a sense, I had to (I don't want to say give up) but what IS giving up??? not on ME!!! Nope, NOT giving up on me!!! but there are people I've had to walk away from, take my hands off them, release me from them and give them over to their maker....is that giving up?? on them??? yea, in a sense, in that I had to cut him loose from my life...he is triggering for me in that he talks deviant stuff that is repulsive, to his SISTER!! he would talk devient , sexual stuff about him and women he hooks up with and I had to cut him out of my life.....I gave him over to his maker.....So in a scenario like THAT??? no!! giving them over is not a failure on my part....Giving up on ME, now that would be a tragedy because "ME" is all i got

I hope this post made sense, LOL

HUGS of support

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ROSIE,  a work in progress!!! 

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Trustytussy, I hope you will join us on the road to recovery!

My Narcissistic (late) Mom did the best she could, although it wasn't a lot.  I think most of my dysfunction came from her, not my alcoholic Dad.

Dropping the baggage of the past and changing stinkin' thinkin' is not an overnight process.  I still catch myself with resentments, judgments, etc., but I can usually stop myself before acting on it.

You may be interested in ACA's founder, Tony A.'s original Step 4:

We made a searching and blameless inventory of our parents because, in essence, we had become them.

Pull up a chair and join our experience, strength, and hope! 

In Recovery,

Princess K.



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Princess K.



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Great reading today in Strengthening My Recovery:

Nov17b.jpg



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In Recovery,

Princess K.



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Of course you may call me Theresa, mamalioness :) I am surprised that Im just now coming to this important resource and I appreciate you welcoming me. Mrs Snoopy, I did not realize there was a daily reading, so thank you for showing this to me. It fits perfectly with the aspect of recovery that I am concentrating on now.

Im the youngest of 3 girls by a wide margin (they were 9 and 11 when I was born, obviously I was a surprise baby). In fact, my mother had determined to divorce my father when she found out she was pregnant and decided to stay, thinking a drunk father was better than no father at all. I witnessed a lot of conflict and fighting as a small child, but by then my 2 sisters were teenagers (this was in the mid-60s) and that just made it easier to argue.

After the 2 sisters moved out and married, there was something of a cold war in our home, with my father losing jobs and my mother working to make up the difference. My father was funny and artistically talented, and amazing with the electronics of the time and able to fix anything, but he had had a very difficult situation growing up: his mother died when he was 3 (during the depression) and his father left him with various unwilling relatives while he went off to find work. My father was on his own by age 15.

My mother was the youngest of 3 as well and from what I can tell, she had a difficult relationship with her older sister. Her older brother was close to her but he went off to fight in WW II, then met and married a sweet girl from Minnesota, far away from Texas, and remained there. Now that I think abouot it, I can assume that perhaps he wanted to be away from his dysfunctional family. My mother developed a sarcastic, defensive attitude which I can now see I copied (I wish I had realized that much, much sooner!). But she was a hard worker, organized, able to sew anything, and willing to try new things (she took night classes to learn algebra and biology even though she struggled with what I now realize was dyslexia).

I had the unique experience at the age of 10 of watching my parents accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and resolutely try to change the patterns of the past. They worked at being loving and patient with each other (they were in their late 50s) and were devout church goers. Its understandable that they had many years of unhealthy patterns they werent able to completely undo, but they tried, especially expressing love and appreciation for each other, so in that, I have benefitted in seeing their sincere efforts to make the best of their lives. I dont feel to blame the two people who are my parents, but rather to admire them for wanting to improve and get out of those poor patterns the best way they could. We were close up until their deaths at age 78 and 88.

Thats a part of my story which I hope will assist you in getting to know me better and a springboard for my seeing a clear path to recovery and embracing the guidelines you have so generously shared with me.

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Theresa Norman


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Theresa, if you register on this site you will see the daily readings and our personal shares!  Lots more good stuff available to members! 

The ACA daily reader is Strengthening My Recovery (SMR).  I posted the readings for a year, now I am using Daily Affirmations by Rokelle Lerner.  There's lots of good stuff out there!  You can order SMR at https://shop.adultchildren.org/collections/books.

I am the eldest of two.  I don't believe my Mom wanted kids, but that was expected in her day and time.  My Dad was an alcoholic and stayed away from home, partying and womanizing.  I didn't know a lot of this until my Mom passed last April and I read through her papers.  I also learned that he did not support our family, my Grandmother did.

My parents divorced when I was seven, and Mom remarried when I was 12.  Suddenly I had four dysfunctional step siblings.  Arguments were constant.  The house was a revolving door with step siblings sent back to their Mom.

I disowned my Dad when I was 18, and we did not speak for 25 years.  He finally died of alcoholism in 1994.

My Mother went back to college in her 50s and got a Masters degree in counseling.  However, she never saw her own Narcissism and how it effected me.  We maintained a superficial relationship until she passed.

Although our stories differ, we take on a lot of the Laundry List characteristics to deal with the dysfunction.  You can read the List at https://adultchildren.org/literature/laundry-list/ and see how much hits home for you.

Please join us and share our experience, strength, and hope!

In Recovery,

Princess K.

 

 

 



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Hey Theresa, my sire and dam (they were't parents) were folks who should NOT have been given fertility...they were evil..wicked...especially him

He preyed on young girls, 13-17...they "looked like little women but were children, powerless little girls" and ANY LITTLE girl would do...even daughters, nieces, etc., he was a serial

I do hope there is a place specially awful in hell for folks like hilm..I'll be in recovery 4ever because of his molestations of me and my mother enabling him....she should have turned him in, reported him, but she needed her booze that he supplied her to keep her quiet and cooperative....then she had the NERVE to blame ME for his wickedness...it ruined my life, but I am determined to fight to get me back and I am, little by little

the losses i suffered because of the abuse, I don't want to think of them anymore....the opportunities, the love, the financial good jobs, I could have had, had I any self confidence, self esteem, the list goes on, but I try to focus on TODAY..what can I do TODAY to help me have a livable life????

We have our main board where daily we post stuff and share our experience, strength andhope...I hope to see you there..its easy to join...you click on the link and jump in....

acoa.activeboard.com/f94587/adult-children-anonymous/

hope to see you there...this site has helped me soooo much....

HUGS

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Mrs Snoopy, thank you for taking the time to explain some things. . .I thought I WAS registered, in order to get on and post. But I need to poke around a bit and find my way around the site--I appreciate your patience, and also your example of confidence to move forward despite the challenges life has thrown at you! 



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Theresa Norman


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You're courageous to share your past with me; I feel like compared to you I had a walk in the park growing up. I admire that you're committed to having a peaceful life despite what you grew up experiencing. I'll get more comfortable with the rest of the site and see you over at the main chat room. Thanks again!



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Theresa Norman


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Theresa, if you are registered and logged in you will see three forums; the first one has our personal shares.  If you are not logged in you will only see this Newbies forum.

Pull up a chair and join our experience, strength, and hope! 

In Recovery,

Princess K.

 



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Princess K.



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I really needed to read this today! The "I'm not good enough for my life/family" started to creep in this afternoon. I'm taking deep breaths and spending time in prayer as my kids are in the tub this evening. SO comforting knowing all of you are out there and I'm not alone or broken with all of these feelings.

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Thanks for sharing, RubySlippers. You are definitely not alone! We are here whenever you need us.

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Agreed!

We're here to share experience, strength, and hope!

Ruby, you are not alone.



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In Recovery,

Princess K.

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