Living in an Alcoholic Home
in the home has long-lasting effects. Children of
alcoholics often learn to cope with unhappy childhoods in
ways that may cause problems for them later in life.
Learning about how alcoholism is affecting you can help
you build a better future.
Childhood Characteristics, Beliefs, and Patterns
Children of alcoholics often act in one of the following ways:
Children of alcoholics often believe that they are all alone, that no other families have these problems or that it is up to them to cure the parent. A child may take the blame for a parent's alcoholism -- or the parent may blame the child. As a result, many children of alcoholics not only feel unloved, but unlovable. Some of them suffer physical or sexual abuse, which reinforces this feeling. And because life at home is full of disappointments, broken promises and lies, the child learns not to trust, not to get too close to anyone and not to communicate in healthy ways.
Problems in Adult Life
Adult children of alcoholics often retain their childhood patterns. The super-responsible child may grow into an adult who demands perfectionism. The child who was the family's scapegoat may have legal or financial troubles throughout life. The child who used to adjust to anything may be passive and withdrawn as an adult. And the family clown may grow up to be entertaining, but irresponsible.
An adult child of an alcoholic may be anxious, may try to control events and relationships, may have trouble getting close to others, may be depressed or have stress-related health problems.
How to Get Help
If you are a child living in an alcoholic home, try doing these things: