An article in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY on Adult Children of Alcoholics states, "Parents inflict so much pain on their families, they teach their children to suppress their emotions just to survive."- Stephanie Brown, founder of the Alcohol Clinic at Stanford Medical Center.
"Since the children are inculcated to deny the reality around them, they develop a resistance to talking about urgent, important, or meaningful aspects of life."
Brown adds that children of alcoholics may suffer depression, anxiety, and compulsions, all related to the grueling experience of growing up in such a home. Dealing with the legacy of disturbance means treating the traumatic stress, she says.
First and foremost, adult children of alcoholics “have issues with control.” That means they are afraid of others and have problems with intimacy; they harbor anxiety that if they lose control, they may become addicts themselves.
The most important emotional leap for such a survivor: Separating the past from the present. They must learn to realize that when they overreact to something now, “they are really feeling pain from the past.” Once they have that skill, they can start to move on.
Brown recommends psychotherapy for adult children of alcoholics, and states that group therapy may work extremely well. “When family distortion is the problem, groups are ideal for bringing that out.” Brown especially recommends seeking support from Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization or Co-Dependents Anonymous, which offer 12-step programs.
Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children