This post describes what it’s like to grow up in an alcoholic family.
As the years go on, the baby raised in a stressful, inconsistent home environment develops a battle-ready Fight or Flight response, does not develop the natural ability to trust, and thrives on chaos simply because it’s so familiar.
When the child’s parent is alcoholic and self-centered, the child never gets help processing their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences–so they learn to ignore themselves and focus on the needs of others instead, as they were trained to do.
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Just like anyone (adult child, or not), if someone has issues that are unresolved, the relationship will be used, in some fashion, to process the issues.
That will often result in a short-lived relationship, but not always.
Find out if the person you care for has done any self-improvement work to deal with their childhood, whether therapy, a twelve-step group, lots and lots of reading, or some other, structured, form of working through the problems that a childhood with an alcoholic parents creates.
This comes primarily form the mother in the very beginning, who is supported by a loving, consistent partner.
It’s important from birth to around age 3 that the family environment maintains itself as loving and consistent–that is, free of chaos.
Parents who aren’t self-knowing, grounded, and ready to raise a child have trouble delivering consistent, loving and patient nurturing to their child.
The more inconsistency and chaos in the household, the more stress on the baby–which means more cortisol produced in the body. Stressed babies = babies that can’t develop the trust and calm that allows them to fully thrive.
I receive a lot of emails from people who are in a relationship with an adult child of alcoholics.
They are trying to understand the person they love, or are trying to love, but they don’t know how to decipher the code of adult children of alcoholics.