1. You feel like you are always guessing at what normal is.
  2. You have difficulty following through on things.
  3. You lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
  4. You judge yourself without mercy.
  5. You have difficulty having fun.
  6. You are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that loyalty is undeserved.
  7. You have difficulty with intimate relationships.
  8. You over-react to changes over which you have no control.
  9. You constantly seek approval and affirmations
  10. You tend to feel that you are different from other people.

(Taken from Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Garinger Woititz, Ed.D)

If this is you, you are not alone and you are not a hopeless case. Change is possible for you. Consider this list of 10 things you can put into practice right now  to begin to transform your reality.

  1. Stop “reading the room.” Give yourself permission to ask questions about what’s happening around you so you can stop guessing and begin to build a cognitive database of factual information
  2. A lot of promises were made in your home that just never were kept. You rarely if ever, saw anything completed. Give yourself permission to learn how to break tasks or goals up into smaller pieces, working to completion.
  3. Commit to telling the truth to yourself about what you are feeling. Then commit to telling that truth to others.
  4. No one is either all good or all bad. Be fair in your self-assessments. If you are going to point out your negatives, point out just as many positives.
  5. Hang out with some kids and join them in having fun. They will love it and you will have great models for what having fun looks like…and feels like.
  6. While loyalty is a good quality, what you are calling loyalty is really just fear of change. Learn to value yourself enough to let go of people who aren’t valuing you.
  7. The fear of rejection and abandonment gets in the way of developing a realtionship. Find a good counselor to help you work through these fears.
  8. When you were a child, life was outta control. Now when change is spontaneous or made abruptly, you get a rush of that dreaded childhood sensation of being out of control. Develop awareness of the physical signs preceding your overreactions to change so that you can de-escalate with calming statements and mindful breathing.
  9. Though you crave affirmation, it remains very difficult for you to accept. Practice accepting yourself by making positive affirmations each morning in the mirror. Say each one three times every morning for 21 days.
  10. Feeling different and isolated is part of your makeup. You’ve always believed friendship had to be earned. You’ll never feel like you belong until you believe you are worthy of acceptance. Working with a therapist on this issue may be the best route for you to find the self-acceptance that is key to all friendships.

As a therapist, I have worked with many Adult Children of Alcoholics to resolve these characteristics and create self-acceptance leading to more fulfilling relationships. If I can assist you on your journey, call me today at 855-255-5993 or email me at lchadrick@cosoulcare.com 

Posted by Lee Ann

Hi, I'm Lee Ann, an extrovert; perpetual learner; book collector; Jesus-follower; A “doer” in recovery; Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Greater Denver, CO

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