||San Diego Therapist Specialties:
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Therapy and Treatment
Children of alcoholics have a secret. Outwardly, they look fine. They are in business or in a profession. They appear well-adjusted; being achievement oriented, they work very hard. Often their therapists tell them, "There is nothing wrong with you. You don't need therapy." Confused, they continue to achieve and create a fine outer appearance. Yet, the children of alcoholics seldom understand why their inner discontent continues to mount the more success they achieve.
The secret? They have a negative underlying belief, such as: "Something's wrong with me. If others knew, they wouldn't like me."
Children of alcoholics had a lot of needs go unmet. Thus, they have an inability to trust, an excessive sense of responsibility, and a denial of feelings which result in low self-esteem, depression, and isolation from others. Claudia Black, in her book, "It Will Never Happen to Me," identifies the three patterns most common in children of alcoholics.
- The Responsible One, also called the parentified child, assumes responsibility for running the household. Thus, this child learns to accomplish goals, but does not learn how to play or interact with equals. As an adult, this person is often rigid, serious, self-reliant, unable to trust or cooperate with others, and has a high need to control. This person is particularly at risk of also becoming an alcoholic.
- The Adjustor is extremely flexible. This person detaches emotionally, appearing relaxed and easy-going. However, there is no sense of power over one's own life. Thus, making decisions is difficult. They attract partners who need that flexibility and lack of boundaries, such as an alcoholic or addict.
- The Placator is eager to please and very sociable. This child feels responsible for their parent's drinking. These children grow up to serve in the helping professions. For more info, please see article on "Adult Children of Alcoholics".
Trauma therapists can help their clients let go of the survival roles, beliefs, and distressed emotions that are part of life with an alcoholic parent. They can finally move into adulthood free to grow and expand in healthy, balanced ways. Clients can learn to be comfortable in their own skin and with others, as well. Though many adult children of alcoholics have been seeking these goals for a long time, trauma therapy can enable them to clear the distress of the past and allow natural strengths to spontaneously emerge. Clients frequently report being amazed at their own progress.
Back to Psychotherapy Specialties for San Diego
San Diego Therapist, Adult Children of Alcoholics, ACA, shame, secrets