While the confused man stands shell shocked, we can examine his fiancee’s perspective. He had his life together, treated her kindly, and wanted a future with her. Everything seemed to be going well, and although she’d never had a healthy relationship modeled for her, this seemed good.
Other times a person can have alcoholic parents and know it, but not understand the extent to which growing up in that environment affected them.
The feelings, personality traits, and relationship patterns that you developed to cope with an alcoholic parent, come with you to work, romantic relationships, parenting, and friendships.
They show up as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, stress, anger, and relationship problems.
If you grew up in an alcoholic or addicted family, chance are that it had a profound impact on you.
Loving someone whose parents are alcoholics is challenging and often unpredictable territory.
Amy Eden, an adult child of alcoholics and long time writer and teacher on the subject, offers insight into navigating the waters of being in love with an “ACA.” Have you heard the one about the confused man whose girlfriend of a year and a half suddenly got mad and left him? The skills that had served her so well in childhood weren’t working. We commit to someone who’s interested in us because we’re the ever-loyal children of dysfunctional, rigid parents, and then we buckle up and enjoy (or something) the feeling of rushing along, fast, on a course to…wherever.
It was too much to continue faking a perfect self, being pleasing, affable, not having needs, or sour moods. For people who grow up with an alcoholic parent, getting into relationships is like getting on a fast ride with a one-way ticket.
The lack of clear messages forced you to create many of your beliefs and values, rather than learning them through example.
Because your parents didn't consistently care for you in all the ways that a child needs care, you have had to do a lot of self' parenting.