Adult Children of Alcoholics or Dysfunctional Families - Characteristics:
1 Isolation, fear of people, and fear of authority figures.
2 Difficulty with identity issues related to seeking constantly the approval of others.
3 Frightened by angry people and personal criticism.
4 Have become an alcoholic yourself, married one, or both. A variation would be the attraction to another compulsive personality such as a workaholic. The similarity is that neither is emotionally available to deal with overwhelming and unhealthy dependency needs.
5 Perpetually being the victim and seeing the world from the perspective of a victim.
6 An overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Concerned about the needs of others to the degree of neglecting your own wants and needs. This is a protective behavior for avoiding a good look at yourself and taking responsibility to identify and resolve your own personal difficulties.
7 Feelings of guilt associated with standing up for your rights. It is easier to give into the demands of others.
8 An addiction to excitement. Feeling a need to be on the edge, and risk-taking behaviors.
9 A tendency to confuse feelings of love and pity. Attracted to people that you can rescue and take care of.
10 Avoidance of feelings related to traumatic childhood experiences. Unable to feel or express feelings because it is frightening and/or painful and overwhelming. Denial of feelings.
11 Low self-esteem. A tendency to judge yourself harshly and be perfectionistic and self-critical.
12 Strong dependency needs and terrified of abandonment. Will do almost anything to hold onto a relationship in order to avoid the fear and pain of abandonment.
13 Alcoholism is a family disease which often results in a family member taking on the characteristics of the disease even if they are not alcoholics (para-alcoholics). Dysfunctional relationships, denial, fearful, avoidance of feelings, poor coping, poor problem solving, afraid that others will find out what you are really like, etc.
14 Tendency to react to things that happen versus taking control and not being victim to the behavior of others or situations created by others.
15 A chameleon. A tendency to be what others want you to be instead of being yourself. A lack of honesty with yourself and others.
From Janet Woititz list:
...guess at what normal is.
...have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end.
...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
...judge themselves without mercy.
...have difficulty having fun.
...take themselves very seriously.
...have difficulty with intimate relationships.
...overreact to changes over which they have no control.
...constantly seek approval and affirmation.
...feel that they are different from other people.
...are either super responsible or super irresponsible.
...are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that loyalty is undeserved.
...tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self loathing, and loss of control of their environment. As a result, they spend tremendous amounts of time cleaning up the mess.