This is by no means a judgement on parents who are alcoholics or addicted in other ways, as they have difficulties which have caused them to become addicts in the first place. But it does also need to be acknowledged that children who grow up in alcoholic homes often experience additional difficulties that can make their adult lives more challenging than for children who grow up in emotionally stable homes.
Janet Woititz, John Bradshaw, Claudia Black and many others have written and taught about issues related to adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) for decades. Nonetheless, as long as there are parents who have addictions, there will continue to be new generations of ACOAs.
Regardless of where you live, your social status, or your occupation, if you’re a human being you’re likely either involved in a close relationship or hoping to get into or out of one. The human condition is such that we strive to develop a close emotional connection with someone who we can spend our life with.
You’ll probably experience times when you’re with someone who wants to leave the relationship. Those words, “It’s over,” can be some of the most painful words you’ll ever hear.
These suggestions will help you cope with the loss of a love relationship:
- Acknowledge that the relationship has ended. You might have difficulty with the idea that you won’t be seeing or spending time with the person anymore. Admit to yourself that however you feel about him/her, it’s done.
- Process what happened. This step will be emotionally challenging, yet going through your “emotional file cabinet” of what has gone on in the relationship will ultimately help you get through the break-up. From your point of view, what happened?
- Ponder how the two of you related. It’s especially important to be realistic whenever you’re considering the most basic thing about the relationship—how you communicated with each other.
- How did you get along? Were there times you couldn’t adequately convey your thoughts and needs? Or that he couldn’t convey his ideas and wants to you?
- Be honest about what didn’t work between you. Although you might tend to get caught up in the emotional pain and angst of the ending of a relationship, it’s important to have your eyes wide open regarding the rough spots.
- Sure, maybe you both loved football and enjoyed eating Italian on Friday nights, but what didn’t you do so well together?
- It will be enlightening for you to get real about what wasn’t working between the two of you. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to draw conclusions about the relationship, which is necessary for you to move on emotionally.
- Baby yourself a bit. After all, you’ve been through an emotionally devastating event. Because you want to get through this trauma and live out your life with serenity and happiness, it’s perfectly acceptable to take time to engage in activities that bring comfort and solace.
- Be active even if you don’t feel like it. Whether it’s visiting friends or going for your morning jog, continue engaging in an active lifestyle to encourage your emotional healing. You’ll be invigorated by the physical regimen and it will serve to lift your mood.
- Draw your own conclusions. As time passes, you’ll notice you’re successfully “sorting out” what happened in your past relationship. And you’ll also see that you’ve formulated your own ideas about what actually occurred between you.
- For example: “Oh, we just didn’t agree on how a good relationship works” or “He just couldn’t accept that I wanted to spend time with my friends” or “I guess I tried to control how he spent his spare time and he didn’t like that.”
- Whatever conclusion you arrive at will help you enjoy healthy relationships in the future.
When you hear, “It’s over,” you might be emotionally immobilized. But if you apply these strategies, you’ll skillfully work through the break-up and arrive at your own ideas about why the relationship ended. Then, use that information to aid you in moving on with your life.
You can successfully cope with the aftermath of a lost love to discover your new and improved life that’s waiting.