Category: Relationships

Spilled_Wine

30 Traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics

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.

Common characteristics of adult children of alcoholics:

  1. Are unsure of normal behaviour, therefore, they have to guess at it.
  2. Experience difficulty with follow through.
  3. Often lie when the truth would be easier.
  4. Are their own worst critics, judging themselves harshly, and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  5. Have difficulty relaxing and having a good time.
  6. Often take themselves very seriously.
  7. Struggle with intimacy.
  8. May be rigid and feel a need to control things, including things that are out of their control.
  9. Have a high need for approval, acknowledgement and acceptance.
  10. Experience themselves as different from other people.
  11. Tend to have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and be concerned with others rather than themselves, or be irresponsible, with a tendency to be impulsive and fail to consider the consequences of their actions.
  12. Are loyal to a fault, even when it is not in their best interest or deserved.
  13. Spend a lot of time cleaning up their mistakes and beating themselves up for bad behaviour.
  14. Frequently feel self-loathing.
  15. Often feel out of control.
  16. May also have addictions.
  17. Have problems with relationships.
  18. Often have dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which they received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for them, or overly independent whereby they feel they have to do everything themselves as they cannot rely on support from anyone.
  19. Have difficulty with boundaries.
  20. Become isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  21. Become approval seekers and lose their identity in the process.
  22. Are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  23. Often become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfil their sick abandonment needs.
  24. Live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in love and friendship relationships.
  25. Get guilt feelings when they stand up for themselves instead of giving in to others.
  26. Become addicted to excitement.
  27. Confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people they can “pity” and “rescue.”
  28. Have “stuffed” their feelings from their traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express their feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  29. Alcoholism is a family disease, and they become para-alcoholics and take on the characteristics of that disease even though they did not pick up the drink.
  30. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

(Adapted from 13 Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics, Janet Woititz, PhD, and the Laundry List of traits from http://www.adultchildren.org).

If you feel you need help as an adult child of an alcoholic, there are various organisations around the world that offer programs of support.

We also have a pack of worksheets to help you identify some of the problems you may be experiencing as an adult child of an alcoholic, and suggested ways to help you resolve some of these issues.

This is available for FREE from our store.

People21
People22
People23
People24
People25
People26
People27
People28
People29
People30
People31
People32
People33
People35
People36
People01
People02
People03
People04
People05
People06
People07
People08
People09
People10
People11
People12
People13
People14
WomanSmiling

When Your Partner Says It’s Over; 7 Ways to Cope with Break-Ups

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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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?
    3. 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?
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.

What to Look For in a Soul Mate

How do you know when you’ve found your soul mate?

Some people will tell you that they “just know”, while others can identify several characteristics and reasons why they seem to perfectly mesh with their relationship counterpart.

For those of us who haven’t found a soul mate yet, there are things we can be looking for to speed up the process. There are always going to be things we like and dislike about others, but the true test is deciding whether or not we can lovingly accept the negative attributes.

Sometimes we care about someone very much, but discover that there is some factor that we simply cannot accept for one reason or another.

Here are some factors to think about when looking for a soul mate:

  1. Morals & Beliefs. Everyone comes with their own set of morals and beliefs. We all know that we should be open, honest, and accepting of others. But oftentimes when our core beliefs differ, it’s hard to have a lasting relationship. This is why you’ll want to have deep discussions about faith, morals, and beliefs with potential partners. If someone isn’t a fit at this deep of a level, you should seriously consider whether the relationship is even worth getting serious about.
  2. Communication. You’ll hear over and over that communication is the key. There are different ways of communicating and you need to figure out the best way to communicate with your partner. At the same time you need to know that you can live with this communication method. Some partners are big on talking, while others are more sensitive to nonverbal communication.
  3. Respect. Does the potential partner respect you, your body, and your family? You’re one of a kind, so you shouldn’t give yourself to just anyone. Make sure he or she takes care of you and your family. You’re worth it!
  4. Family. You need to mesh well with their family and vice versa. Discussions about family also include your hopes and dreams when it comes to your own future family. Do you want to get married someday? If so, how many kids would you like to have?
  5. Personality. Your personality plays a big role in deciding your compatibility with others. However, it’s always up for debate whether or not it’s best to be with someone with a similar personality or someone with an opposite personality. In this case, you’ll have to decide your own preference and see how it works out for you.
  6. Hobbies & Interests. It’s pretty certain that you won’t share every hobby and interest that your partner enjoys. However, it definitely helps the relationship when you have things in common. This will provide you with activities to do with each other in order to deepen your relationship. There will also be plenty of topics for conversation.
  7. Conflict. Even the most perfect couples deal with conflict from time to time. Both you and your partner need to learn the best methods to get through arguments effectively. Try not to lash out in anger, instead strive to understand your partner. Instead of playing the blame game, discuss your problems calmly. If your potential mate attacks you or consistently ignores your feelings, then it’s perhaps not a good fit.

Long Term Relationships

When you first meet someone, you may be attracted to his or her looks or personality. As you get to know each other better, you’ll be able to see the clues as to whether or not you’ve found your true soul mate.

Try not to rush things along because anything worth having is worth waiting for! At the same time, you definitely should be having deep conversations about future plans and beliefs at an appropriate time in the relationship. This way if you run into a snag and find out that you can’t be together, you won’t be as emotionally invested. After all, you don’t want to waste as much time in a dead end relationship.

You always have to keep your chin up and have hope. Keep looking with an open heart and mind, because everyone’s soul mate is out there somewhere.

Connecting Through Speaking the Same Love Language

Everyone needs to feel loved. It’s vital to know how you enjoy being loved, but also how to properly love others so they actually FEEL loved by you.  A doctor by the name of Gary Chapman became famous when he wrote a book called The Five Love Languages.


There is a basic breakdown of five different love languages to make it easier for us to identify how to express ourselves to our loved ones. Once you’ve figured out what your partner’s love language is you’ll be able to show them how you feel in a way that is fulfilling to them.

For example, let’s say that your partner likes to hear the words “I love you” often. Even though they know that you love them, just hearing the phrase can brighten their day. But perhaps you thought that you should express your love by buying little gifts. Your loved one likely appreciates the gesture whenever you show your love, but at the same time it’s not their personal preference of how they like to receive love.

The Love Languages Explained

  1. Verbal Lovers. Like the example above, some people just like to hear gestures of love such as “I love you” and “I appreciate everything that you do.” For this type of person, you’ll want to provide constant encouragement, never letting things go unsaid.
    • Try verbalizing your appreciations in some way each day.
    • Don’t assume your partner knows what you’re thinking and feeling – speak up!
  2. Time Well Spent. One of the love languages has to do with spending quality time with your partner. This doesn’t mean just casual conversation; it means the times where your partner is your main focus. If your partner enjoys quality time, here are some things to consider:
    • Choose a certain time each day or week where you’re completely dedicated to your partner. This means that you need to shut off the TV, put down the paper, and take some away from the kids.
    • Think of activities you can do together to really connect.
    • Make sure you have a good relationship with yourself; it’s the only way you can truly connect with your partner.
  3. The Gift Giver. Another love language is one where your partner may enjoy giving and receiving gifts. This isn’t because they’re greedy; it means they’re visual people who enjoy seeing proof of your deepening relationship. If you’re with this type of partner, try these tips:
      • Even if you’re a big saver, make the effort to spend at least a little money or make some homemade or handmade gifts.
      • Leave loving cards and notes for them.
      • Don’t give gifts everyday, but give gifts that are meaningful.
  4. The Chores. We can’t forget the chores when it comes to a language of communication between partners. Since there are many things that need to get done around the house, it often causes problems when you try to figure out who’s doing what. Keep these tips in mind:
      • Everyone has different chores that they deem important.
      • Figure out which ones your partner doesn’t enjoy and do them.
      • Chores involve thinking ahead, which your partner will certainly appreciate.
  5. Physical Affection. The physical affection love language can get complicated. Expressing your love physically doesn’t only mean lovemaking. It involves simple touches too. Each partner will usually have some kind of opinion when it comes to this language:
    • Figure out which kinds of touches your partner enjoys, it may be a gentle rub of their shoulders or some cuddling while watching television.
    • This is equally important; figure out which touches irritate your partner.
    • Get to know your partner’s moods so you know when to express physical affection.

The Combination

Your partner will likely speak a certain combination of these love languages. As your relationship deepens, you’ll get to know your partner better and better. It may even help to outright discuss the topic of love languages with your partner to better understand each other.

 

Further Reading/Resources

The Five Love Languages

Buy the book!