who were raised in homes organized around chemical dependency or physical abuse may
display certain behavior characteristics. These behaviors may be the tip of the ice berg
of an underlying emotional or behavioral disorder that is damaging to the emotional and
spiritual well-being of the individual. The following list is intended to help you
identify the ways in which you may have been affected by familial alcoholism or physical
or sexual abuse.
have feelings of low self-esteem that cause us to judge ourselves and others without
mercy. We cover up or compensate by trying to be perfect, take responsibility for others,
attempt to control the outcome of unpredictable events, get angry when things dont
go our way, or gossip instead of confronting an issue. For example:
I find myself constantly finding fault with
I am hard myself, often to the point of self-hatred.
I make myself important to others by doing for them because I dont believe that
people could like me for me.
I continually think about maintaining the upper hand in any relationship.
tend to isolate ourselves and to feel uneasy around other people, especially authority
figures. For examples:
feel uncomfortable when people focus on me.
I lose my voice when I have to stand up for myself.
I isolate myself rather than getting
involved with groups of people.
are approval seekers and will do anything to make people like us. We are extremely loyal
even in the face of evidence that suggests loyalty is undeserved. For example:
worry about what others are thinking and saying about me.
My fear of rejection keeps from standing up for myself.
Its hard for me to admit that I came from a troubled home.
We are intimidated by angry people and personal criticism. This causes us to feel anxious
and overly sensitive. For example:
say what I think what other people want me to say rather than what I truly feel.
I avoid conflict at all costs.
I panic at the thought of somebody finding a mistake with me or my work.
habitually choose to have relationships with emotionally unavailable people with addictive
personalities. We are less attracted to healthy, caring people. For example:
always attract people who are unable to care for me the way I care for them.
I never seem to remain in a relationship for more than six months.
We live life as victims and are attracted to other victims iN our love and
friendship relationships. We confuse love with pity and rescue. For example:
I always come up short in the end.
I always listen to my friends problems but theyre never there for me.
We are either overly responsible or very irresponsible. We try to solve others
problems or expect others to be responsible for us. This enables us to avoid looking
closely at our own behavior. For example:
I am always the one who rescues my friends and family members.
No one cares as much about things as I do.
When things go wrong around me, I feel like its my fault.
We feel guilty when we stand up for ourselves or act assertively. We give in to others
instead of taking care of ourselves. For example:
I always doubt myself once I stand up for myself.
I have a great deal of anger inside of me because people walk all over me.
We deny, minimize, or repress our feelings from our traumatic childhoods. We have
difficulty expressing our feelings and are unaware of the impact this has on our lives.
I can barely remember anything about my childhood.
I often times am overcome with anxiety without knowing why.
I never act in a spontaneous, joyful manner.
When I start to feel things too much I look for some activity or substance to distract me
from experiencing my feelings.
We are dependent personalities who are terrified of rejection or abandonment.We tend to
stay in jobs or relationships that are harmful to us. Our fears can either stop us from
ending hurtful relationships or prevent us from entering healthy, rewarding ones.
When I believe someone is ignoring me, I blame myself.
If Im not praised for what Ive done, I assume I have displeased that person
and theyll no longer want anything to do with me.
Denial, isolation, control, and misplaced guilt are symptoms of family problems. Because
of these behaviors, we feel hopeless and helpless. For example:
I just wish that I could off myself and not be bothered by anybody.
Circumstances keep getting in the way of me having the kind of life I want.
I keep everyone from getting to know me.
I feel safest at home, shut off from the world.
We have difficulty with intimate relationships. We feel insecure and lack trust in others.
We dont have clearly defined boundaries and become enmeshed with our partners
needs and emotions. For example:
I feel threatened by the anger of those people who are close to me.
I can have sex with my partner but I cant get emotionally close to them.
We have difficulty following projects through from beginning to end. For example:
I put things off until the last minute.
I never seem to be able to get my house in order.
Im great at starting projects, but finishing them never happens.
We have a strong need to be in control. We overreact to change over which we have no
control. For example:
Im constantly on guard, always looking for ways that things can go wrong.
Im not good at delegating, taking over for everyone else.
We tend to be impulsive. We take action before considering alternative behaviors or
possible consequences. For example:
I settle for less than what I really want.
I always find myself in the middle of chaos, never understanding how I got there.
I agree to activities that I later regret agreeing to.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.