How to Know if You're an Adult Child- Part 2: The Other Laundry List | Episode 194
Although ACA started as Adult Children of Alcoholics, it is now referred to as Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families because whether your parents were addicts, alcoholics, chronically ill, mentally ill, militaristic, super religious, etc. any kind of family dysfunction can lead to the same set of traits. This week’s episode 194 of the Fragmented to Whole Podcast is part 2 of how to know if you’re an adult child- The Other Laundry List!
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Last week I shared what is referred to by the ACA fellowship as The Laundry List- the 14 traits of an adult child to describe the traits we as “adult children” take on as a result of our dysfunctional families. While the original laundry list describes how we are affected by alcoholism and family dysfunction, it does not mention how we might “act out” those traits by becoming victimizers and adopting the behaviors of our parents, and thus, the seed for The Other Laundry List was planted.
The 14 traits on The Other Laundry List include:
- To cover our fear of people and our dread of isolation we tragically become the very authority figures who frighten others and cause them to withdraw.
- To avoid becoming enmeshed and entangled with other people and losing ourselves in the process, we become rigidly self-sufficient. We disdain the approval of others.
- We frighten people with our anger and threat of belittling criticism.
- We dominate others and abandon them before they can abandon us or we avoid relationships with dependent people altogether. To avoid being hurt, we isolate and dissociate and thereby abandon ourselves.
- We live life from the standpoint of a victimizer, and are attracted to people we can manipulate and control in our important relationships.
- We are irresponsible and self-centered. Our inflated sense of self-worth and self-importance prevents us from seeing our deficiencies and shortcomings.
- We make others feel guilty when they attempt to assert themselves.
- We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb.
- We hate people who “play” the victim and beg to be rescued.
- We deny that we’ve been hurt and are suppressing our emotions by the dramatic expression of “pseudo” feelings.
- To protect ourselves from self-punishment for failing to “save” the family we project our self-hate onto others and punish them instead.
- We “manage” the massive amount of deprivation we feel, coming from abandonment within the home, by quickly letting go of relationships that threaten our “independence” (not too close).
- We refuse to admit we’ve been affected by family dysfunction or that there was dysfunction in the home or that we have internalized any of the family’s destructive attitudes and behaviors.
- We act as if we are nothing like the dependent people who raised us.
Both parts of The Laundry List come together to fill the gaps and describe the traits that adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families often carry with them.
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