Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Are you an Adult Child?
In this post, Rising Rainbow discusses her experiences at an Adult Children of Alcoholics Meeting. I found her post very interesting and did some more reading. One website talks about “adult children” which is a label attached to people who grew up in dysfunctional homes. Just as Rising Rainbow found herself identifying with many characteristics (and I did too), I also found myself relating to the characteristics of an Adult Child. So I thought I would share –
Over the years, those who have studied the "adult child" phenomenon have compiled a list of common characteristics which many people who grew up in dysfunctional homes seem to share. The following characteristics were developed by Dr. Janet G. Woititz.
You may recognize some of them.
...guess at what normal is. (yep I do that)
...have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end. (yes and no – it depends on my level of anxiety and what the project is)
...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. (well, “lie” seems so harsh. I prefer the term “storytelling” J I will admit to a whole lot of storytelling as a child. Some was necessary to cover up my home life. Then I would get confused about what version I told which person, and would tell another story to cover up. Pretty soon I just made up crap willy nilly for no reason whatsoever. I would also become terrified when I did something wrong. Fairly typical with abusive parents. So I'd lie to cover things up. It’s a hard habit to break but I now value my honesty and try my best.)
...judge themselves without mercy. (guilty as charged)
...have difficulty having fun. (yes, I have to make a very concentrated effort to relax and have fun)
...take themselves very seriously. (I am a very serious person but I don’t value myself or my skills so I’m not sure if I take myself seriously)
...have difficulty with intimate relationships. (check)
...overreact to changes over which they have no control. (oh yes, that just drives the control freak in me bonkers)
...constantly seek approval and affirmation. (yep - do you think this blog post is okay? LOL)
...feel that they are different from other people. (I ~know~ I am different than others)
...are either super responsible or super irresponsible. (count me in on super responsible)
...are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that loyalty is undeserved. (not really)
...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. (I tend to overanalyze and not commit, so guess I’m the opposite of this).
So what do you think? Can you relate?
While I exhibit most of the characteristics, I do not particularly like the term “Adult Child.” I don’t think of myself as childish at all. I have trouble finding my inner child. I was an adult-like child for most of my life. I find it ironic that a person can be adult-like in so many ways, yet child-like in so many others. What are your thoughts?