Children are deeply affected by the addictive drinking or using of adults in the house.
They learn co dependent behaviors of denying the existence of the problem and not talking about or confronting the drinking.
Consequent to the environment at home the children develop different compensating personalities.
Inhibited – they live with anxiety and guilt blaming themselves for their parent’s using, and anxiety regarding anticipating behaviors. In adulthood they suffer from Generalized anxiety
High Functioning- they work extra hard at school, push themselves many times multitask by working to support the rest of the family and studying.
Externalising– wherein psychopathic behaviors develop in childhood, like abusiveness, criminal tendencies, cruelty to animals, bullying, poor adaptive abilities, indulging in usage of drugs and alcohol as a reaction to situations at home.
Emotionally dysregulated develop mental ailments as a maladaptive behavior , are unable to regulate emotions , have history of physical or sexual abuse as a child. Many children do face also sexual molestation at the hands of an alcoholic parent who is under the influence of alcohol. they can also grow up to get into relationships that are dominating or abusive.
SomatisationMany times stress manifests in physical forms with the child or adult coming down with physical ailments .
They grow up with the following destructive traits
Denial– the problem is hidden or not addressed . So they believe that families do not discuss emotions and they do not learn how to deal with them
Guilt– they grow up thinking they are responsible for the parents drinking/using. They become people who take on a lot of self blame, self pity and guilt of going through emotions of anger and pain.
Fear of anger– Children of alcoholics grow up into adults who are afraid to articulate what they feel our of the insecurity that expressing anger or emotions would result in the person leaving or be pushed to use alcohol and drugs. To be able to safely express themselves his the crux of the treatment..
Relationships- Growing up , the adult child of an alcoholic/addict who is untreated gets into relationships with people who are emotionally unavailable or with people who are themselves addicted to alcohol or drugs.
They find it very difficult to identify their own emotions. As brushing emotions under the carpet was the norm growing up and issues were never spoken about in the open, any conflict induces fear of the relationship breaking up . This results in the person becoming a people’s pleaser ; a person who is a care giver , multi tasks and manages things so that there is no conflict . Thus the need to control also develops in a life that one has other wise no control over. The emotional suppression that develops results in
Some co dependent children also tend to grow up to be emotionally unavailable themselves and compensate by becoming over achievers.
Under the above circumstances treatment of co dependent children of those addicted to alcohol and drugs is extremely essential as these traits carries froward to a lifetime affecting other lives consequently.
Treatment is Counseling in a loving accepting safe non judgmental environment . Adding Meditation to the process takes a direction which is constructive and self transformative .