Alcoholics and their family members tend to focus on the individual. They believe that it’s only the person who is drinking is affected. Unfortunately, this is not true.
Alcoholism goes beyond the addict – it greatly affects all those around the individual – spouse, parents, children – even co-workers and neighbours.
However, children are most vulnerable and most impacted.
Children of alcoholics develop long-term psychological and emotional problems. They carry the pain of growing up in an alcoholic family throughout their lives. The negative effects of an alcoholic parent affects their adulthood relationships and self-image.
Children of alcoholics constantly worry about the situation at home. They live in fear that something terrible is going to happen to their alcoholic parent. Moreover, they witness repeated fights or violence between parents – this further aggravates their anxiety.
This constant anxiety makes them incapable of having fun and enjoying life. They may carry this state of anxiety into their adult lives and continue to live in fear even when there is no cause.
Some children often feel they are responsible for their parent’s drinking problem, which, in turn, causes them to seek approval from others. Children of alcoholics become eager to please everyone and are not able to face any criticism. They become servile and people-pleasers in situations. In some cases, this guilt may trigger a feeling of helplessness and depression.
Their alcoholic parent’s behaviour causes the child to feel embarrassed. They try to hide the reality from their friends and relatives. They avoid inviting friends over at home. They do not share their real emotions, pretending that all’s well at home. They do not ask for help. They avoid others in a bid to hide their situation and therefore find it hard to form relationships. Even when they grow up, they feel they should not share openly and find it difficult to establish meaningful friendships. They feel different and lonely.
Children of alcoholics grow up with feelings of distrust and resentment against both parents. They are likely to feel anger towards the addicted parent for causing problems in the family, while feeling bitterness toward the non-alcoholic parent for doing nothing to change the situation. In most cases, they carry this anger throughout their lives. This innate anger adversely affects their adult relationships.
Alcohol abuse destroys families. Alcoholism drastically and adversely affects the harmonious family dynamics, causing long-term damage to all. However, it’s never too late to stop the situation from getting worse and start a process of healing. Get in touch with rehabs for alcoholism treatment and family support for rebuilding relationships.