Codependency/ACA

Therapy for adult children of alcoholics can help separate what happened in the past from life right now and it can assist in learning how to trust yourself and others.


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If you grew up in an environment where one or both parents had a drinking problem, where secrecy, denial and isolation were the norm, you may have difficulty trusting others, struggle with feelings of guilt or shame, and tend to be overly responsible. If there were rules against talking about feelings and emotions at home, you may have difficulty expressing yourself or feel numb a lot of the time. Some people who grow up in alcoholic families struggle with poor self-esteem and develop codependent relationships.

Codependency is a relationship dynamic that involves putting others’ needs before your own, sometimes to your own detriment. Focusing on others, by being overly care-taking and/or approval seeking, becomes central to your life. You may have a low opinion of yourself and try to connect with others by becoming needed, yet still feel very alone. Codependency can also occur with other relationships, not just with an intimate partner.

Therapy can help you to understand how you learned to cope in your family and how those behaviors affect you now. With therapy, you can start to move the focus back to yourself, and discover what it is you really need and want. It can help you start to validate your own experience and self-worth, allowing you to create healthier relationships and a more fulfilling life.