Book Recommendation – Grandchildren of Alcoholics by Ann W. Smith

Reading Time: 20 minutes

gcoa-coverGrandchildren of Alcoholics by Ann W. Smith is a great resource for people dealing with family dysfunction and personal issues as a result (known or unknown) of a Grandparent’s alcoholism. I believe that it can also apply to any kind of addiction in a family, as addiction does not just affected the addicted person, but everyone around them as well. I do not recommend this book as a condemnation of those who have struggled in the past, nor of those who are currently struggling with some form of addiction, but rather as a help for them and their family members. Addiction is one of many human struggles that can be overwhelming and so difficult to overcome. While I strongly believe that all issues, generational or otherwise, are best overcome by surrendering one’s heart and life to Jesus and trusting Him for deliverance and direction, I also believe that God has given us science and that there is much knowledge in the field of psychology that can be a great help as well. Below, I have included an excerpt of the book and I strongly encourage you to read it, especially if you know of alcoholism in your family’s past or present, and then purchase the book in it’s entirety if it resonates with you. The book can be purchased as an eBook for $5.95 by emailing rosanne@annsmith.com.

The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from the author. It can be found in the book starting on page 46. Please note that I have not been asked to write this recommendation, nor will I be compensated in any way. I had 3 grandparents that struggled with alcoholism and know first-hand the impact that it has had on my family and myself.

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Summary of Survey

Family Description

Several patterns appeared as Grandchildren responded to questions about themselves and their families. Although every home was unique, some extremely abusive, others appearing to be the “ideal” family, underneath it all the Grandchildren experienced very similar thoughts and feelings. The things these families had in common follow:

75% Never Told About Grandparent’s Alcoholism

Most Grandchildren had parents who drew a curtain on the past and did not ever talk about their family history in negative terms. Those who were told reported that it was too obvious to deny. When talking with GCoAs, it is amazing how little they know about the family they came from. Many are aware of alcoholic aunts and uncles and may have accidentally uncovered a grandparent’s addiction through a more distant relative. Some reported overhearing conversations or just putting pieces of the puzzle together over a period of years.

They made their discoveries as adults, most very recently, and remain fearful of bringing it up around their parents. When they begin a search for family history, they meet with resistance and fear in other family members and often discover that no one in the family has the whole picture. It is interesting to note that until they are questioned specifically about their families, most Grandchildren do not realize that they don’t know much. They have not even noticed that there is an absence of detailed information. They have never questioned why that is the case.

95% of ACoA Parents Did Not Acknowledge Being Affected by their Parents’ Alcoholism

Almost all of the parents of the GCoAs believed they could erase the past and be undamaged by childhood pain and abuses. They were especially insistent that the past would in no way affect the way they parent their children. They (the ACoA parent) felt that since the drinking person was no longer present in their home today, the problem no longer existed.

Many ACoAs never acknowledge, even in their own minds, that a parent was alcoholic, and so are unable to have insight about its negative effects on their childhood or adult life. They did not consciously deny problems. They, like the alcoholic, were “sincerely deluded”, believing that “It will never happen to me.”

The desire to maintain control at all times is a powerful force for the ACoA parent. They believe intellectually that they can think this through, learn from their parents’ mistakes and do it differently with sheer will power. They see healthy family life as something they can decide to do, and “pull off”, without any modeling, tools or training.

90% Report the Presence of Some Addiction Other than Chemicals in the Family

Although chemical dependency may not be present in the families of GCoAs, repressed feelings are acted out through “other”  addictions  and/or  compulsions.  The  ACoA  parent, who was raised with the model of compulsive behavior in both the addicted and the non-addicted parent, knows no other way to deal with the pain they were not able to express. They continue these patterns and bring them into their new family system as adults.

  • 64% reported workaholism as the most common compulsion in one or both parents.
  • 28% reported parents or siblings being addicted to food (many had both food and work).
  • Others identified cleaning (10%), spending (9%), perfectionism (9%), gambling (5%) and care taking (4%).

Workaholism is considered a “positive addiction” in today’s society and fathers who are ACoAs view it as “taking care of the family”. The GCoAs sees only the fact that a parent was absent and assumes that work is more important than children. The ACoA parents are concerned with doing the right thing, looking good to the world and doing a better job than their parents did.

Food may be seen as a means of soothing hurt feelings, and rewarding and celebrating good things. Often in dysfunctional families it becomes a means of nurturing oneself or others in the absence of the real thing. Many GCoAs talk about food being the center of their lives and family activities. Food was used to say “I love you”, “I’m Sorry,” “You did a good job”.

In time use of food as a sedative or mood elevator becomes progressively more compulsive. Family members may binge uncontrollably and struggle with compulsive overeating and obesity. Grandchildren may also use refusal to eat as a means of expressing repressed anger.

80% of GCoAs Were Told Repeatedly that They Had a “Good Family”

GCoAs were often told verbally and directly that their family was special. Several were told they were better than other families, e.g., more fortunate, had better parents, a happier home, better education, etc. They were told how lucky they were that they had everything they needed. They were reminded that “We don’t fight”, “We don’t drink” like those other people. Most Grandchildren reported an “over-kill” of family praise to the point where it was no longer believable. Image and outward appearance were vitally important and protected.

Pride, loyalty and family unity were well taught. Many described the mandatory family gatherings, vacations, outings, etc., with no regard for personal choice. Family mottos were shared, for example, “We can beat anything together”, “If we can’t help each other, no one else will”, “It’s us against the world”.

Many GCoAs sensed the contradiction between what they were told, and what they saw and experienced but were not able to express this.

20% of GCoAs Felt Loved, Despite the Fact that 80% Were Told They Were Loved, and 54% Had “Loving Things” Done in their Families

Words of love were spoken in most of the GCoA families and yet very few felt or believed this love. The ACoA parents made sincere efforts to act loving and to say the right things, but were incapable through expression of their own vulnerability to be intimate with their children. Their loving acts were usually in the form of material things, vacations, over-attentiveness or over-protecting which they viewed as overt expression of their affection for their children. These efforts were interpreted by the GCoA as an attempt to pacify or buy them off, rather than spending time actually getting to know them as unique persons. Parents were so busy “doing it right” that they neglected the emotional needs of  their children. Although the GCoA in some cases knows intellectually that their parent loves them, they are unable to feel it internally, “in their gut”. They are eager to give parents credit for their effort to do it, but have to admit that it often didn’t “get in” for them.

The ACoA fear of abandonment prevents him or her from risking with their child by asking questions like “What do you need? How do you feel?” because they fear that they will not be able to handle the answer. If a child responds by saying “I need you to accept me for who I am”, the parent has no idea how to do that, since they have never experienced such acceptance themselves.

More important than the praise for accomplishments and achievement is how the parent reacts to a child’s failures or “down” times. These are the moments children remember when they question whether they were loved. Many GCoAs lived with perfectionistic, critical parents, who with the motive of love, tried to mold character and protect their children from future problems by constantly teaching and correcting. The result is that the child feels the effort of the parent and interprets this as “They would love me if only I were better. It must be my fault.” The truth is that love will not be accepted or “absorbed” unless it is given unconditionally.

Characteristics of The Adult Grandchild of an Alcoholic

As a group Grandchildren strongly resemble Adult Children of Alcoholics. 97% identify with the standard lists of ACoA Characteristics. Prior to completing the questionnaire for my research, all had either read or heard a description of the Adult Child from an accepted authority in this field. Many were baffled by the fact that they so closely related to the ACoA “syndrome”. The list of characteristics will probably be shared by some ACoAs, especially those raised in “looking good” families. However, they are more familiar to Grandchildren and are designed to give them something to identify with so that they may begin to connect their present with their past.

1. Distorted Family Image

GCoAs have distorted images of their own families, unable to see anything wrong, despite evidence to the contrary. Grandchildren often rave about how good their childhood was, while they themselves are dysfunctional as adults. Those who make it to AA or Al-Anon through their own or a loved one’s addiction, find they do not identify with others from troubled homes, and frequently talk about how good they had it as children. They are not able to attribute any of their present difficulties to their family background.

They become positively deluded with “rose-colored glasses” and may develop a pattern, similar to the Adult Child who does not notice dysfunction or insanity around him. They are accustomed to living in two realities, and inside one and an outside one, and no longer trust their own instincts. They can smile and say things are great when they are really hurting inside.

Because of this learned ability to ignore pain, they may be surrounded with people in crises and believe they are unaffected by it. They do not seek help because they do not have a problem. In their intimate relationships Grandchildren may find themselves taking the role of the “all-together” one who others depend upon. They may also appear arrogant or superior and find themselves isolated because they look “too good”. In their marriages, GCoAs may be overly defensive about their families, unwilling to admit to even slight human flaws. 76% identified with having a distorted family image.

2. Self-Blaming

When their lives become unmanageable, they blame themselves (66%). Without the connection to the past, which many Adult Children have, the GCoA may attribute their problems, character defects and poor choices to their own inability to function as an adult. They look back and see a seemingly healthy family system, parents who did their best to prepare them for the world, and they conclude, “There must be something wrong with me.” Some of the comments of GCoAs demonstrate this.

  • “I felt I was the only sick one in the family.” “I was crazy; they were normal.”

  • “I was treated like an outcast by my family. Everyone looked okay but me. I believed it was my fault, and so did they.”

  • “I believed if I could only be more like them, more together, more successful, I would be all right.”

  • “I felt my family was loving and caring. It must be my fault if I felt different or acted out.”

  • “I could never share my pain, ask for help or comfort because I was told I was to blame for my own problems, and I knew my mother would be so ashamed.”

These Grandchildren know that the self-esteem of their families and their parents depends on how they perform and therefore feel a great deal of shame at not bringing pride to the family. Many were given the message as they were growing up that their parents could not, or would not, handle the guilt of having made any mistakes, so the GCoA assumed full responsibility for turning out less than perfect. In adult life when they find themselves married to a chemically dependent person, or having an addicted child, they blame themselves and are reluctant to even share these problems with their parents and siblings for fear of judgment or criticism.

3. Good At Forming Superficial Relationships

Eighty percent of GCoAs are very good at forming superficial relationships but struggle with anything resembling intimacy. Chemically dependent families, out of necessity, keep many secrets about family history, skeletons in the past and about who they really are as people. Children with critical parents learn at a very early age that it is not safe to be who you are, and will begin to figure out what is acceptable, silencing the “real person”, as young as two or three years old. Coming from low self-esteem, they learn to present to the world what they think it wants to see. The result is that a pseudo-self is created to protect the fragile self-esteem and gain the approval necessary for survival.

Grandchildren have been skillfully trained in this deception and become capable of convincing others that they are seeing the real thing. In relationships they will give just enough information to others to keep them around, but no one ever gets the whole picture.

“I had many friends as a child, and even as an adult, but I don’t believe anyone really knew me. I only presented them with the positive side of me and was there as a support to them. I could talk and talk socially, but never really said anything important about myself. I was in a crowd, but always alone.”

“All my life I was surrounded by people from alcoholic families. All my friends were struggling with something. I believed I came from a happy home and I could help them. This was the pattern of all my relationships and still is. I am the okay one who doesn’t need anything.”

If the GCoA lived in a home where intimacy was replaced with sociability, caretaking and image-consciousness, it follows that they would become skilled in these areas. Unless intimacy is modeled and a part of a healthy family system, children will be unable to create genuine intimacy. They may, in an attempt to connect and fit in, create pseudo-intimacy, mimicking the behaviors of true emotional connection, but having none of the feelings nor the ability to take the risks necessary for healthy relating.

4. Difficulty Asking For Help

Grandchildren of Alcoholics have extreme difficulty asking for help (90%). To the GCoA the mere fact of needing help means that they have done something wrong and should be able to fix it themselves.

Growing up with ACoA parents, most Grandchildren sensed the difficulty their parents had with considering even the possibility that their family resembled the one they came from. The game became “Let’s pretend we are all happy, healthy, honest, open.”

When children care for their parents, they naturally want to please them. If Mommy appears overwhelmed with guilt or disappointment when I bring her a problem, I won’t have very many problems or I will learn not to tell her about them.

Grandchildren of alcoholics have not been asked what they need and have not learned to express their needs to others. Needing is seen as dependency and weakness, something to be ashamed of and avoided. Asking for help suggests that there is something wrong with you or with the family. Often a parent will react by trying to fix the problem, giving quick answers, rather than allowing the child to learn from his or her mistakes, feeling supported through this process. ACoA parents have difficulty letting their children think for themselves and may out of their own need to control and prevent pain, sabotage this necessary step in the developmental process. The result for the GCoA is an inability to include the input and help of others when addressing difficult problems.

5. Struggle with Compulsive Behavior

Compulsion (defined here as repeated action without choice) is common in Grandchildren of Alcoholics. Of those surveyed 81% report struggling with compulsive behaviors, for example, food, sex, work, relationships, smoking, spending, chemicals. As with their parents, the most frequently mentioned are work and food.

In any family system where feelings are repressed, they must be acted out behaviorally. When addiction to chemicals skips a generation, it does not eliminate the environment which is fertile for addiction. The family system continues to maintain the characteristics of a chemically dependent family and will support any addiction. Even if the addictions in the home are seemingly positive ones, like workaholism, the ACoA parents have modeled compulsive behavior, which is then picked up by the GCoA.

Ironically, despite the determination of Adult Children of Alcoholics to prevent alcohol abuse and addiction in their children, often they will have several or all of their children become chemically dependent. They cannot overcome the hereditary nature of the disease and are inclined to over-react and blame themselves when the disease appears in their children. It has frequently been said that what parents do not deal with from their past, their children will continue to play out in their lives. This is apparent in the numerous addictions of Grandchildren of Alcoholics, who may carry a heavy burden of guilt for becoming dysfunctional out of a seemingly healthy family.

6. Tend To Be Secretive

Without any conscious awareness, GCoAs tend to be very secretive (86%). One person reported, “I tend to keep secrets myself. I knew I’d be in a lot of trouble if I ever talked about any of this.”

Another describes her family, “They had secrets about things that were totally unimportant, who they were going to vote for, religious beliefs, age, etc., and also things that were very painful, especially when someone died, sexual things and alcoholism in general. I never quite knew what they were protecting, but I knew I shouldn’t talk about these things.” When questioned about their family histories, many GCoAs are surprised to discover how little they have been told.

The need to be secretive arises when there is the threat of abandonment, violence or serious harm if painful things are discussed. This is ingrained and becomes automatic to the ACoA, who then parents his or her children with this behavior. The need to protect each other from the truth is no longer as powerful, but children can sense what is upsetting and therefore taboo to their parents and will not feel free to talk openly as a result. They learn to share only what they must and rarely share outside the home. No one in the family acknowledges that this exists and children assume it is the “right” way to be, and so it continues as a way of life for the GCoA. As an adult the GCoA has learned to function without “telling it all” to anyone. Painful events may come and go without even being mentioned to loved ones. It becomes easier to talk about neighbors, weather, news and other people’s problems than about how one feels. The “trick” to this way of living is to stay very active and “busy” to avoid intimate moments with family or friends. While avoiding the pain and discomfort, however, the GCoA also misses out on the joy of being known and accepted by another human being.

7. Prone To Episodes of Depression and Anxiety

Eighty percent of GCoAs report cyclical episodes of depression and/or anxiety. The unresolved pain and anger of the ACoA often shows itself in the form of unpredictable mood swings, much like that of the active alcoholic.

When listening to a description of the family of a Grandchild where no drinking was present, it is often difficult to detect any difference between the Co-dependent family and the chemically dependent family. Many GCoAs live in fear of the emotional outbursts, rage and irrational mood swings of their parents.

The depression described by Grandchildren of Alcoholics is generally not severe “clinical depression.” It is also not “situational depression”, a reaction to negative circumstances. It appears that with the emotional repression in the family of origin, GCoAs have little or no release from anger, grief, hurts, etc., and turn these feelings inward. Over a period of years this repression, particularly of anger, shows itself in cyclical “down” periods, perhaps not extreme downs but a general feeling of powerlessness, isolation and sadness. These episodes, lasting days, weeks or even months, may be precipitated by a simple mistake, a minor disappointment or nothing at all. They may disappear as inexplicably as they appear.

The negative judgment of themselves, believing “I shouldn’t feel this way”, only pushes the GCoA further into the pain. They believe that unless the circumstances of their lives are as bad as other people, they have no right to their feelings.

The way out is not only learning to express the anger and other feelings, but also to become more accepting of themselves when they are “down”, rather than looking for a justifiable explanation. If there were such an explanation, it would not lift the depression any sooner. Another important learning for many GCoAs is that above all else, they need to start talking about their pain.

Similar to the depressive cycle, Grandchildren report waves of anxiety which may range from momentary fears to full-blown panic attacks with the accompanying physical responses.

One GCoA shared, “I grew up anxious. I remember from childhood the phrase most often used when coming home from school, especially if I was late, I would go and find my brother and ask ‘Is Dad mad?’”

Another shared, “The only person allowed to express anger in my home was Dad. He could go crazy and we would all try to keep him happy. If one of us kids got mad, Dad’s feelings would be hurt and he wouldn’t talk to us for weeks. We learned not to get angry.”

Many alternately experience anxiety and depression. They begin to build their lives around their fears, fears which may have been present since childhood. Excessive worry about events to come can deprive them of the moment they are in. When good things come, they have been warned by their ACoA parents not to trust them and so they sabotage the good in their lives by expecting it to disappear.

All children have fears but the response of the ACoA parent to that fear can frequently determine how long and how intense the feeling will be. The over-protective parent, working hard to “do it right”, actually creates worry and fear by modeling it and teaching a child to be too careful.

The chemically dependent family generally lives by the axiom “If it feels good, do it compulsively. If it is uncomfortable, run the other way!”

As adults GCoAs will carry the childhood fears but go underground out of shame, covering their pain, adjusting their lives to avoid what frightens them. The outcome is a general fear of losing control, of becoming powerless, which of course happens to most of us every day.

The anxiety may grow, turning itself into cyclical panic attacks, which prevent normal functioning, e.g., leaving the house, driving a car, etc. This pattern can be one of extreme dependency, thus engendering a false sense of power and control over loved ones, who must become caretakers and protectors

8. Strong Family Loyalty

Family loyalty is a powerful force in any chemically dependent system. 73% of GCoAs fear being disloyal to parents and family by admitting that their home life was less than ideal. 78% discount how poorly they were handled as children and give parents credit for “trying” rather than for what they actually did. Maintaining the myth that “We are a good family” (meaning, we have no problems) becomes of prime importance to some Grandchildren. They find themselves frequently defending their parents and siblings to others, even in a therapy setting.

One GCoA remembers breaking the family rule of don’t talk negatively about the family. “The one time as an adult I dared to express my opinions about my family, my sister became angry and said ‘Your perceptions are not accurate’.

“This is the story of my life. I needed their approval more than I needed to be honest with myself, so I decided I must have been mistaken.”

Many GCoAs struggle in treatment with their resistance to admitting there was something wrong. They also have difficulty believing that it was “that bad” when they compare their lives with ACoAs who had more visible trauma. When they do share openly, they feel a great deal of guilt and question whether they are exaggerating and misrepresenting how it was. Many who are in recovery, report overcoming this guilt with help and in time.

9. Shame For Being Chemically Dependent

Grandchildren who are recovering from chemical dependency (34% of those surveyed) experience extreme shame for bringing the disease back into the family (65% of the recovering people identified this as an issue). In many ways they feel worse for what it (their addiction) has done to their parents than what it did to them personally.

One stated, “Along with my low self-esteem and self-loathing, I could not even keep a low profile and become invisible as I wanted to do so badly. I felt I was a shame, a contaminator in the family.”

Many have never told their families of their recovery and carry this secret for fear of their family’s reaction.

One who involved her mother said, “When I went into treatment, my mother said to me, ‘We can take care of this in the family, don’t go’. Thank God, in my illness, I could be honest enough to know that was impossible!”

In addition to dealing with the fear of family rejection, GCoAs have difficulty accepting alcoholism as a disease. Without a visible alcoholic parent, they believe they have brought this on themselves. In addition to the sense of moral failure often accompanying this disease, the GCoA carries the burden of bringing alcoholism back into the family after it has skipped a generation. They also may feel the burden of guilt for making their parents “look bad” or inadequate as parents.

Discovering an alcoholic grandparent often provides relief from the self-blaming and acceptance of their powerlessness over the disease. Without the moralism and judgments of themselves as bad people, their chances for long-term sobriety are improved and they are more able to use AA with a sense of belonging, believing they have a right to be there.

The information gathered to compile this list of characteristics of Grandchildren of Alcoholics is by no means complete. Since it may be the first time these questions have been asked, it is my hope that it will stimulate interest in more thorough research of a more scientific nature.

Problem Areas in The Adult Lives Of Grandchildren

When questioned about areas of difficulty in their present lives, Grandchildren strongly resemble Adult Children of Alcoholics. However, one major difference may be that they did not know that these problems were related to the presence of alcoholism in the family. Many Grandchildren assumed that this was just the way “people” were and there was nothing unusual about it. For the most part, GCoAs had no trouble identifying the issues they are struggling with today. These are the major problem areas for Grandchildren:

1. Difficulty With Relationships – 63% Identified

Most GCoAs reported general problems with maintaining healthy relationships. The issues of intimacy, trust and identity are problem areas for Grandchildren. Also reported were frequent relationships with chemically dependent persons, i.e., spouses, children and lovers. Grandchildren, who have had little or no modeling for healthy communication, sharing feelings, negotiating, decision-making within an intimate relationship, attempt to duplicate the external appearance of health and do not experience the positive outcome they seek.

Like their ACoA parents, they expect an intimate relationship to give them self-worth and a feeling of security. They tend to pair up with individuals who have a common history and are also looking for things a relationship cannot really provide. In this case, two halves do not make a whole, and the GCoA is left believing that they must try harder, and begin the effort to control and change the other person, or that they themselves are not capable of intimacy and give up entirely.

2. Out of Touch with Feelings – 55% Identified

Many grew up in family systems where they were rarely, if ever, asked “How do you feel?” Many instead report hearing more often, “Don’t feel that way!” Again, modeling was not present; the language of feelings was not taught. The outcome for Grandchildren was that they learn to mimic feelings or simply disclaim them.

Among persons who struggle with this issue, there are several variations. Some report feeling very little, a numbness and inability to experience even the physiological sensations associated with feeling. In many respects they have lost, through atrophy, their ability to react to the stimuli around them.

Others report having the physical responses: butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, blotchy neck, blushing, etc., but do not have the language to describe their feelings nor the ability to distinguish one from another.

The GCoA who is out of touch with feelings may be unable to have intimacy until he/she begins to identify her/his feelings.

3. Poor Self-Worth – 59% Identified

The low self-worth of GCoAs may at times be better disguised than their ACoA counterparts. They have learned how to look okay even when they don’t believe it themselves. Without appropriate help, they go around in circles adjusting and re- adjusting their “outsides” to be more acceptable to the world, only to find that with their first mistake, they fall apart. Feelings of inadequacy and self-blame prevail with the added shame that “I should be okay. There is no reason for me to feel like this, therefore, it’s wrong.” When poor self-worth is not acknowledged, it becomes a big secret which must be kept at all costs. Thus the cycle of trying harder to look okay. One outward sign of low self-worth for GCoAs may be a defensive posture, even when it is inappropriate or unnecessary. They have difficulty admitting any personal or family fault, and may overly defend unimportant issues. This “protesting too much” is a sure sign of the inner conflict.

“If you find out that I have a fault, you won’t want any of me” (i.e., total abandonment). This fear is a direct result of living with the conditional love of low self-worth parents.

4. Feel Angry a Lot – 43% Identified

This area is one of major concern to ACoAs in treatment and is a serious problem area for Grandchildren as well. They consistently report not being permitted to express anger, and yet watched one or both parents express rage regularly. Many are able to contain the anger while in the family setting but begin to “ooze” inappropriately when they begin an independent adult lifestyle.

Rage is not an everyday response to a healthy person. Anger stays at the level of irritation and annoyance unless a major tragic event occurs to stir up rage. GCoAs have developed an ability to discount minor annoyances until the “last straw” causes them to blow up without cause or explanation, possibly doing serious harm to their interpersonal relationships or jeopardizing their jobs. The anger they are expressing is not over the minor incident at hand, but over the years of being a “victim” who was not allowed to express anger without increasing problems at home.

They may also be unconsciously carrying the unexpressed anger of their parents who were trying so hard to look good. These parents may have viewed any expression of anger as a sign of dysfunction, believing that happy couples and families don’t fight. What parents don’t deal with from their past, their children inherit and play out in their lives.

The negative consequences of feeling angry range from strained relationships, to ulcers, to child abuse. GCoAs feel helpless to relieve this inner “burning” and need a safe setting in which to effectively discharge anger from the past. This process will be explained in more detail in Chapter 5.

Summary

GCoA Family Patterns

  • Most Grandchildren of Alcoholics were never told about their grandparent’s alcoholism.
  • Their ACoA parents did not acknowledge the negative effects of living with alcoholism.
  • Addictions other than chemicals were present, especially work and food.
  • Most Grandchildren were repeatedly told they had a Good Family.
  • A small number of GCoAs feel the love their parents attempt to express.

Characteristics of Grandchildren Of Alcoholics

In addition to the standard lists of ACoA characteristics, Grandchildren identify:

1. Distorted family image – seeing only the good in their families.
2. Self-blaming.
3. Good at forming superficial relationships – struggle with intimacy.
4. Difficulty asking for help.
5. Struggle with compulsive behaviors
6. Tend to be secretive.
7. Prone to episodes of depression and anxiety.
8. Strong family loyalty.
9. Shame for becoming chemically dependent.

Major Problem Areas Reported By GCoAs In Adult Life

  • Difficulty with relationships.
  • Out of touch with feelings.
  • Poor self-worth.
  • Feeling angry a lot.

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End of excerpt. I hope this blessed you as it has blessed me and, perhaps, helped you to understand some of the struggles you have in this life. Please considering ordering a copy of the eBook for yourself for $5.95 by emailing rosanne@annsmith.com.  There are also used copies available at amazon.comthriftbooks.com, and alibris.com.

~ Cindy

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