this is not allowed - life is only about 

   disappointment & suffering.  Relaxation, 

   vacation & fun are only for others  ('Work is

   never done')  Also, we must never be happier

   than one’s parents or siblings

   OR to compensate - become addicted to

   stress & danger (adrenalin / fear) as the only 

   form of excitement possible


   an addiction to extremes, especially the

    adrenalin rush of dangerous people & stressful 

    situations, considering calm living as boring!



   everything is our fault, even when we have no

   control over a person or situation (narcissistic 

   point of view), OR  nothing is our fault - it’s

   always someone else who is the problem

EXPECTATIONS (unrealistic)

   too much OR not enough - not able to allow 

   self or others to have both strength &

   weakness or to weigh their plusses against  

   minuses, BUT also don’t hold people to  

   acceptable standards, ie. to be responsible,  

   respectful, caring, capable, thoughtful -

   toward us


   not allowed to receive them - don't deserve
   any & also for fear of being obligated. Not

   knowing what to give others from family not 

   being accepting, not good at observing &

   evaluating others’ tastes, & from fear of

   being rejected


   the emotion experienced when doing

    something wrong ie. breaking any deeply

    held belief.   So, everything is our own fault,  

    especially the alcoholism. Creates great fear 

    of disobeying family rules, no matter how  

    harmful or ridiculous we know them to be!


   low self-esteem, harsh & judgmental, negative 

   about everything, feeling like a fraud, feeling 

   different from everyone else, not knowing

   who we are (no matter how accomplished) !


   convinced we know what others need or are

   thinking, esp. about us, and expecting them

   to know what we need - without telling them -  

   to prove that they really care


‘Laundry List’ of ACoA Characteristics


   compulsive activity - keep very busy to numb

   emotions, to prove we’re not incompetent, to

   deal with anxiety  OR  afraid to act - fear of

   making a mistake, make the wrong choice, not

   allowed to know what what we want, fear of

   disapproval / rejection


   difficulty expressing it, fear of rocking the

   boat, of being rejected, of losing control --

   deny anger at abuse & neglect in childhood

   OR always in a rage about something, easily

   set off,  overreact to normal circumstance,

   take  everything personally


   obsessed with getting & maintaining it, focus

   always on appearance & what others think, 

   bottomless well of neediness, nothing is ever 
   enough, BUT not recognizing or accepting when 

   approval, admiration & respect are received


   fear of being dominated, resent being told

   what to do, not trusting anyone's competence

   to lead, compulsive need to disobey, rebel

   OR put bosses, teachers, doctors...on 

   pedestals & expect them to be substitute

  ‘good parents’


   putting up walls to keep everyone out as a

   false sense of protection, often leading to 

   isolation OR indiscriminately letting everyone 

   in, be a doormat, easily manipulated, allow

   others to take advantage, give ones power 

   over to anyone, esp if they seem to be nice,

   smart, ‘functional’, attentive


   constantly finding fault, with everything &

   everyone, nothing is ever enough, someone is 

   always making ones life miserable; also - not

   allowed to enjoy life, fear that we’ll jinx it

   if we get excited about anything


   is a mental, not emotional experience:

   having contradictory thoughts, opinions,

   desires, beliefs - about something - without 

    being able to (allowed) know ones own 

   preferences, or to evaluate all sides of   

   rationally in order to choose the best one for 

   the situation & ones own needs



Adult-Children of alcoholics & other narcissists