The Problem

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Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result
of being brought up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional households.

We had come to feel isolated, and uneasy with other people, especially
authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even
though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would
mistake any personal criticism as a threat.

We either became alcoholics ourselves, married them, or both. Failing that,
we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill
our sick need for abandonment.

We lived live from the standpoint of victims. Having an over developed sense
of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than
ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we trusted ourselves, giving in to
others. We became reactors rather than actors, letting others take the

We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do
almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be
abandoned emotionally. We keep choosing insecure relationships because they
matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made
us 'co-victims', those who take on the
characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We
learned to keep our feelings down as children and keep
them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we often confused
love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue.

Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our
affairs, preferring constant upset to workable solutions.

This is a description, not an indictment.