ACA

3 Characteristics of Dysfunctional Families

Unspoken Family Rules: Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel Rigid family rules and roles develop in dysfunctional families that help maintain the dysfunctional family system and allow family members to continue mistreating each other. Understanding some of the characteristics of dysfunctional families can help us break free of these patterns and rebuild our self-esteem and …

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boy with head in arms. text reads: "shouldn't I be over my painful childhood by now?"

“Why is my childhood still affecting me? Shouldn’t I be over it by now?” Amy, aged 37, asked me at her first therapy session. “I feel like I’m complaining,” she said ashamedly. “I’m sure other people have bigger problems — real problems. I feel silly coming to therapy to talk about getting over painful childhood …

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frustrated woman

Note: This article is about adult children of alcoholics (commonly abbreviated as ACAs or ACOAs). However, the dynamics that are described apply to adults who grew up in an array of dysfunctional circumstances, including those with parents who were mentally ill, abusive, or addicted to other substances. Feeling out of control is scary for most …

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6 Roles in Dysfunctional Families

Addiction can have devastating effects on families. As a way of coping, family members commonly take on 6 roles in addicted families. In this article, you’ll learn about these six roles and how addiction affects the entire family. Alcoholism and addiction affect the entire family, not just the addict. The effects are especially profound if …

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sad boy

Growing up in an alcoholic family can be lonely, scary, and confusing. Children in alcoholic or dysfunctional families don’t get a childhood. You Don’t Get a Childhood When You Grow Up in an Alcoholic Family Growing up in an alcoholic family has a different effect on different kids. Factors such as personality, internal and external …

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woman thinking

Detaching with love helps codependents and enablers. When we detach with love, we stop worrying and interfering and let others take responsibility for themselves. What is detaching with love? Detaching (or detaching with love) is a core component of codependency recovery. If you’re often worried about a loved one, disappointed or upset by their choices, …

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Why it's hard to end codependent relationship

Why is it so hard to end codependent relationships? In this article, we’ll explore why it’s so difficult to leave a codependent relationship (even when you know it’s in your own best interest) and you can start to change codependent patterns and create healthier relationships. Codependency is a hard pattern to break. Even when you’re …

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Reparent Yourself

Growing up in an emotionally neglectful or dysfunctional family usually leaves social-emotional deficits that follow us into adulthood. Learning to reparent yourself can help you heal and become the emotionally healthy adult you hope to be. Are you self-critical and overly harsh with yourself? Or are you too permissive with yourself – not setting limits …

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young woman alone on bench

Experiencing emotional abandonment in childhood can make us feel anxious, distrustful, ashamed, and inadequate – and these feelings often follow us into adulthood and make it difficult for us to form healthy, trusting relationships. In this article, you’ll learn how to begin healing the psychological effects of abandonment.  What is emotional abandonment? Emotional abandonment means …

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How to Avoid People's Drama

Don’t let other people’s drama become your problem! Instead, learn to avoid drama, set boundaries, and take care of your own needs.     We all know a person or two who’s overly dramatic. It could be your mother, cousin, coworker, or neighbor. Spending time with people who exude negative energy, always seem to have a problem …

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