If you grew up in a dysfunctional home, chances are it may be affecting you in one or more areas of your life today. Of course, there are a hundred scenarios that could play out, but today I’m going to talk about how such people may have a tough time trusting people when they get older, especially their partners.  Why?

Well, when they were young, it is likely that they were emotionally abandoned by at least one parent. They felt abandoned, but probably never voiced it. They felt scared and that fear they ended up repressing, stuffing it way down inside.

The thing is, that negative emotions never went away. It’s still lodged somewhere deep within.

Have a tough time trusting

When they get into a relationship, they have a tough time opening up and trusting because they are scared of letting someone in? Why? The are afraid they will be abandoned. The big, gaping wound keeps them from really opening up to authentic love.

They also tend to keep their feelings inside and wear a mask with their partner. They don’t want to be rejected, so they go on living as if they are alright, when in reality, they’re not. They’re living on the surface level; yet, many are not even aware of this. It’s all under their conscious radar.

Tough time handling conflict

When conflict arises, they don’t know how to handle it maturely. They revert back to their childhood state or model what they witnessed growing up. They yell, storm out of the room or house, give the silent treatment, and so on. They’ve just never really learned how to sit down and have a mature conversation trying to resolve issues. 

Adult children of alcoholics or addicts may be codependent or they may be narcissistic. Both would be a coping mechanism they began acquiring from an early age. Codependents spend a lot of time caring for others, yet neglecting self-care. They may be needy, highly anxious, put up with abuse, and have little to no boundaries. Narcissists will be selfish, manipulative, and perhaps even abusive. Oftentimes a codependent person will unconsciously attract a narcissist.

I grew up in a home where alcoholism was present. As a child, the coping mechanisms I picked up were care-taking, people pleasing, and stuffing my emotions.  I never realized just how detrimental this was to my life until my mid-30’s. This is when all that stored up negative energy started surfacing. This is when I started to crack, breaking open so that ultimately I could work through so many layers of crap. But I assure you it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen over night.

Still, I bucked up and began that inner journey that has led me to heal some big wounds and learn a lot about myself, others, God, and the world. This inner journey we can all get on board with if we want some peace and joy in life.

Is help available? Absolutely.  Whether you’re dealing with codependency, addiction, narcissism, or any other issue, counseling is a viable option. Many people take a season of life to attend a series of counseling sessions in order to take a look at their lives from infancy up. There are so many things we stuff over the years, not aware of it or choosing not to share it, that beckons for us to take a look at it. Process it. Heal it.

You can also educate yourself on the topic, reading books and watching YouTube videos. Be proactive in your healing and recovery.

If you grew up in a home where alcoholism or addiction was prevalent, consider reaching out to a counselor. You’ve nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.