I have special expertise in working with Adult Children of Alcoholics; Here is some information about this taken from the work of Janet Woititz Phd. Many people have been impacted by alcohol without ever taking a drink. Growing up in an alcoholic home can have long lasting impact. Experts have identified psychological characteristics of adults who grow up in alcoholic or substance abusing families. Many people in the helping professions are caretakers who apprenticed taking care of others while growing up in an alcoholic home. Traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics or Substance Abusers: 1. A tendency to guess at what normal is. Adult Children of Alcoholics don't have a reference point of what to expect and try to guess at how to cope by watching others. 2.Difficulty with follow through: ACAs grow up in upheaval and disruption, steadiness and follow through are not modeled, and in fact they may be more comfortable with constant drama and upheaval instead of a workable routines. 3.A tendency to exaggerate or tell a lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. They had to learn to cover up what was really happening at home, telling fibs can become a way of life. 4. Intense Self Criticism: Adult Children of Alcoholics can be very self-punitive; they felt that they are responsible for everything that is not working out. This comes from not being "good enough" to get their parents to stop drinking or using. They may have blamed themselves for their parents drinking. 5.Difficulty having fun: Living with an alcoholic is no laughing matter: oftentimes an adult child of an alcoholic grew up having to be constantly vigilant. Very often they are a "parental" child. This is the child who took care of an addicted parent and their siblings. They had little time for fun or carefree childhood and don't know how to play or let go. 6.Adult Children of Alcoholics take themselves very seriously: Due to their role in the family of origin they feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. They may not have a well developed sense of humor. 7.Difficulty with intimate relationships: Because they have been hurt it may be hard for them to open up and establish close bonds. The Adult Child of an Alcoholic may be controlling which is an attempt to crate safety and predictability but causes their partners to feel suffocated. 8.Great difficulty with change: Adult Children of Alcoholics got little praise growing up and look to to others to supply this more than is appropriate for an adult. 9.Constantly seeking approval: Adult Children of Alcoholics got little praise while growing up and look to others to supply this more than is appropriate as an adult. 10.A sense of being different, not normal: This is related to a sense of guessing what "normal" is. 11.A tendency to be loyal in situations where loyalty has not been earned: Many Adult Children of Alcoholics end up in emotionally or physically abusive relationships.