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Some struggle with alcohol or other addictions themselves. Addicts are often unpredictable, sometimes abusive, and always checked-out emotionally (and sometimes physically).You never knew who would be there or what mood they’d be in when you came home from school. There may have been a lot of overt tension and conflict.
Either way, this situation affects your partner’s mental health.
Researchers have found that adult children of alcoholics sometimes struggle in relationships because of lack of trust, loneliness, emotional denial, feelings of guilt, shame and rage, sadness, being unsure of their identity, needing control, having issues asserting themselves, being desperate to please others, and overreacting to criticism.
In addition, it’s thought that ACOAs are more likely than the general population to constantly seek approval and validation, feel that they are “different,” be super-responsible, judge themselves harshly, be extremely loyal, and plunge into action without considering consequences.
A sudden change of plans or anything that feels out of your control can trigger your anxiety and/or anger. It’s natural to close off your heart as a form of self-protection. You hold back emotionally and will only reveal so much of your true self.
This limits the amount of intimacy you can have with your partner and can leave you feeling disconnected.