“I Love You. Go Away.” What An Adult Child Of An Alcoholic’s Love Life Looks Like

Sometimes your alcoholic parent was warm and loving, sometimes rejecting and hostile. Although your non-alcoholic parent told you that you were loved, he or she was so often absorbed with worry and so irritable that you rarely felt loved. There was no consistency.

This is love as you understood it as a child, and are still experiencing it. Ever wonder why you are attracted to the person who is warm and loving one day, and rejecting the next? Ever wonder why the person who says he or she will call and doesn’t seems more desirable than the one who is consistent?

If, by chance, you do become involved with a lover who is consistent, you find that sort of person very unsettling, because you have no frame of reference for this kind of behavior. I am talking about the type of  individual with order in his/her life, the person who can predict with a reasonable amount of certainty what tomorrow will bring. This also is someone who will behave, feel and think tomorrow much as he/she behaved, felt, and thought today. The challenge to win the love of the erratic and sometimes rejecting person repeats the challenge of your childhood. You are grateful when the inconsistent person throws you a crumb, but get bored quickly with the one who is available all the time.

You are playing out your childhood all over again, because the only consistency you knew was inconsistency. The only predictability you had was the lack of predictability. You lived your childhood on an emotional roller coaster. And that is what you understand. Think a minute: How many times have you created a crisis in your relationship to get the energy flowing again, and bring the relationship back to a more familiar ground?

Even though this may be obvious to you on an intellectual level, bear in mind that it may take longer for you to truly feel this truth because you were conditioned at such an early age.

BLAM Fam: Do you see yourself? You don’t necessarily have to have had an alcoholic parent for some of these words to ring true for you. Remember, you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. Stop Playing. Start Pushing.

Source: Struggle For Intimacy by Janet Woititz, Ed.D.

5 replies
  1. Pat K.
    Pat K. says:

    Shining this sort of light on the darkness of secrecy will set us free! What we learn at our parent's knee will rule our lives, if we are unaware!

    Thanks for your ministry in taking the shackles off of our people's minds!

    God Bless You, Both!

  2. Patrina
    Patrina says:


  3. Bridget
    Bridget says:

    One word. Deep.

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