Adult Children of Alcoholics & Emotionally Immature Parents
If you grew up with caregivers who were emotionally absent, struggled with mental health issues, or abused alcohol or drugs, you probably had to take on the role of a parent throughout your childhood.
You may have had to provide for yourself, care for your siblings, and even take physical and emotional care of the person or people who were supposed to be caring for you.
"Parentified" children come from many different types of families. You may have experienced significant abuse and neglect that required you to be in constant survival mode as a child. You may not have been abused at all and feel your parents did the best they could, but they weren't quite grown up themselves, and your needs often went overlooked.
Many people come to therapy as adults to try to make sense of their relationships with their parents (to the point that it's become a cliché - "I don't want to go to therapy just to talk about my mother!") The truth is, those relationships have a huge impact on how we experience the world as adults. This is especially true for adults who felt unseen, unloved, unsafe, unprotected, or uncared for growing up.
Some possible indicators of emotionally immature parents include:
Having unpredictable and volatile emotions or abrupt mood swings
Seeing their children as "all bad" or "all good" with no in-between
Prioritizing external markers of success or public image over the needs and well-being of their children
Needing their children to be perfect
Having little ability to self-reflect, recognize their own mistakes, or acknowledge wrongdoing, especially to their children
Inappropriately burdening their children with their problems (beyond the child's developmental level)
Frequently violating their children's boundaries or privacy
Using their emotional well-being as leverage or a threat to change their child's behavior
Being intolerant or rejecting of their children's emotions and emotional needs
Parents who abuse substances or have been diagnosed with mental disorders (including personality disorders) often fall into this category
If you grew up with parents like this, you might be experiencing:
Fear or avoidance of intimacy
Imbalances in your relationships and caretaking of others
Our therapy will be aimed at helping you:
Accept the parts of yourself that developed as a way to cope with the parent you had, rather than seeing yourself as broken or defective
"Re-parent" yourself as an adult with the compassion, protection, and care you deserved as a child
Learn to set appropriate boundaries with your parent(s) or caregiver(s), as well as other relationships that may be affected by the way you were trained to respond to others as a child (i.e. partners, co-workers, friends)
Develop a whole, integrated, and confident self that reflects the you that you truly are, rather than what you think others want and need from you