ACOA Characteristics


1.) ...guess at what normal behavior is.
2.) ...have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
3.) ...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
4.) ...judge themselves without mercy.
5.) ...have difficulty having fun.
6.) ...take themselves very seriously.
7.) ...have difficulty with intimate relationships.
8.) ...overreact to changes over which they have no control.
9.) ...constantly seek approval and affirmation.
10.) ...usually feel that they are different from other people.
11.) ...are super responsible or super irresponsible.
12.) ...are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
13.) ...are impulsive and tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsiveness leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend and excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The ACOA Rush of Emotions

It's amazing to me how the simplest things could cause so much stress, frustration, and sadness...

I just don't ever know how to handle this stuff... I feel like I can't trust my thoughts or my feelings...

You probably won't take away much from the following, but I just had to get it out of my system (It's faster to type than to write). I figured, too, that maybe it might make you feel better knowing 'there's someone else out there' in case you've ever had a similar rush or state of confusion--regardless of which side of "The Conversation" you were on...

The Conversation:

Boyfriend: "So, are we still going to the orchestra on Saturday?"
Me: "Um, well I really want to, but I haven't had a chance to call back about ticket info."
BF: "Okay, well if you could call and find out tomorrow, that'd be great. Let me know what the details are because one of my friends is in from out of town and he's having a party at one of the local bars. I thought if we didn't go to the orchestra, we could maybe go there instead. Or, if we do go to the orchestra, we could stop by the bar afterwards or something. Just throwing it out there..."
Me: "Oh... ... ..." [see The Thought Process below]
BF: "Are you okay?"
Me: "mm...uh...yeah"
BF: "What's up, hunny?"
Me: "Well, it's just that I feel like you'd rather go with your friends than go to the orchestra."
BF: "No, I want to go with you! We've been talking about this for awhile!"
Me: "Yeah, but I feel like you only want to go to the orchestra because it's a chance for us to do something together. I can't help, though, but feel like you'd actually prefer for us to go to the bar to see your friends over going to the orchestra."
BF: "Well, yeah; but I want to go to the orchestra because it's something you want to do. Besides, I'll have other times I'll be seeing my friends over the holiday break, and I already told them that I probably couldn't make it on Saturday."
Me: " *Sigh* Sorry, it's just that I feel like I'd be taking you away from your friends and what you'd prefer to do..."
BF: "N-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-no...that's not the case! Don't worry about it at all. Let's go to the orchestra on Saturday and we'll play other things by ear"
Me: "Okay...."

The Thought Process
Oh, that's right; I forgot to call back about the tickets!
I am so excited to see the orchestra's Christmas concert!
This should be so much fun, we've never been to the orchestra together!
I hope I can convince the ticket office to give me the discounted rate...
What? His friends want to have a party at the bar?
Crap, if he tries to back out on this, I will be so mad! We've bee talking about this for months!!!
Oh, he still wants to go.... but maybe stop by the bar afterwards?
Yeah, because the thing I'd love to do after a wonderful evening is show up in orchestra-attire at the bar and watch everyone around me get shit-faced.
Stop it, you're overreacting--people are simply getting together because everyone is in town for the holidays--it could be a fun, relaxing time.
Crap, what am I thinking?! He's only been to the orchestra when he was a kid--that's not his thing! There's no way if I weren't in the picture he would ever choose to go to the orchestra over going to the bar with his friends.
Dammit, I'll be keeping him from his friends. The entire night, all he'll be thinking about is, "Hmm, I wonder what everyone is doing at the bar? I wonder if we'll be able to stop by afterwards... gosh, how much longer is this thing gonna go?
UGH!!! This sucks! I don't even want to go to the bar AT ALL to see his friends! I'm so selfish! He's willing to do something with me that I want to do, but there's not any part of me that wants to return the favor and do something he wants to do when it has anything to do with the bar.
Shut up, that's not the case. He knows how the bar affects you, you're not being selfish, you're setting boundaries.
Crap, he's seeing his friends how many times over break? I'll be out of town when his friends have their big Christmas party--the one that last year someone got rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for a head injury because he was so drunk and had to have medical procedures performed because his blood alcohol level was so high? Shit, shit, shit!
I don't want him out with his friends without me... I don't want to keep him from his friends... Crap, my chest is tightening up...
Damnit, I hate this! I can't deal with this! I know he's not the person I want him to be--he's changed just to adjust to my discomforts. There's no way that can work in the future... he's bound to bounce back and get pissed because he'll feel like he's sacrificed who he really is for the sake of a potential married life. No, no, no, I won't be able to handle that if that happens....
I know he'd rather go with his friends... He should just go with his friends... I can go to the orchestra by myself...
No I can't, all I'll be doing is thinking of him the whole time... he would never allow that to happen, either. He loves me too much... he just wants to spend time with me.
Ugh! How could he keep saying, "Don't worry about it" ??!? I hate when he says that! I'm not WORRIED--I'm feeling pains from the past---pains I don't even know how to define. I'm sad...I'm hurt... I'm frustrated...I'm tired... I'm sick...
...but I'm not worried... God, just stop saying that!
Jeez, why am I so upset? Why do you even keep asking yourself that question? There's no answer.
I just hate it... I hate knowing he can have a beer or two with his friends or co-workers or whomever and that it means absolutely nothing. It means absolutely nothing, and yet it's something that I can't force him to stop.
I bet that's why he didn't come over last night. He was at a Christmas party. I bet he had a sounded like he did on the phone...I bet he knew I'd smell it on his breath and that it would make me upset.
God, will you stop trying to project thoughts and feelings onto other people? Just trust him like you know you can! He's not your parents! He's not sick! Just believe what he says and take it for what it's worth!
I can't...this can't work... I just want this to all go away.... why did he even have to bring up the outing with his friends? When will he ever GET IT!??!?!?!?!?!?!??!?
I hate the holidays.... I hate people getting together.... I hate having to see (or not see) my family...
I just want to go to sleep.
Why does this have to even MATTER!?
Great, now that Finals are over, my mind can so easily switch back to all its normal musings instead of blocking them with thoughts of operations analysis, managerial accounting, and global marketing...

Well, time to cry myself to sleep. Maybe it's good that I'm feeling emotions? Ugh...


  1. wow - that is ME, 100% - thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to put it ALL out there b/c it IS overwhelming ... sometimes i feel like only ACOAs can understand how things that seem so 'innocent' can become overwhelming in the blink of an eye, and then deal with the stress about being overwhelmed and what response works and why we can't explain it and ... and ... and ...

    sounds like you are doing some good internal work. all the best to you.

  2. I could relate to all of this so much. Especially this part:
    I hate the holidays.... I hate people getting together.... I hate having to see (or not see) my family...
    I just want to go to sleep.
    That is exactly how I felt these past holidays, haha.
    Thank you for posting.

  3. Hi,

    I have no idea if you will even get this email, but I came across your blog in doing some research on ACOA stuff (for myself). There really isn't much out there to read, and your blog caught my eye, I really felt like I could relate to what you were saying. Anyway, just wondering if you are still out there, somewhere, blogging perhaps?



  4. Wow. It is the most amazing thing to read something and think 'its not just me'. Lol. I can identify with so many of your feelings and reactions. Finding your blog is a blessing, especially today after i got upset with my boyfriend over a really small thing, then i felt petty for getting upset, then i felt annoyed at him for just not getting it. It just feels good to know i am not the only person who has these ACOA issues. Thanks again for sharing. :).

  5. I just wanted to tell you how helpful this blog has been for me. I just found out that I'm dating a girl who is an ACOA. I didn't know about her father's alcoholism until someone in her family told me, and she doesn't know I know. I'm trying hard to understand everything that she's going and gone through and this blog has given me an understanding that I haven't gotten anywhere else on the web. I've had conversations with her that have gone exactly this way that make so much more sense now. Keep writing, there are people who need to hear what you have to say.

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