Sunday, July 24, 2011

Children of hoarders, children of alcoholics

Given that my family doesn't drink, I never gave much thought to the effect of being the child of an alcoholic until today. Sure, we had our issues when I was growing up (not being able to walk through the house without picking your way over huge piles of stuff, for example). Drunken parents, fortunately, were not one of our issues. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a Children of Hoarders page which said that many adult children of hoarders have a lot in common with adult children of alcoholics. They offered a quiz on common personality characteristics of adult children of alcoholics.  Having been raised on a steady diet of Cosmopolitan quizzes, I figured I'd take this one, too. Granted, this one wasn't quite as light-hearted as, say, "Which Cosmo bachelor would adore you?" (Some sample items: "I guess at what is normal." "I avoid conflict or aggravate it, but rarely deal with it.") Lo and behold, on a scale of 20-100 (with 100 being a high probability of being an adult child of an alcoholic) I scored ONE HUNDRED NINETEEN. Oddly, this actually made me feel better. If there is a reason for my  conflict/failure/criticism/intimacy issues (other than, as I've always assumed, grievous personality flaws on my part), that means I can actually do something about them.

(Go here if you're interested in seeing the actual quiz.)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! I only scored a 44, but then-- I have been working on therapy for a LONG time, off and on.

    Out of the Core Issues, I feel I've overcome avoiding my feelings and over-responsibility. I rarely have too many issues over control. Yet still I struggle with trust (too much or not enough, and not knowing what to believe) and ignoring my own needs. I am a self-neglecter. I think I internalized the message that I wasn't important enough to attend to-- and its hard to motivate myself to think I'm worth anything. Even buying myself new clothes or shoes to replace old stuff seems terribly and unjustifiably indulgent. Its crazy and I know it, but I have yet to get out of that habit pattern.

    My mother was a hoarder and my father an angry alcoholic. I entered adulthood completely unable to take care of myself on any level, and was too neurotic to even hold a job for longer than 3 months until my mid 20s.