5 Consequences of Being an Adult Child of Addicts

5 Consequences of Being an Adult Child of Addicts

By Mia Dunlap

It would be easier not to write about it. Easier not to share. Easier to pretend like it didn’t have an impact. But why do easy when I can be do vulnerability? Why do easy when I can choose to expose and remind someone that they are not alone… and to remind myself, I don’t have to hide from ME.

  1. I’ve not been able to get close to anyone in fear that they will leave after I’m attached. I’ve been heartbroken too many times in childhood, I tried everything not to experience it again.

2. Felt guilty for accomplishments because “I thought I was better.” I remember coming home from Spelman during break and hearing my mom say, “you are not better than us because you are in college!” It was at that moment that I was reminded not to celebrate college accomplishments because I didn’t want them to feel that way!

3. Too afraid to make mistakes, so I leaned on the “Perfect Patty” narrative. I needed to believe that I couldn’t fail. I needed to know that I would never have to live in poverty again. So, I did as many things “right” as I could. I was unforgiving towards myself when I made mistakes because I needed to run as far from poverty as possible!

4. Terrified of repeating the cycle, I did not focus on my passions but instead on making sure I ran as far away from my childhood as possible. I did not try to smoke weed until the end of college. I’ve only taken two pulls in my life time (two different occasions)… because what if I get addicted to weed and then to crack.. and then repeat the cycle?

5. Becoming numb so I couldn’t feel the trauma and ended up not feeling joy either. The same wall I put up to protect myself from feeling pain was the same wall that prevented me from being able to fall in love and experience bliss and joy. I didn’t want to let the weight of the pain in and as a result, I forfeited letting an incredible amount of love penetrate me.

I’m unlearning my survival tools and learning I don’t need to live in survival mode but there’s room for me to be all of me.