Over the past 20 years I have taken a particular interest in family systems. My research is not ground-breaking. However, there is a thread, which is commonly disclosed and discussed in my office and that is: Alcoholism and Narcissism in parenting: There is strong evidence, it can have a significant impact on both the parents themselves and their children resulting in generational trauma. Prominent psychologists and researchers have explored the consequences of these issues on family dynamics and the well-being of children. My special interest is in Childhood trauma in adults because it affects the way we function in a relationship and as a parent. Let’s have a look at the impact on the family unit:
Impact of Alcoholism and Parents:
Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Children of alcoholic parents often experience emotional and psychological trauma due to the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic behaviour associated with alcoholism. Witnessing a parent’s addiction can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem in children.
Neglect and Unavailability: Parents struggling with alcoholism may be emotionally and physically unavailable to their children. This neglect can result in feelings of abandonment and a lack of support, which can hinder a child’s emotional development.
Inconsistent Parenting: Alcoholism can lead to inconsistent parenting, as the parent’s behaviour may change drastically based on their level of intoxication. This inconsistency can confuse children and create an unstable home environment.
Substance Abuse Risk: Children of alcoholic parents may be at an increased risk of developing substance abuse issues themselves, as they may normalise or cope with their parent’s addiction by turning to substances.
Role Reversal: In some cases, children of alcoholic parents take on parental roles, caring for their impaired parents or younger siblings. This role reversal can disrupt the typical parent-child dynamic and hinder the child’s own development.
Impact of Narcissism in Parents:
Lack of Empathy: Narcissistic parents often lack empathy and may not be attuned to their children’s emotional needs. This can leave children feeling unheard and unimportant.
Validation Seeking: Children of narcissistic parents may constantly seek validation from their parents, as their self-worth is often tied to their parent’s approval. This can result in anxiety and a constant need for external validation.
Manipulative Behaviour: Narcissistic parents may use manipulation, guilt, and emotional control to maintain their own self-esteem and prioritise their needs over their children’s. This can lead to an unhealthy power dynamic in the family.
Developmental Challenges: Children raised by narcissistic parents may face challenges in developing a healthy sense of self and autonomy. They might struggle with boundaries, assertiveness, self-management and forming healthy relationships.
If your relationship is being plagued by your unhealthy beliefs and behaviors from childhood, it might be time for a RESET.
NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.