Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order. This is a quote by Anne Wilson Schaef. For adult children of alcoholics, trying to be perfect and people-pleasers come with weak boundaries. People who lack health boundaries are often emotionally needy.
Addicted, dysfunctional and chaotic families are a breeding ground for perfectionism. Therapists and addiction counselors often talk about alcoholism (or any addiction) as a family disease because it affects everyone in the family. An addict’s behavior has far reaching consequences for the family, especially the children.
I tried to be the perfect child in my family. Never really bucking back at my parents; always conforming to their will. My alcoholic father was an embarrassment to me, so I put on my metaphoric mask for outsiders; ensuring none of the cracks in my family foundation showed. Although my perfectionism seemed to serve me well as a child, it isn’t without its problems.
As an adult I became an overly compliant people-pleaser; trying to make everyone happy all the time. But in the process, I lost my own identity and the ability to ask for and received what I really need. My needs always came last. I’m trying to make a change in my life and put myself first. This has proven to be difficult because I tend to feel guilty when doing so or feel like I’m being selfish.
My goal is to continue to ask myself what it is I want and act on fulfilling my own needs first. I’m worth it. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.
Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.