Children who grow up in addictive families abide by certain rules: don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel. Dr. Claudia Black discusses those rules in her new worldwide bestseller, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME: Growing Up with Addiction as Youngsters, Adolescents, and Adults, 3rd edition which helps readers gain personal insights and develop new skills that lead to a healthier more fulfilling life.
Claudia Black, Ph.D. is a world-renowned expert on addiction and codependency, best-selling author, and trainer internationally recognized for her pioneering and contemporary work with family systems and addictive disorders. Her writings and teachings have become a standard in the field of addictions. Claudia holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology from Columbia Pacific University. Claudia is the Clinical Architect of the Claudia Black Center for Young Adults, a Senior Fellow, and an Addiction and Trauma Program Specialist at The Meadows Treatment Center in Arizona. She is one of the original founders and serves on the Advisory Board for the National Association of Children of Alcoholics and the Advisory Council of the Eluna Foundation and its development of Camp Mariposa, a camp for children impacted by addiction. She serves on the Advisory Board for the National Association of Children of Alcoholics and the Advisory Council of the Eluna Foundation.
Segment #1 What inspired you to write this book?
• Personal Childhood Experience
• Youth and Adolescent experiences of fear, shame, anger
• Why are youth and adolescents from anger to caretaking?
• Children of Alcoholics becoming addicted and marrying addicts.
• Trauma and stress and children raised with other addictions.
What are the potential long-term effects of addition of children & adolescents?
• Victimization: Tolerating inappropriate behavior
• Rationalization, minimization, denial
• Compartmentalizing their feelings which gives them the ability to hide their inner despair.
• Embracing shame-based ideas of low self-esteem and thinking something is wrong with them
What are the common misconceptions we have about alcoholics/addicts?
• We think that addicts/alcoholics should be able to stop if they love their family enough
• Not understanding that people can be cross addicted
• Abusing alcohol is just as dangerous as abusing drugs.
• That addiction is a disease
How do kids typically deal with the stress of living with an active addict/alcoholic?
• They learn to be silent about
• They learn to hide their feeling and disconnect emotionally
• Sometimes, isolation or to engage in activities that ring them solace like at or reading.
• Don’t Talk don’t Feel Don’t Trust
• Children adapt to different roles. i.e. the responsible child, the adjuster, the placater, the acting-out child”
Why are most children from addictive families not getting professional help?
• Parents don’t see this as a problem
• Children become so invisible they fade into the background to survive
• Children become caretaker taking on the responsibility role and being prematurely adult-like.
• Reaching out for help would feel like betraying the family.
• Children don’t know whom to trust.
Long term effects of living in an addictive family as the child grow up?
• Trust issues
• High tolerance for inappropriate behavior
• Self-esteem issues and not trusting their own perceptions
• Being skilled at minimizing, living in a fantasy,
• Not knowing how to problem solve, having poor boundaries.
• Procrastination, perfectionism, rag and controlling behavior
• Depression, anxiety, process, and substance addiction
• Troubled Relationships.
How can Children of addicts heal and embrace healthy relationships as adults?
• Acknowledging your childhood reality and verbalizing. Grieve the losses and feel the pain, the process and move forward.
• Connect your childhood with your adulthood and realize what you are talking with you and take steps to make changes.
• Challenge your beliefs: Are they helpful or hurtful?
• Learn new healthy skills and how to express feelings in a health way.
• Ask for help.