I come from a fairly dysfunctional family. My stepfather was an alcoholic, and my biological father is probably a hazardous drinker. My mother had no problems with drink, hardly touched it, but was emotionally distant and a workaholic. The scars are there to see in the children....my brother is a drug-addict, mainly marijuana, though also dance party pills, and a bit of acid. Big problems with his anger...he's done a lot of drink-driving too. To be honest he's an idiot. My half-sister became a solo-mum at a young age with 2 children to 2 different men who didn't want to know and won't have anything to do with their children; and she has some big problems with depression. Yes, she's pretty sad.
Me, well I have had problems with low self-esteem, and getting into co-dependent relationships. I think I was, and still am perhaps to some extent, cut off from my emotions.
But I consider myself lucky in that I have no addictions: I don't touch alcohol or drugs. No sex addiction, no food addiction etc. I do have a lot of anger, but I don't have a bad temper or anything. It's under control.
I've read a book recently that has helped give me a lot of insight into my family and a lot of other people around me. It is called "Codependency: How to break free and live your own life" by David Stafford & Liz Hodgkinson.
According to them alcoholism and co-dependency go hand in hand. In fact that is true with all addictions. Underneath alcoholism lurks co-dependency, and this needs to be dealt with for a real healing to take place. Also...
"Whatever the substance, whatever the dependency,...the underlying problem remains the same: low self esteem, a poor sense of identity, a chasm where real genuine feeling should be and a sense of desolation so acute, so all-pervading, that some kind of pathological dependency seems the only answer, the only way out. And it always starts from the same place: a dysfunctional family where realities are denied, and appearances attempted to be kept up at all costs."
I feel really depressed and stressed at Christmas time because I then have to think about how bad my family is. I'm estranged from them now...and actually it is for the best. My brother assualted me a few years ago, and my mother never has been there for me. I lived in denial for so long about the realities of who they are...but not anymore. I did my best to love them but I feel like they threw it in my face.
That book was pretty useful in giving me a handle on what happened, an overview. Co-dependent people are almost always children of tragedy. They're running away from something big and scary in their emotional life.
Compulsive behaviour of any sort is a clue that that person has problems with co-dependency. "They have a diminished capacity to initiate or participate in loving relationships, because deep down they feel they are unlovable. ...they often choose a partner who cannot fully be there for them. Co-dependents' parents never really loved them, because they themselves were incapable of proper love. So such people settle for less than the best, and often very little."
They give some good solutions in the book. But in a nutshell their solution seems to be to learn to love yourself. Only then can you properly love others, and not be too needy. This really resonates with me. I feel sure they're right.