When a parent is an addict, we often have to assume the role of caregiver, both for ourselves and for our siblings, and often for our parents as well. We’re tasked with the demands, obligations, responsibilities and duties of caring for the family. Even at a young age we might be responsible for feeding everyone, making sure everything is taken care of and raising our younger siblings. In these kinds of family situations, our parents aren’t living up to their roles as providers and nurturers. They often don’t have the emotional intelligence or the fortitude to realize they are hurting their children and to reach out for help. As the children in the family, we’re not being given the support or the stability we need for good mental and emotional health. Our chances of having a happy childhood and of developing into self-assured, well-adjusted adults can be impacted. We might find that our mental health issues and addictions develop as a result of our inability to heal from the pain we’ve experienced in our families.
Our experiences with the different family roles and dynamics when living with addiction help form who we are. They build our strength, courage and resilience. Our difficulties and our challenges contribute to the development of our identity and our character. Although we can be negatively impacted by these family roles, they are a part of our story, a part of the unique personal experience that helps us become who we are meant to be. As we work to know more about our family roles, we gain the clarity and understanding we need to heal ourselves and fuel our recovery.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.