Daughters of Alcoholic Fathers

Authored by Hugh Soames

Edited by Alexander Bentley

Reviewed by Michael Por

Daughters of Alcoholic Fathers

 

Having a loved one that suffers from alcohol addiction is never easy. It’s always complicated. Loved ones can be several different types of people. They can be close friends, parents, siblings, or other relatives. Having someone that you love and care for dearly deal with something as difficult as addiction is unpleasant to watch.

 

You care for this person and watching them harm themselves through their substance abuse is really difficult. Yet the truth is, they are not the only ones being harmed because of their addiction. You likely are as well.

 

The decisions that we make in our lives affect more than just us. They affect the ones that live around us and interact with us regularly. Usually, our family and friends are the ones most greatly impacted by the choices that we make.

 

The type of relationship that you have with the addicted individual has an impact on how severely you are affected. Those living with the addicted individual are likely to be more impacted by addiction than friends who do not live under the same roof.

 

The spouse of an individual who has a substance addiction will have a severely impacted quality of life. The children of those who are addicted to alcohol? They are some of the most affected by their parent’s decisions.

 

Parents play different roles in their children’s lives. A mother’s decisions will impact their children slightly differently than their father and vise versa. Having a parent with an alcohol addiction impacts a child’s life no matter which parent it is and what gender the child is. However, different family roles play out differently when it comes to alcohol addiction in the family unit.

How does an alcoholic father affect his daughter’s life and development?

 

Having a parent addicted to alcohol impacts a child’s life no matter what. But the way an alcoholic father will impact his daughter and the way an alcoholic mother will impact their son may vary slightly11.S. E. Adkison, Impact of Fathers’ Alcohol Problems on the Development of Effortful Control in Early Adolescence – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749310/. This is because many parents fulfill certain roles in the family.

 

Those roles may vary by family, but each parent usually has specific responsibilities, both physical and emotional, that they are responsible for. When they are suffering from addiction, they are not always able to successfully fulfill those roles.

 

When a daughter has an alcoholic father, she may step up and fulfill certain roles in the family. Having to act in a different role that is not just “daughter” can have a pretty severe impact on her development.

Daughters of Alcoholic Fathers and Their Roles in the Family

 

When a family unit has an addict, some of the members may fulfill one of five different roles22.B. Mahato, Parent-child relationship in children of alcoholic and non-alcoholic parents – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016696/. Daughters of alcoholic fathers may fulfill all or any combination of these roles.

 

The Enabler – This is the family member that helps cover up and protect the parent or family member despite the harm that the addiction causes everyone. Sometimes a person may become an enabler because they fear the parent. Being the enabler can make the daughter feel important in the family unit. They feel responsible and in charge despite the addicted parent or family member actually being in control of everything the family does.

 

The Hero – This role is often fulfilled by the family overachiever. Those with alcoholic parents may not get the attention they want and deserve. The Hero will achieve and do everything that they can to be seen and recognized by the parent. They will get straight A’s, be the school valedictorian, take care of everyone at home, take care of family chores, make sure bills are paid on time, and be involved in an intense amount of extracurriculars.

 

The Scapegoat – The scapegoat is another individual that craves attention from their parent. This person will attempt to take attention away from the addicted parent and everyone else in the family unit — both with good actions and bad. These are often children who act out as they are growing up.

 

The Lost Child – This is often the child that feels disconnected, lonely, and misunderstood. They will often venture out and spend time by themselves to remove themselves from the toxic household or environment.

 

The Mascot – This is the individual that attempts to bring positive energy and entertainment to the family — despite all of the other heavy things going on. They make light of heavy situations and bring light to extremely tense situations.

 

Daughters of an alcoholic fathers can end up taking any of these roles during the time that they are living in the household with the addicted parent. They may take more than one and they may take multiple ones at different times.

 

A daughter having to fulfill these sorts of roles affects their development from an early age. Even extremely young children may end up involuntarily fulfilling one of these roles. This responsibility affects their personality, stability, emotional state, and outlook on life far beyond their childhood.

Characteristics of Daughters of Alcoholic Fathers

 

The roles listed above are usually specific to the time that the individual is living in the household with the addicted father or parent.

 

As they venture out on their own and are removed from the environment, their personality tends to take a life of its own and they may be able to grow out of some of the habits they developed as a daughter of an alcoholic father growing up32.H. Johnsen, IJERPH | Free Full-Text | Adult Daughters of Alcoholic Parents—A Qualitative Study of These Women’s Pregnancy Experiences and the Potential Implications for Antenatal Care Provision | HTML, MDPI.; Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/6/3714/htm. However, there are certain traits and characteristics that tend to follow daughters of alcoholic fathers well into adulthood:

 

Obligation to always take care of others. You had to take care of your family and father. You will likely attempt to do that with everyone that comes into your life.

 

Sensitivity– They do not handle criticism well.

 

Not being flexible – routine kept you safe as a child. You expect it to do so as an adult as well.

 

Overachieving – This may be leftover from the hero role in childhood. They want to continue to achieve and bring good attention to themselves

 

Guilt– Other people’s poor decisions are your fault.

 

Loneliness– Many daughters of alcoholic fathers have lonely childhoods, they may feel like there is no other way to live.

 

Previous: Do Drunk People Tell the Truth?

 

Next: Is Alcohol Addiction Genetic

  • 1
    1.S. E. Adkison, Impact of Fathers’ Alcohol Problems on the Development of Effortful Control in Early Adolescence – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749310/
  • 2
    2.B. Mahato, Parent-child relationship in children of alcoholic and non-alcoholic parents – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016696/
  • 3
    2.H. Johnsen, IJERPH | Free Full-Text | Adult Daughters of Alcoholic Parents—A Qualitative Study of These Women’s Pregnancy Experiences and the Potential Implications for Antenatal Care Provision | HTML, MDPI.; Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/6/3714/htm
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