It’s probably not too difficult to see why being an ACOA can make romantic relationships as an adult challenging.
You may not have made the connection between your partner’s family history and what shows up in your relationship, but the impact is huge.
It was no confession – just an excuse for why he could continue drinking. That maybe if I didn't cry and if I wasn't sad, he wouldn't drink. There were nights my dad would wheel his bike into the house (when he could still cycle) and hanging off the handlebars with a four-pack of beers would be a takeaway for everyone.He was the kind of alcoholic who hid his cheap beer in the bedside cabinet. The image of Ireland being a nation of pissheads is largely a stereotype. Everyone we grew up with drank, and we mostly saw them in situations where drink was plentiful – weddings, funerals, Christmas. He'd drink in bed, then brush his teeth, get on his bike, and cycle to work.If you passed him in the street, you'd have seen a drunk. When we bumped into his colleagues, they talked about how funny and friendly he was. Even when you're there, cowed under drunken rages, binning cans, helping getting the younger ones ready for school while your dad drinks a beer, part of you doubts it's really happening.The secret becomes a governing principle required to hold the family together, the scaffolding for coping strategies and shared beliefs, without which the family might fall apart.Claudia Black, a leading expert on adult children of alcoholics and author of , says these children grow up with three dangerous rules: don't trust, don't feel, and don't talk.