In 1983 Janet Woititz offered a list of thirteen traits typical of adult children.*
Her description came to be known in recovery circles as The Laundry List.
If you’re trying to decide whether you possess such traits, it’s still a good place to start.
Below is a revised version.
If you’re an adult child,
1. You guess at what normal is, then try to imitate it.
2. You have trouble following projects through from beginning to end.
3. You lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
4. You judge yourself without mercy.
5. You have trouble relaxing or having fun.
6. You take yourself very seriously.
7. You struggle with intimate relationships.
8. You over-react to changes beyond your control.
9. You constantly seek approval and affirmation.
10. You feel different from other people.
11. You’re either super responsible or super irresponsible.
12. You’re extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that your loyalty is undeserved.
13. You’re impulsive — i.e., tend to lock yourself into a course of action without thinking through alternatives or consequences. This creates confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over your environment. You also spend large amounts of time and energy cleaning up the mess.
Part 8 of a series on monkeytraps and adult children.
Read part 1 here.