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Old 07-31-2018, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default Married to an ACOA

I'm married to an ACOA... I grew up in a relatively happy home, parents were normal everyday folks, still together and still love each other.

My spouse grew up with an alcoholic father.. And a mother who seemed to cover it all up and try to take on the role of both parents. I'm sure my mother in law has some issues as a result of the alcoholism, but that's another topic...

I've reviewed the traits of an ACOA, read a book about it, and feel like my wife may have many of the traits. The biggest one for me is that she seems to thrive in an environment of chaos / drama... It almost seems like when times are good she has to throw a monkey wrench into it ... whether starting a fight before an important family or friends event (and then attends as if nothing happened)... or finding the negative in everything...

I found this information years ago, and tried to discuss it with my wife, and once with my mother in law... neither of which seem to acknowledge it, or give any thought to it. Neither of them will ever admit fault, so it stands to reason they would never admit there might be residual effects...

I'm at a point where I'm contemplating calling it quits as I just don't want to live unhappy... But I also want to make sure I've taken every shot I can at making it work.. I want her to at least seek a professional opinion, or attend a group or something like that to see what would come out of it... Ideally, a self realization and steps towards healing/ getting better...

Anyway, I don't want to drudge things up here in a semi-public forum... But I'm wondering if there is anyone out there who might have gone through the same and would be open to talking in a more private setting (PM's for example)? I feel like I need to make it happen, but as much as I feel like it needs to be fixed or I should move on... I'm afraid of pulling the trigger... Mainly for the kids... But also because I do still love her, and I would love for it to go back to a point where we did love each other.
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Old 08-01-2018, 02:53 PM   #2
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Hello mike: I'm not the person you're looking for here on PC. But I noticed this is your first post here on PC. So... welcome to PsychCentral! I hope you find PC to be of benefit.

One additional forum, here on PC, that may be of interest would be the relationships & communication forum. Here's a link:

And then, since it sounds as though you may at least be contemplating the possibility of separation & divorce, here's a link to that sub-forum:

The healthy parenting forum may also be of interest:

And then here are links to a selection of articles that hopefully will be of some help to you in understanding what is going on with your spouse as well as other articles on getting a loved one to participate in counseling, questions to ask yourself before you divorce, plus one on the effects of divorce on children. There are quite a few links here. It looks like a lot of reading! But the articles are short. So it's not as much as it may appear:

Is Your Partner an ACOA? The Impacts on Your Relationship | Partners in Wellness

Recommended Books for Adult Children of Alcoholics | Happily Imperfect

My best wishes to you & your family...
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Married to an ACOA

I am married to an ACOA and life is very good overall and very undramatic. We have been married for nearly 25 years. Every marriage has its ups and downs and hopefully much more up than down. Have you ever done marriage counseling or been to an ACOA meeting? You might find out some good info there.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Married to an ACOA

Hello Mike

I'm looking at this from the ACoA point of view.

Before I realised what the challenges were of coming from that sort of environment I can see that I also acted in the way you say your wife does. We grow up in chaos and feel restless in times of calm so create that chaos to keep us going. I know I created unnecessary drama in previous relationships and it wasn't helpful. This is what we think is normal, but it's an exhausting and unsatisfying way to live life.

I can imagine that your mother in law doesn't want to look at this, she may view that as an admission that she harmed her child. Like an admission of guilt in some ways. This again is very common, my extended family is in total denial despite police reports and scientific reports to the contrary.

Do you think you would be able to get your wife to agree to family or marriage therapy? If so, it would be very helpful to find someone who understands the issues and implications of intergenerational trauma as that's what you are dealing with. Generic talk therapy is unlikely to be helpful unless the underlying issues are addressed.

All the best
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