When a Parent is Addicted, Too

When your child is addicted to a substance or behavior, whether it’s pornography, gambling, cutting, binging and purging or to depression20 another person, it has a huge impact on us as their parent. If they suffer with a mental illness – Depression, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or an Anxiety Disorder it hurts us, too. If they’re gay or confused about their sexuality we’re affected as well.

Their pain is ours. We’re connected on a deep level, especially us moms. And sometimes we develop unhealthy, addictive behaviors ourselves.

What are you addicted to?

Getting your Way? “My child better please me and do what I told them; they need to live up to my expectations, or else.”

Being in Control? “If they would just listen to me. I have to keep my daughter safe. I know what’s best for my son.”

Fear? “What if __________ happens?”

Enabling?  You help too much; pay bills; rescue repeatedly; bail them out of jail; don’t let them fail and suffer the consequences.

Anger? You’re in the habit of shouting, yelling, and having temper tantrums; they’re afraid of your outbursts; you’re mad at everyone and everything – too often.

Resentment?  “It’s not fair. I don’t deserve this. I didn’t sign up for this.”

Feeling sorry for yourself?  You have pity parties: “Poor me. No one else has to deal with ____________. No one understands. I’m all alone. I’m the only one.”

Despair? You’re overcome with sadness; you can’t be happy or have fun if they’re ___________ or until _______________ happens. People avoid being around you because you’re consumed with your child’s problems – talking about it all the time – or because you’re so depressed.

compassionThe attention you get?  You’ve come to like the sympathy, and focused time you receive from others. It feels good; maybe a little more than is healthy for you.

If you see yourself in any of these you may need to make some changes for your own sanity and well-being.

Parents can become addicted, too. It’s hard for us to see it. We’re blind to what we’re doing to ourselves and to how it’s affecting those around us. We’re making everyone miserable.


What’s the remedy? Here are a few suggestions.

Learn to let go. Author, pastor Max Lucado says, “Keep calm and carry on.” God is in control.

Ask a few friends to pray for you and your child.

Read the Bible and pray. It strengthens you and keeps truth in your mind.

Get connected with a support group. Attend regularly. Find resources.  Al-Anon or Nar-Anon are great, so is Celebrate Recovery; OR start a Hope for Hurting Parents Support Group! Message me and ask me how. I have materials to help you!

Trust God with your child. No matter what happens He will be with you and will take you through.

And above all, remember this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.


Here’s a helpful book you might like that’s an easy read with only forty-seven pages:  Max Lucado, God Will Use This for Good: Surviving the Mess of Life

This Bible verse helps me when I’m struggling:

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).”  NKJV



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2 thoughts on “When a Parent is Addicted, Too

  1. Great post! I was wondering if you had any book recommendations for my mother that has helped you understand and cope with your daughter. She’s having a lot of issues understanding and as a result we are deteriorating.