The term “adult child” is used to describe adults who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes and who exhibit identifiable traits that reveal past abuse or neglect. The group includes adults raised in homes without the presence of alcohol or drugs. These ACA members have the trademark presence of abuse, shame, and abandonment found in alcoholic homes.
Here is a list of common behaviors and characteristics shared by adults who grew up in dysfunctional environments, known as The Laundry List
Here is The Problem as defined by ACA
And here is The Solution
ACA Disease Model
This model represents the disease of family dysfunction. The model is a description of our condition and personality. As children, we were affected in body, mind, and spirit by alcoholism or other family dysfunction. Our bodies stored the trauma, neglect, and rejection in the form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The mind developed the Laundry List Traits or the false self to survive. The Inner Child, the true connection to our Higher Power, went into hiding. ACA recovery can reverse this process.
(The Big Red Book p. xxvi)