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People who have been child of parents with psychological problems and/or addiction are called COPP-kids. People with a sibling with psychological problems or disorders will probably also recognize themselves in the feelings and behavior of COPP-people.

Often, we don’t realize that the family we grew up in, has had a very specific influence on us. That the circumstances in which we grew up, might have been not very healthy for us, however sweet our parents were (or not) and however well intended they might have been. In that case, our feelings of safety have been damaged at a very young age. Because of that we have had to develop our survival strategies more rapidly. This survival strategy can become so dominant that we lose our flexibility and resilience.

Sometimes we notice that as a grown up, we bump into the exact same patterns time and again. We keep repeating the same old pattern. For example: parentification (taking over the role/responsibility from the adult while you’re still a kid), efface, taking responsibility for parents or siblings, excessive car taking, etc. Often you will see this happening later in life in your relationship, family and friends and work. And not to forget, the way you relate to and treat yourself, what you consider “normal”, what you expect of yourself.

To recognize the role and influence that growing up under these specific circumstances has had, is often already very helpful. The awareness and this insight will help to develop new strategies and to gain resilience and flexibility.