Effects of Alcoholic Mothers on Daughters (And How to Get Help)


When a parent is consumed by alcohol abuse, meeting their child’s fundamental needs — such as affection, education, healthcare, nutrition, and safety  — often takes a back seat. This can plunge households into chaos.

Children may feel trapped, witness violence and arguments, and blame themselves for their needs not having been met. The resulting unpredictable environment can make children, especially daughters, feel unsafe in their own homes.

This article should help you understand the effects of alcoholic mothers on daughters and how to get help.

5 Effects of Alcoholic Mothers on Daughters

Alcoholic mothers can lead to the following problems with daughters:

1. Negative Self-Image

Children look toward their parents for information about whether they’re doing the right thing. This means how they perceive themselves depends on their caregivers’ remarks and actions.

Unfortunately, alcoholic mothers may not provide their daughters with enough affirmation and may emotionally neglect and belittle them for their benefit.

This can cause them to feel “not good enough,” which can lead to life-long issues with low self esteem.

2. Difficulty with Emotions

Mothers with alcohol addiction often have a difficult time controlling their temper — especially those with concurrent substance abuse — which can lead to rage fits, temper tantrums, and violence. This can cause their daughters to hide emotions like embarrassment, sadness, anger, and frustration to keep themselves safe.

Unfortunately, hiding negative emotions for too long can cause a shutdown of all emotions when children grow up. Daughters might not be able to feel happy or sad even if they want to.

3. Relationship Issues

Children who face parental substance abuse don’t always have a “normal” view of what a healthy relationship looks like because they’re surrounded by family dysfunction.

Their reference might include engaging in physical aggression or exercising control over everything, which can wreak havoc on their adult relationships with others.

4. Alcohol Addiction

Women who grew up in alcoholic families are four times as likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This can be due to risk factors like a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or exposure to addiction in the early-life family environment.

5. High Risk of Mood Disorders

Adult women with alcoholic mothers have a higher risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and other mental health problems. These may be a result of your genetics — especially if your mother’s alcoholism may have been fueled by mental illness.

This increased likelihood could also be caused by childhood trauma, such as neglect, abuse, or exposure to violence and physical aggression.

How to Cope With a Mother’s Alcohol Misuse

If you’re the adult child of a mother with substance use disorder, here’s what to do:

1. Talk to Someone

The first thing you should do is open up to someone about your family situation — past or present. You can reach out to friends, family members, counselors, or therapists — especially the latter because they can offer invaluable guidance and unwavering support during this challenging period.

Therapists — like those working with us at Curednation — can also connect you with local resources, enabling you to create a supportive network that’ll help you heal.

2. Understand It’s Not Your Fault

It might be tempting to shoulder the blame for parental alcohol abuse. But you need to recognize that addiction is a complex problem and that you are not the cause of it.

Remember: you could never have forced your mom to stop drinking if she wasn’t willing.

3. Seek Therapy or Join a Support Group

Living with an alcoholic mother may cause you to feel emotions like guilt, sadness, anger, and fear. Acknowledge these feelings and allow yourself the space to process them because unaddressed emotions can lead to mental health issues like depression.

The best way to do this is to find a support group where you can talk about your experiences and be understood by others who have gone through what you’ve experienced. Even if family therapy is out of the question, you can still work through the trauma and bring your findings home.

Get the Assistance You Need with Curednation

Many adult children of alcoholic mothers face adjustment issues throughout their lives. Seeking help is the first step you should take toward preventing these issues from taking over your life.

Because with the right help and support, it’s possible to break the cycle and give a sense of “normalcy” to your life.

And that’s what we believe at Curednation. Our team is here to help you find the resources and support you need to break free of everything holding you back and live a life that’s wholly yours.


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