King Baby is Born!
by Mark Sichel, LCSW
Charlie* is a grown man who is the son of parents who "loved too much." Charlie is in his mid-40's, a successful software engineer, tall, blond and handsome. Charlie has been sober for fifteen years, and his life is going well, but he cannot seem to become involved with a woman. "I don't get it, I know I'm a 'great catch', but women don't seem to want to be anything other than my friend."
Charlie told me that when he was a toddler, he did not like his parents to go out at night. He related that whenever they tried to leave him with a babysitter, he blocked the door and became so hysterical that they were afraid to leave him. When Charlie cried, his parents jumped. When Charlie pouted, his parents praised him. When Charlie was angry, his parents would give him anything he wanted to mollify him. King Baby was born.
Charlie became very comfortable in his role as King. He told me that his mother always treated him like royalty. When his father's drinking became out of control and his parents split up, King Baby Charlie was treated as the man of the house. He became his mother's support, confidante and partner, and was granted, as befits royalty, any wish he commanded.
Given that Charlie was raised with no limits, controls, boundaries, or responsibility to authority, he started drinking and drugging at an early stage, and was out of control until he bottomed out at twenty-seven. Charlie's been in recovery for 15 years now, but still has trouble living with the fact that the world does not treat him as royally as he was treated by his mother. Potential relationship candidates bolt for the door when they realize how self-centered and co-dependent Charlie is. Women want to be equals, not maids in waiting for King Baby. It will take a lot of work and perseverance for Charlie to overcome his alcohologenic upbringing to become attractive as a mate. Charlie is a guy whose parents loved too much.
Parents who love too much are parents whose own dependency needs are out of hand, and unconsciously strive to cripple their children. They allow their children to "rule the roost" thereby promoting the development of the King Baby aspect of the future alcoholic, and they fail to teach limits, controls and boundaries. They feel that they are being loving to their children, but in reality, are actively breeding future alcoholics. These are alcohologenic parents.
You CAN break the cycle. To hear the story of a recovering alcoholic who struggles not to become an alcohologenic parent, read Parents Who Love Too Much.
To learn more about why parents who love too much have such a devastating effect on their children's emotional growth, read The Alcohologenic Parent.
*The names of all clients have been changed to protect their identities.
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