Working at the Laundromat — A Checklist for ACA’s in the Workplace


1. We confuse our boss or supervisor with our alcoholic parent(s) or qualifier and have similar relationship patterns, behaviors, and reactions that are carry-overs from childhood.

2. We confuse our co-workers with our siblings or our alcoholic parent(s) and repeat childhood reactions in those working relationships.

3. We expect lavish praise and acknowledgment from our boss for our efforts on the job.

4. Authority figures scare us and we feel afraid when we need to talk to them.

5. We get a negative “gut reaction” when dealing with someone who has the physical characteristics or mannerisms of our alcoholic qualifier.

6. We have felt isolated and different from everyone around us, but we don’t really know why.

7. We lose our temper when things upset us rather than dealing with problems productively.

8. We busy ourselves with our co-workers’ jobs, often telling them how to do their work.

9. We can get hurt feelings when co-workers do things socially together without asking us, even though we have not made an effort to get to know them and join in the social life.

10. We are afraid to make the first move to get to know a co-worker better, thinking they will not like us or approve of us.

12. We usually do not know how to ask for what we want or need on the job, even for little things.

13. We do not know how to speak up for ourselves when someone has said or done something inappropriate. We try desperately to avoid face-to-face confrontations.

14. We are sensitive and can get extremely upset with any form of criticism of our work.

15. We want to be in charge of every project or activity, feeling more comfortable when we are in control of every detail, rather than letting others be responsible.

16. We may be the workplace “clown” to cover up our insecurities or to get attention from others.

17. We are people-pleasers and may take on extra work, or our co-workers’ tasks, in order to be liked and receive approval from others.

18. We do not know how to be assertive in getting our needs met or expressing a concern. We may have to repeatedly rehearse our comments before delivering them.

19. We have felt that we do not deserve a raise, promotion, better workspace, or a better job.

20. We do not know how to set boundaries, and we let others interrupt us. We can accept more work without knowing how to say ‘no’ appropriately.

21. We are perfectionists about our own work and expect others to be the same and have the same work ethics and values.

22. We become workaholics because it gives us a feeling of self-worth we did not get as a child.

23. We may jump from job to job, looking for the perfect position as the substitute for the secure and nurturing home environment we did not have.

24. We get upset when people do things that affect us or our work without asking us first.

25. We have a high tolerance for workplace dysfunction and tend to stick it out in an unhappy job because we lack the self-esteem to leave.