King Baby Characteristics

‘King Baby’ is a title sometimes conferred on us, especially in early recovery, and refers to the characteristic infantile ego possessed by those who need to grow up. King Babies are driven by self-will, banging with all their might on their high chair trays. Recovery is a process of maturing emotionally and spiritually. Maybe that’s why Bill W. referred to AA as a ‘Spiritual Kindergarten’.
What is a King Baby (or if you prefer, Queen Baby)? This is someone who needs to control others. It is someone who has an inability to accept frustrations. It is someone who wants it our way, right away.
What are some other characteristics of King Baby? None of us have all these traits, but we will probably find many that describe us. Here is a list roughly adapted from a Hazelden Recovery Pamphlet of the same name:

(1) Often becomes angry or afraid of authority figures and attempts to manipulate them to get thier own way.
(2) Seeks approval to the extent that the lose their own identity in the process
(3) Makes a good 1st impression, but are unable to follow through.
(4) Have difficulty accepting criticism and becomes threatened and angry when criticized.
(5) Have addictive personalities and are driven to extremes
(6) Are self-rejecting or self-alienated.
(7) Are often immobilized by anger and frustration, and are rarely satisfied
(8) Are usually lonely even when surrounded by people.
(9) Are chronic complainers who blame others for what is wrong with their lives.
(10) Feel unappreciated and think they don’t fit in.
(11) Sees the world as a jungle filled with selfish people who aren’t there for them.
(12) Sees everything as a catastrophe, a life and death situation.
(13) Judge life in absolutes, black-and-white, right or wrong.
(14) Live in the past while fearful of the future
(15) Have strong feelings of dependence and exaggerated fears of abandonment
(16) Fear failure and rejection and won’t try new things that they might not do well
(17) Are obsessed with money and material things
(18) Dream big plans and schemes  and have little ability to make things happen.
(19) Cannot tolerate illness in themselves or others.
(20) Prefer to charm superiors and intimidate subordinates
(21) Believes that rules are and laws are for others, not for themselves
(22) Often become addicted to excitement, life in the fast lane.
(23) Hold emotional pain within and lose touch with their feelings.

[Harry M Tiebout MD – The Ego Factors in Surrender in Alcoholism (Hazelden Educational Materials)].


King Baby Characteristics — 20 Comments

  1. I have read this book cover to cover and went through each characteristics and wrote down how these characteristics pertain to myself and in turn went through this material with a trained therapist this material changed my life for the better I am now a more happier well adjusted adult that makes better deacions to offer my children to help them obtain the goal of healthy, happy, well adjusted adults.

    • As a recovering addict, these characteristics really resonated in a profound way. Thank you. I believe core of addictive behavior. Just clarifies for me. Therapy is the next step.

  2. Wow, just the title made me angry, but as I read it I related to the whole reading, I really can not believe it… it’s amazing to me hopefully I will get alot from this assignment

  3. Very thorough description of person, who have stopped drinking and still hold negative personal ity traits. Also characteristic of the alcoholic. These traits are turn offs and make it impossible for anyone to have a normal relationship w / King Baby.

  4. My 16 year old grandson has these traits is in institute for treatment. My son, his father and I are attending classes in Denton Texas. Very helpful where can I get this book

  5. Wow this explains a lot about our workplace disfunction. Only two of us work a 12 step program ……

    • some people don’t neee a 12 step program …..we got the principles from sources other than alcoholics

  6. Currently doing a painting of my disease of D/A addiction. And I chose King Baby as one of the “faces” of my disease. (he’s blue w/ a gold crown and he is screamin’ & throwin’ a fit ) Lol… yea, that’s me. The reference is perfect for “this” addict.

  7. I’m in recovery and this is the first time I’ve read this. It’s awesome and every one in recovery should read this. Thanks again for this useful reading.

    • AA is not a self help program I was told these are the things I need to bring to God its not up to me to fix myself as I have been trying to do that my whole life and have made headway only since I asked God into my life along with the 12 steps of recovery

    • Carlos…thanks for your honesty. Me too…strikes too close to home. So times quickly…so times slowly… I gotta remember a work in progress.

  8. The dreaded king baby I remember doing an extensive study on King Baby while at the RSAT down in Bainbridge Ga but it pointed out many traits I had to overcome if I wanted to get better

  9. I’ve been exposed to the 12-step program lifestyle my whole life starting im Ala-teen st 12 for my parents alcoholism, Al-anon in my 30’s for a relationship I was in with a practicing addict, and finally, in AA for yours truly for my own alcohol addiction.
    Question is, I’ve never heard of this term until today and ironically not through the program. Is it really that prolific and I’ve just been looking the other direction, or is it more obscure than that?

    • It’s very common in AA and other addictive types of people but not unique, it doesn’t matter how long people have been around the fellowships it’s still can come back.

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