4 Ways Divorce Can Impact Your Kids as Adults

It’s a known truth these days that close to 50% of marriages end in divorce; a common phenomenon that impacts many kids and young adults. As a therapist who specializes in work with young adults and women’s issues, I’ve witnessed firsthand, the impacts divorce can have in adulthood. Sure, it’s common to see kids and teens in my practice to help them cope with the instability and stress divorce brings in the moment, but I’ve come to find that the impact of divorce is much more longstanding and manifests in many ways long after; as kids have become adults and started families of their own.

Here are 4 common ways that kids of divorce can struggle in adulthood:

  1. Control

Kids who witness the unpredictability and emotional chaos of divorce seek stability and control. As adults, the need for control can manifest in unhealthy ways such as the need to control others. Extreme discomfort or anxiety occurs when the inevitable happens- we cannot control others and everything around us.

Likely, the need for control can arise from the fear of failure, something which can be created from witnessing failure of a marriage. In efforts to alleviate this fear, adults overcompensate by having rigid expectations for themselves and others around them. This often leads to disappointment, low self-worth and unrealistic expectations for relationships.

  1. Interpersonal Relationships

 As adults, kids who experienced divorce may have trouble with emotional intimacy and have difficulty expressing emotions. Vulnerability can be a scary concept to someone who has witnessed betrayal and the breakdown of trust that divorce can sometimes cause.

  1. Self-Esteem

Kids who get dragged in the middle of their parent’s divorce are more likely to internalize the blame or insults parents trade during divorce. This can have a detrimental impact on self-esteem as an adult.

As well, self-blame can create feelings of guilt and a low sense of self-worth in adults who developed the misconception that divorce was their fault, as kids.

  1. Skewed Expectations of Marriage

Adult children of divorce can develop skewed world views about relationships and marriage. Having  an expectation of “perfection” in intimate relationships (one without conflict) can lead to short-lived and unstable relationships.  These adults will often be disappointed and let down when these unrealistic expectations are unmet by their partner.

It’s important to remember that the ways each individual experiences a loss such as divorce is different, and that generally, kids are extremely resilient. With this said, if you or someone you know are struggling with any of these issues, it might be beneficial to explore them further with a therapist. Therapy can help you gain insight as to how your past has shaped you in the present and to empower you to shift your life in a healthier direction.

Miscarriage Matters

Spring is officially here! Hopefully the weather cooperates soon 😉 Spring is a time of renewal, learning to form and embrace a new version of yourself.

The Centered Life recently partnered with the blog talk radio show “Miscarriage Matters” as a part of the series Renewal of Body, Mind, and Soul. I was invited to be a guest by Danielle Langford. Danielle is an Empowerment Specialist and Workshop Facilitator, who created pinkempowers.com and is also the host of Miscarriage Matters. Miscarriage Matters is a radio show educating the public about miscarriage and loss and how it truly affects a person by offering friendship and a listening ear.

Miscarriage is important to talk about as it happens to women and families everywhere. Miscarriage does not discriminate. Through my work with clients who have experienced a miscarriage, I have gathered that there seems to be this attached shame of talking about it and rushed sense of needing to grieve quickly or if at all. Miscarriage Matters radio exists to let you know that you are not alone and to offer support.

Renewal involves establishing the new normal. Specifically, it is learning to form and embrace a “new version” of yourself with the loss now being a part of you; as a part of your identity.

 

Here are 8 helpful aspects to consider as you start your journey towards a “new normal”:

  1. First and foremost, know that you are not alone. You will never get over the miscarriage, but you can get through it.
  1. Allow yourself to grieve! Allow yourself to go through the grieving process by acknowledging the loss and learning to sit with the pain and to seek support.
  2. Increase your self-care by challenging feelings of guilt, getting involved in things that promote empowerment, and embracing self-love.
  1. Find your sense of self again. Give yourself permission to go through the grieving process- no matter what that looks like.
  1. We are emotional beings: express yourself through the process. Allow yourself to cry, be sad, and be angry, etc.
  1. It is okay to laugh! Experiencing joy is okay, even when you feel sadness and pain.
  1. Renewal starts when you are ready; sometimes loss becomes more painful, before it gets better
  1. Know that your experience is unique and grief is not linear. With that being said, there is no time frame or formula for grief. Everyone grieves differently and that is okay. It all depends on the culture, background, experience, situation, and of course the individual.

 

I encourage you to seek counseling as it can be tremendously helpful to validate your experience. Additionally, I encourage you to seek support through a religious or spiritual affiliation, volunteering, joining a club or organization, and from family/friends. As Danielle said in the show, “Sometimes you need to go outside, to get renewed inside”.

Please be sure to tune in weekly on Tuesdays at 7pm CST to listen to Danielle Langford and Miscarriage Matters. You can connect with Danielle and the rest of the Miscarriage Matters team at blogtalkradio.com/miscarriagematters. You can email them mmradio@mymiscarriagematters.org. I also encourage you to check out Danielle’s website here for inspiration and a schedule of her upcoming workshops!

You can listen to this radio show segment HERE .

 

Best,

Jennifer