Counselling for adult children of divorced or separated parents
Many adult children of divorced parents find they struggle with painful memories of the past – like how it felt growing up apart from their father or mother, feeling like they had to choose between parents, witnessing arguments or being the go-between. These childhood experiences can mean difficult relationships with parents and siblings as adults, as well impacting on relationships with life partners and others.
In my work with divorced parents, I take care to highlight how children feel when families break up. Struggling with their own strong feelings, it is easy for a parent to misunderstand or not see the impact of divorce on a child. Experiences vary according the circumstances of the separation and level of contain maintained between parents and children but experiences of adult children often include:
- Hurt at feeling abandoned or rejected by a parent
- Anger as a result of being lied to, having wishes regarding residency and contact not being listened to and having painful feelings disregarded by a parent
- Lingering sense of low self worth and self esteem
- Trouble with trusting others because of broken promises
- A strong need to control others and events as a result of feeling powerless as a child
- Guilt at childhood behaviour as a result of not having firm boundaries and having too much power as a child
- Fear of the non resident parent, when parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting has taken place
- Feeling jealous of a parent’s new partner and envious of a parent’s attention towards siblings and step siblings
- General confusion and sadness, feeling as if the ability to be carefree has been taken away
I can offer you a deep understanding of the impact of divorce, support you as you explore why you feel as you do and help you find ways to let go and move on from the pain of the past.
“When I approached Sarah, I was at the darkest stage of my life, struggling to come to terms with my parents' divorce after forty years together. Throughout the difficult journey I undertook, with Sarah's help, her method and her challenging yet positive interventions were the most supportive, the most tailored and the most productive of any counselling which I had tried before. Sarah not only listened to me expressing myself, but offered me ways to interrogate the roots of my emotions and, importantly, helped me to find ways of coping with both what had happened and with what I might face in the future. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah; her sessions were a lifeline and offered me the support and encouragement I needed to heal. My husband put it best when he said that Sarah's sessions gave him his wife back.” EM