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How can adult children respond to parental relationship problems and whether to intervene
How can adult children respond to parental relationship problems and whether to intervene

Disagreements between mom and dad will always hurt, and therefore you should pay more attention to your own feelings.

How can adult children respond to parental relationship problems and whether to intervene
How can adult children respond to parental relationship problems and whether to intervene

This article is part of the One-on-One Project. In it we talk about relationships with ourselves and others. If the topic is close to you, share your story or opinion in the comments. Will wait!

Many articles have been written about when it is time for parents to let go of their adult children and stop interfering in their lives. There are also a lot of tips on how to help a small child survive the divorce of mom and dad. But almost nothing is said about what to do if you are 40 and your parents are getting divorced. And it hurts just as much as it did at 10.

Should you intervene when parents quarrel or break up? And how to live if you can't do anything? The life hacker understands this complex topic together with psychologists.

Why we continue to be hurt by parental relationship problems

It would seem that when we grow up, we should experience the differences between mom and dad differently. It is understandable why they hurt a small child. Firstly, he does not have enough experience, and he perceives every quarrel as the collapse of the world. Secondly, everything happens literally before his eyes, he is directly involved in these events.

An adult lives separately and understands something about this life. And so it seems like I should react more restrainedly. But parental difficulties and scandals still hurt and do not pass without leaving a trace even for grown up and completely independent children.

In my practice, I often come across such a request: "My mom and dad are getting divorced, why am I so worried and it hurts and badly, as if I am six years old again and I observe their scandals?" Because parents will always be parents. And what happens to them and their personal life will forever remain for us something very important and defining the family and our place in the family.

Marta Marchuk practicing psychologist, master of psychology

Moreover, parental relationships continue to affect our lives much more than it seems. Psychologist and specialist of the service Sergey Alekseev notes that in childhood it is they who determine how we feel the world in which we grow up: reliable, prosperous and supportive, or vice versa - dangerous and unpredictable.

Starting to live his own life, a son or daughter carries away within himself the image of this world, the image of a strong home. If everything went well, then this is a great internal resource, a support that is always at their disposal.

Sergey Alekseev psychologist

The more the image of the house is associated with a warm experience, the easier it is for a child to fly out of the nest, to take a difficult step into the world. And if later a crisis occurs in this “nest”, it will be perceived more adequately: “Parents are not only my mom and dad, but also a couple of adults. There are twists and turns in their relationship, difficulties, and sometimes they even end. I can worry about them, I can be very sorry if something goes wrong. But my image of a reliable world, formed in childhood, is forever with me. He is already a part of me, and the current relationship of his parents does not split him."

Alas, not everyone is lucky to grow up in prosperity. And then the inner image of the house remains unfinished, unreliable. It requires constant investment to maintain this design. A person in such a situation can live with an eye on the experience in the parental family and perceive the trouble in the parents' relationship as an attempt on his own "home inside". Because of this, there may be a desire to control them, force them to peace, or care about "justice."

Should I interfere with parental relationships?

Parents are usually advised to stop interfering in the lives of children, arguing that children have already grown up, and relations between adults work according to slightly different principles. Everyone is responsible for his own life and has the right to act as he wants. In the opposite direction, it also works.

It is important to remember: parents are two adults who independently decide what to do with their lives. This is the relationship between husband and wife, in which they themselves understand. At the same time, mom and dad will still be with the children, even if they are already adults.

Natalia Tormyshova psychologist-psychotherapist

It is possible that parents, as in childhood, will pull an adult child over to their side. Everyone will want to make him their ally in order to receive help and support. But, unlike a child, an adult already has the resources and the ability to defend himself - not to be drawn into an undesirable situation, to protect his personal boundaries and save his nerves.

In such cases, I recommend talking to Mom and Dad and tell them the following: “You are my parents, I love both of you. Therefore, I will not take sides, but will communicate equally with each of you, as before."

Martha Marchuk

According to Marta Marchuk, choosing someone's side is a childish position. It is worth cooling down your emotions and coming to an understanding that the parents lived life together and each of them made a contribution to this situation. Therefore, there is no unequivocal truth, no matter how they present it.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.

It is worth interfering only in two cases: you were asked to help, and both sides, or someone is in danger, and you know about it.

Natalia Tormyshova

Dealing with anxiety

Of course, it is easier to say that it is better not to interfere with the relationship of parents than to do it. It doesn't matter, in fact, whether you interfere or not. You can still be anxious, scared, and painful. Especially if mom and dad are breaking up after years of marriage.

Divorce of parents for a child at any age is stressful, especially if the marriage seemed happy. The picture of the world is literally crumbling. A person is faced with a reality that is imperfect, and sometimes frankly ugly. It scares, drives into misunderstanding, there is sadness, sadness, longing. This is completely normal and understandable.

Natalia Tormyshova

It is with your emotions that you need to work. For example, to deal with feelings of guilt, if it seems that you could have prevented a crisis and this is all happening because of you - adult children are also characterized by such experiences. But Natalia Tormyshova warns: "This is not so, do not take on your own piece of responsibility."

If you feel like intervening, ask yourself why you are doing it and what you hope to achieve. Sometimes this is the position of an immature person who is used to the world revolving around him and wants others to do as he pleases. And sometimes it’s an attempt to get profit, no matter how strange it may sound.

As a rule, we only intervene in situations where we want to receive emotional or monetary gain. The emotional benefit is not always recognized. A person gets used to saving others at the expense of himself, but in this way he tries to get the recognition and love of others.

Natalia Tormyshova

To understand your emotions, you first have to name them, define how you feel and why. Often, awareness of the reasons already helps to calm down a little.

For example, your parents are getting divorced, you are scared and it seems that it will never be good again. But if you dig deeper, it turns out that you are afraid of something in particular. Namely, that your relationship will not work out either, because the marriage of your parents has always been an example for you. After you understand this, perhaps the situation will cease to seem so frightening, because the fate of your parents' marriage does not determine the fate of yours.

You need to be prepared for the fact that in words everything is much simpler than it will be in practice, but it will most likely be difficult. Even if you do everything right, this does not mean that the pain will be relieved by hand. Therefore, if you feel that you cannot cope, it is better to consult a psychologist. He will help you survive the situation and minimize its impact on your future life.