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November 19, 2019

Adult Children of Divorce: the Distrust, Wounds & Healing we must Process in order to find Healthy Love.

For the most part, divorces are messy, painful, and carry accumulated feelings of anger, resentment, and guilt.

But what happens to the children after the divorce when these emotions are not healed?

I know a lot of divorced parents who have parenting plans set for their children, and on paper, it all looks well.

I, myself, come from divorced parents who also had a plan. Like many parents today, my mother and father told me and my brother that they just couldn’t make it work together and, at that point, it was best for everyone’s sake for them to be apart.

But they forgot one thing—to heal the wounds and contracts created within their time together. Just because they no longer lived together, it did not mean that the unwanted emotions went away.

My parents loved and hurt each other throughout their marriage, as most people in relationships do, and, after a while of not being able to work it out, they knew the best thing to do was to walk away and move on. But what does it really mean—to move on? What is its emotional definition? I will tell you after I tell you a little story about me.

Growing up after my parents’ divorce, I would always hear my mother speak badly about my father and what he did or didn’t do. Not only would we hear what she would tell me and my brother, but we would also overhear the things she would tell her friends and family members about him—because children are always listening.

The negative things she would say about him would overlap the few positive ones she shared. Whenever I was with my father, the same thing would happen; he would speak negatively of my mother to us or his friends more than he would in a positive way.

My brother and I learned to eventually check out because we didn’t know as children how to make it stop and disconnect ourselves from their story—so, by emotionally checking out, we didn’t have to feel their pain anymore. Instead, we absorbed every little thing they would say about each other—the smart remarks, the unnecessary comments, and endless finger-pointing they had—and we used it to establish our definition of husband and wife we would later use in our own relationships.

When I became an adult, I struggled with relationships and so did my brother. You see, our adopted definition of what a husband or wife was was only based on what we saw and heard growing up.

I can personally tell you I struggled with allowing men to support me, allowing them to be men, and trusting them as well as giving and receiving affection. The definition I had of a man was given to me by my mother through the expression of her own pain. I came to believe my dad was a terrible person, because my definition of a father was also my mother’s definition of a man. How? Well, even though he was my dad, I only saw him as the man my mom defined him as.

I tell you this story about me because this happens more often than not in many homes today. Children are being held responsible to be the mediators of their parents’ relationship, whether the parents are consciously aware they are doing it or not. Many relationships over the years have lost intimacy, affection, and unity, and children are growing adopting this as how relationships should work.

Parent versus Spouse

I remember my mother would say, “You need to know who your father is.” And my father would just say, “Your mother is {insert negative things}.”

But this was just their perception of each other. Everyone has a different perception of someone depending on the type of relationship they hold with them. One person can have hundreds of definitions of who they are as a person, because the way people see you is only through the filtered glass of their own inner emotional state.

For example, my best friend may think I am a super laid-back person who is nice and supporting. But someone whom I have a disagreement with may think that I am the worst friend to have. Either definition is only limited by their perception and type of relationship they hold with me.

So, in essence, when a parent says, “You need to know who your father/mother is,” or they tell you who they think that parent is, it’s a biased definition based on the type of interaction they had and the accumulated feelings they hold for them. So when talking to a child about their parent, are you speaking from the wife/husband perspective or the parent perspective?

Consequences of Not Healing

Because neither of my parents healed their pain from their time together, they spent their time apart bleeding it out every chance they had, constantly reminded of their own unresolved emotions from their relationship in the time they were together.

As an adult, it took me a long time to conceive the child I wanted. I had a long list of beliefs, traumas, and unresolved emotions that wouldn’t allow me to have the family I wanted, because that family did not exist—not per my life experiences and interactions. I did everything you can possibly think of (except artificial insemination) to get pregnant, but had no luck.

I searched outside of me for a solution to my problem, yet the answer was within me the whole time. I had to heal intimacy, sexuality, being a husband, being a wife, allowing support, releasing anger toward men, forgiving myself, forgiving my parents, accepting motherhood for the gift that it is, accepting that it is possible to be loved and have a family as well as to keep a family, healing abandonment, and the list goes on. I couldn’t create the family I desired under the limiting beliefs I had.

So What Does it Mean to Move On?

To move on is to truly heal, to truly release the person and all of the negative emotions that were accumulated in the time shared with them. To cut the cords created over time; to disconnect energetically from them; to take your power back from your spouse; to release the belief that you must hold on to that story as a reminder; to truly forgive yourself, your spouse, and your marriage; and ultimately to able to be around them and not be triggered.

When you are able to be around someone who you may have negative emotions for and you are no longer bothered negatively or positively by them, you know you’ve healed. At this point, you can be in full gratitude for their existence, because without them you wouldn’t have seen the painful parts of you they mirrored and you wouldn’t have the wonderful children you both created. This doesn’t mean that you have to be their best friend; it just means you’ve healed your wounds for you.

My parents are human just like you and me. They had lots of unresolved emotions toward each other without them even noticing, and these were passed down to my brother and me, not on purpose, simply because they could only reflect how they felt inside.

It is not our children’s responsibility to help us heal our wounds. It is not their responsibility to hear our pain and carry it—because they will. It is solely our responsibility as parents to heal the wounds we created out of our own free will.

Healing yourself of the suppressed, trapped, and unresolved feelings you may have isn’t only healthy for you as a person but also for the emotional development of your children. When you heal, you open the door for your children to heal as well and to have the opportunity to make their own mistakes, without having to repeat yours. And as a bonus, you also open the door for your ancestors to heal.

Teaching our children comes from self-behavior. They follow what we do, not what we say.

~

If you or anyone you know has gone through a divorce and still gets triggered, or has feelings of resentment or anger, contact us today. Through healing sessions, I am able to help you release and heal so that you can find the joy that you desire.

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author: Melissa Valle

Image: Boyhood / IMDb

Editor: Kelsey Michal