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Adult Children of Divorce and Thanksgiving: The “Giving” Never Ends!

Adult Children of Divorce and Thanksgiving: The “Giving” Never Ends!

I’m not sure why it happens, but I know many grown children of divorce who still feel this way—make each parent happy first, deal with your needs second. And, still, it’s never enough.

The post Adult Children of Divorce and Thanksgiving: The “Giving” Never Ends! appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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divorcing with adult children

Divorcing With Adult Children: It Isn’t Easier

divorcing with adult children

 

There are tons of resources and advice on getting divorced with minor children but adult children tend to be forgotten. What’s important to understand about divorce with adult children is that it is still painful for them.

Divorcing with adult children isn’t easier or harder but it is different and that means you can’t take anything for granted.

You need to be every bit as mindful and intentional about your divorce as you would have been if your children were still minors.

How to handle divorcing with adult children.

Telling Your Children

How your children hear about your divorce matters. With minor children living at home, the best approach is for both parents to tell all the children together so they all hear the same message. Divorce attorney-turned adviser and coach, Karen Covy says that’s still the best approach for adult children.

“However you can orchestrate getting everyone together whether it’s physically or virtually, at the same time, in the same place, gives you the most control over what’s communicated and how it’s communicated,” said Covy.

The danger in telling each child individually is that before you even finished having the conversation with the first child, they’re already passing on the news to their sibling(s) via text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever other technology they use.

Adult Children Feel Responsible

Adult children do take on the responsibility for their parents’ divorce, just as minor children do but they do it in a different way.

“They might not feel that they’re necessarily responsible for the breakup of the marriage,” said Covy. “They feel responsible for their parents’ unhappiness for all the years that they stayed together just for the kids.”

That translates often into a huge amount of guilt and it’s something that most parents don’t think about especially if they’re struggling with their own guilt. With that burden of guilt, your child may be advocating against the divorce or encouraging marriage counseling. They may be well-meaning but this is not their decision.

With long term marriages, the kids may be wondering if you’ve managed to make the marriage work for 30. 35, 40 years, why not just keep doing do what you’ve been doing.

“Just because you’ve handled it for 40 years doesn’t mean that you want to continue handing it for whatever time is left,” said Covy. “The problem is no children ever want to see their parents get divorced but it’s your decision, not theirs.”

It’s Harder When They Don’t See It Coming

Children who think their parents have a perfect marriage and don’t see the divorce coming have a harder time coping and especially when a child has a close relationship with a parent. Covy references research by Professor Tamara Afifi. She has a TEDx talk on the impact of divorce on children – see minute 11:56 for when she talks about children who don’t see the divorce coming.

I think children don’t see divorce coming when one party has decided the marriage needs to end but has made a decision to wait until the children are in college before acting. That parent starts to withdraw from the marriage, detaches and so they don’t engage in conflict and are able to construct this facade of a happy marriage. That enables the parent to stay in the marriage, to do family events and celebrations, have family vacations.

Then, when the end of the marriage happens the child is surprised because their parents never argued so of course, they had no idea the marriage was troubled.

“It rocks their whole world,” said Covy. “They start doubting whether what they saw was real. It’s not at all what it seemed.”

That starts a process rewriting their history and trying to make sense of family vacations and holidays. They struggle to find the truth in these events and it’s hard for them to accept the concept of multiple realities.

Adult children of divorce also start to look at their own relationships. That their parents did such a good job of covering up their problems, makes the child wonder about what’s real or solid in their own relationship.

The Kids Usually Know Something Is Not Right

While some kids don’t see the end of their parents’ marriage coming, many do. They’ve heard the arguments, or they’ve seen the behaviors that have made the marriage crumble or that made staying together really difficult.

Even if they don’t know the full extent, once you remove the protective shield of keeping up the facade, and the children start to renegotiate their relationship with each parent, their awareness will increase.

The Kids Don’t Need To Know Everything

While adult children struggle to rewrite their truth, it can be tempting to try to explain your own reality. There’s a fine line.

“For parents, the smartest thing is they’ve got to walk the line,” said Covy. “They want to share enough information to reassure them that no those weren’t fake. Those happy memories really were happy memories but perhaps there were other memories that the children weren’t privy to.”

Parents usually keep those circumstances from the children out of love and wanting to protect the children and that doesn’t make the other memories fake. And just because the parents have made the decision to end their marriage doesn’t mean that it is now time to share everything that has been going on.

Covy says the key here is to listen to your child and to let them vent. They may be angry. They may be frustrated and they’re going to have an opinion but don’t play into it and don’t get defensive.

Avoid Oversharing

This is related to children not needing to know everything but it’s so important it needs to be emphasized. A common mistake that many people make is to overshare with their adult children because they think they’re adults and they can handle it. That’s not necessarily true.

Avoiding oversharing becomes trickier with adult children because they are going to ask the questions that younger children don’t. For example, your adult child may come right out and ask if you or their other parent was having an affair. If an affair was involved you might feel like telling your child because it justifies the divorce, it helps to explain everything.

“We all value honesty in our close relationships so that gives parents the impetus to overshare,” said Covy. “But then what? Nobody wants to know their parent was having a 10-year affair and all the gory details of who it was and what they did and where it happened. Nobody wants to know that about their parent. And to think that won’t damage a relationship with a parent is crazy.”

While you are not responsible for covering up or keeping your STBX’s secrets Covy says that your North Star for deciding what to share is asking if sharing the information will hurt your child’s relationship with their other parent and whether not sharing it will hurt your child’s relationship with you.

Related to over-sharing is getting your child over-involved. A classic example of this is when one parent needs to move out of the marital home and asks their child if they can move in with them. Finances may be very limited and finding somewhere inexpensive to live for at least a few months may be a priority but if there are other options take them. And, if the real reason to move in with your child is for emotional support, then all the more reason to look for somewhere else to live. Your child is not your social support system or your therapist.

Don’t Ask Or Expect Your Child To Take A Side

Based on my experience, I think it is more common for adult children to take sides in their parents’ divorce because they do know or think they know more about the circumstances. This isn’t healthy and it’s not what we want. In the short term, taking sides will certainly hurt the child’s relationship with the parent they’re opposing. In the long run, it may even hurt their relationship with the parent with whom they’re allied. The other real danger is that it will damage a child’s relationship with their sibling(s) because it pits them against each other.

This is easier said than done especially in situations where one parent is oversharing. For example, if you end up keeping the marital home as a result of the divorce negotiations, your child might say that they don’t think it’s fair that their other parent gave you the home. The word ‘gave’ is a red flag that your STBX has been oversharing and painting you in a negative light.

To not respond or defend yourself would likely damage your relationship with your child which may already be strained. At the same time, you want to avoid oversharing because the details of the divorce are not your child’s business. Even if your STBX is oversharing, taking the high road is the right choice.

In this case, responding with an acknowledgment that yes you did get the home, that your STBX didn’t “give” you the home, and then stating that your ex got other assets that are worth as much as the house would be appropriate. You could also explain that the legal process does call for an equitable division of the assets and that is supervised by the court.

It’s Takes Time To Rebuild

While your adult child is wondering what was real about the family vacations and Holiday get-togethers may be an opportunity for you to reassure them that’s how you can all still be a family even after divorce, Covy stresses that it still takes time to rebuild.

It’s simply not realistic to think that because you and your STBX have managed these events civilly, even amicably in the past that you can carry on doing so as if the divorce didn’t change anything. It’s a great ideal but it does take most families time and commitment to achieve this.

“I see so many people put pressure on themselves and say, ‘I want to be best friends with my ex’ and I say, ‘Yeah, but you haven’t even divorced him, yet’” said Covy. “If you’re not friends immediately that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to ever be friends or be on good terms them.”

Give yourself the time to get through the legal process first and to let the dust settle. Sometimes continuing family dinners while you’re navigating your separation is just too painful and doesn’t help the children either because it exposes to them to on-going conflict and makes feel caught in the middle.

This article was originally published on Since My Divorce.

The post Divorcing With Adult Children: It Isn’t Easier appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Is My Adult Child A Narcissist? When Helping Them Is Hurting You

Is My Adult Child A Narcissist? When Helping Them Is Hurting You

 

Is my adult child a narcissist? is one of the most devastating questions a parent can ask.

Some years ago, I went through this terrible trauma myself.

In today’s Thriver TV I want to help you realise what is necessary for you to know whether or not your child is narcissistic…

…and how to BE your most healthy and powerful, for all concerned, and possibly able to discover that your adult child isn’t narcissistic and is capable of being respectful and loving.

Regardless of the outcome, there is an even more powerful truth that you will need to watch today’s video to understand.

It’s my most heartfelt wish today, if you are struggling with the agony of your child being narcissistic, that this episode will help grant you peace, strength and direction.

 

 

Video Transcript

Many people in this Community have asked this question.

In fact, once upon a time I asked this question myself.

In Today’s Thriver TV Episode, I want to help you understand whether or not your adult child is being narcissistically abusive and, even more than this, I want to help you understand how you need to BE to help yourself regardless of the outcome.

Please listen up, because I know if this is your situation this episode is going to help you a lot.

Okay … before we get started, I want to remind you that if you haven’t yet subscribed to my channel please do. And if you like this video, please make sure you hit the like button.

Let’s get started…

 

What We Thought WOULD Help

First of all, I want to address many of the false premises we often believe as parents that do not help our children in any shape or form.

The main ones are:

That we help our children by giving them all we can to help them.

It doesn’t help!

When we don’t allow our children to experience actions and consequences and disappointments, and by doing so allow them to become self-generative, they don’t have to take responsibility for themselves or get well.

Let me tell you about a father I know called Laurence who had his 23-year-old daughter Emily living with him. Emily, a highly intelligent and capable girl, had been through a lot due to Laurence and her mother’s breakup.

Laurence felt extremely guilty because of this. She lived with Laurence rent free, didn’t contribute any money to bills, and stayed at home all day because she said that she was too depressed to work.

Emily constantly demanded money from her father for cigarettes and her entertainment costs, which Laurence gave her every time she threw a tantrum to get her own way. It could be argued that Emily absolutely was acting narcissistically – the way she talked to her father and treated him was abysmal.

Nothing was changing and Emily did not have to be any different. She had a guaranteed roof over her head and could get pretty much anything she wanted.

Which brings me to the next point…

Our children are never going to be self-generative or respectful and grateful if we try to shoulder them and let them take the easy way out. We may believe that by taking the burden for them we are helping protect them and allowing them to get well. However, really what is happening is that we are holding our children back, just as a mother bird would be by not nudging her babies out of the nest.

When our children have never had to flap their wings and learn to fly for themselves, their self-esteem is diminished and they are held back from branching out, taking risks and growing.

For our children this means that they are likely to be depressed, feel inferior and incapable, and as a result lash out and take it out on the people closest to them.

I went through this too, with my son Zac. Whilst he was depressed, addicted to drugs and stuck at home, with me allowing him to be there and looking after him he didn’t get better. Of course, whilst this was happening I was still lecturing and prescribing – which were my futile attempts to try to get him motivated. It was when I forced Zac to move out at 19 years of age and I started working diligently on myself to stop seeing him as broken and hopeless, that he came into his power and light.

Truly, I was so close to believing he was a narcissist – and yet he is anything but. Rather he was sick and was being enabled by me to stay sick. Also, whilst my son Zac stayed at home, I was receiving the abuse from him that I didn’t yet understand wasn’t my reality.

When I became clear and stood into my power, values and truth for my life, he followed.

 

What Is Necessary When Suffering Trauma From Your Child?

How do you know if your child is narcissistic or not? The truth is you won’t know until you get clear on your own healing, solidness, values and truth.

And I really want you to know this from the very bottom of my heart. If you have an adult child who you suspect is acting narcissistically, you are not going to help them get well or make them start treating you decently and respectfully until you start respecting yourself and take a stand in your truth.

I have seen parent upon parent in this community, as I did myself for a long time too, try to stop the terrible trauma that their adult child was causing them when they themselves (the parent) were still broken and traumatised.

It doesn’t work … I have NEVER seen it work.

I really don’t think there is any time that Quantum Law is more important and more vital for us to get right than when we are dealing with the challenges and heartbreak we are suffering with our children.

Quantum Law is so within, so without.

What does that really mean? It means ‘be the change you want to see’. I think it would be fair to say that we want to see decency, respect and integrity from our children who are hurting us.

This means that you need to be this for yourself for this to show up outside of you as your experience in your experience – from anyone you are struggling with, including your child!

What would decency, respect and integrity to ‘self’ look like?

Let’s go back to Laurence and Emily. To Laurence these things would mean getting money for board and bills, and to only accept non-abusive communication. Also to lay down boundaries and time limits that Emily would need to honour otherwise she would need to move out.

We may not realise at the time that maybe it is our own guilt we are pandering to, or the fear of our children not loving us, rather than thinking about the consequences of enabling our children in their stuckness. Emily wasn’t getting well any more than any of our children do when we leave things the way they are, hoping something will change.

Quantum Law is absolute – nothing changes in your experience that isn’t pleasant until you change who you are being in the dynamic. Laurence wasn’t changing. He was doing the same thing – trying to make Emily change whilst he wasn’t loving and respecting himself.

How was she ever going to love and respect herself and him when he, as her parent, wasn’t being this for himself. She wasn’t and couldn’t. She continued smoking, drinking, refusing to work and contribute, and being abusive towards his father.

Because Laurence was being abused and drained of his lifeforce and resources, he got sicker and sicker. He started drinking as well, to numb out his pain. He couldn’t expand on his business ideas, and had unsuccessful dating experiences, all because he couldn’t be present and healthy in his Life as a result of Emily’s pressure and demands.

This is the deal with our adult children – if we allow them to stay sick we get sick and we drown with them.

There is only one way out and that is to lead the way. And it is only after we do this that we then see if they are narcissistic or not.

In the cases of my son Zac and Emily, they were never going to get well the way things were and neither were Laurence and I. However, I am so happy to report that Laurence and his daughter finally understood what I did.

It was several years after my situation with Zac that I helped Laurence get very clear on what was necessary. This is what I told him, ‘When you know that loving and respecting yourself is the most important thing here, then Emily will have the chance to move up and join you. Otherwise it can never happen.’

Laurence did a lot of work on himself with NARP to shift out of his terrible feelings of guilt and obligation, as well as the fear of losing Emily altogether. Then he calmly and clearly told her she had a month to get a job and that she would need to pay for board and bills from this date on.

She didn’t take him seriously and when the date came, Lawrence told her calmly and clearly to pack her stuff and leave. She called him every terrible name she could think of. He held his ground and did not capitulate. Emily moved in with a girlfriend, who naturally was not going to put up with paying Emily’s way.

Emily got a job in a café within a week. Every time she asked Laurence for money he said ‘No’. Emily stopped drinking and smoking and started saving for the things she needed and wanted.

Today, only three years later, she works as a successful graphic designer in her own business that she loves. She and her father have a great relationship.

When Emily moved out, Laurence said he would hang up or refuse to talk to her if she was abusive – and he did. Two years ago Emily thanked her father profusely for setting those boundaries with her and has apologised liberally for her past behaviour towards him. She loves and respects her father immensely. His door was always open to her when she was being like that!

Emily did a complete 180 degree turn on the way she used to treat her father, because he loves and respects himself.

Absolutely Laurence had to go through a great deal of discomfort and pain – he had to keep holding his boundaries and continually let go of his guilt and his wanting to rescue her. Look at the results – just as it was with my own son Zac. Walking our truth powerfully and calmly, and keeping working on ourselves inwardly with NARP, created the solid healthy inner and then outer template for our children.

Our children often follow and develop into where we go. Emily may have turned out to be narcissistic if Laurence had continued with his own powerless, co-dependent behaviour. As it turned out both he and his daughter ended up being whole, healthy, self-generative people.

Honestly, as parents it only takes us to lead the way.

 

When Your Adult Child Is a Narcissist

I do know many people within this community who devastatingly have suffered a child who is narcissistic. In the case of your adult child being this way it can be terrible, especially if they have children as well. Many a grandparent has had the grandchildren used against them horribly by their narcissistic adult children or step-children.

I want to share with you this story about Jeanee and David whose adult narcissistic daughter Marina was abusing them terribly.

Marina would use her parents constantly for babysitting duties for her four young children. Jeanee and David loved their grandchildren but struggled greatly with their daughter’s demands, accusations, anger and inconsistencies.

Often they went through the gut-wrenching times when Marina would threaten to never let them see the children again. The children, whilst in their grandparent’s care, would tell them what terrible things their mother had said about them. This broke their hearts, especially as Marina expected them to do so much for the grandchildren – things that she wasn’t taking responsibility to do herself.

There was never gratitude, just abuse for their love and efforts.

When Jeanee contacted me, she said that Marina had been difficult all their lives, and now that these four precious babies were in the mix as well it was literally killing her and her husband. I convinced Jeanee that the most important thing for her and her husband, as well as her grandchildren – and even Marina – was for her, Jeanee, to lead the way and get well.

Jeanee worked with NARP, letting go of the trauma within her that Marina was inflicting. She also did healings on her husband and her grandchildren by proxy. Jeanee felt calmer and more confident with what she was dealing with, and saw a bigger picture that she was working towards.

Jeanee started laying boundaries with her daughter, requesting she contact them ahead of time to make arrangements and to end the last-minute demands. And Jeanee stopped allowing her love for her grandchildren to allow her to be manipulated and abused. If they missed a doctor’s appointment or didn’t get to school on time, that was not her responsibility.

At times it broke her heart not jumping to Marina’s attention for her grandchildren, but she understood that often you have to lose the battle to win the war – and she was determined to be the model of love, truth and integrity that she wanted these little ones to become in their lives.

The inevitable happened. With the boundaries she set came Marina’s nasty efforts to rip the boundaries down. That didn’t work and so the next, quite common, thing happened – Marina pulled her trump card on Jeanee telling her she wouldn’t see the children again.

Through a torrent of tears Jeanee shared this with me, and I kept lovingly bringing her back to the Quantum Truth of so within, so without. I said, ‘If you look after emotion first, if you release all of this trauma from inside, the space opens up for positive and healthy change.’

Jeanee got to work, and that is exactly what she did. She got stuck into her NARP Modules daily to keep upholding her truth and strength. A week and a half later Marina contacted her asking her to look after the children. Jeanne responded by saying she would send Marina an email laying out the limits to this – the healthy boundaries Jeanee needed to have respected to be a part of Marina’s life.

Jeanee got an abusive email back from Marina, but rather than reply Jeanee went inwards again to release what this exchange had brought up within her. Two days later Marina sent her an email agreeing to the boundaries.

Jeanee to this day has to walk a determined line with Marina, and has also had to let go of any expectation of having a healthy and happy relationship with her. However, she sees her grandchildren regularly and she and her husband have them during school holidays for extended periods of time, which they love.

The grandchildren are all so much healthier since Jeanee’s shift, and I have no doubt that their grandmother’s dependable, empowered role modelling of aligned values, truth and respect is calling them to follow.

Can you imagine if this hadn’t happened? They would have had even more role models of trauma, powerlessness and victimhood.

 

The Ultimate ‘Lose It All To Get It All’

I remember once hearing the expression about enabling others to hurt us and take from us, is like watering their lawn whilst ours turns brown and dies.

Not only are we not teaching them to be self-generative and inwardly fulfilled, we are killing ourselves in the process. The truth is, if we stay sick and are sick in any dynamic, we are not in a position to help anyone and we only contribute to the toxic sickness.

In Emily’s case, Laurence had to risk her failing at looking after herself and leaving him for good. But something spectacular happens when necessity becomes a driving force – people step up. Something else extraordinary happens when we start to love and approve of ourselves and actualise what that really is in real-time – key people in our life start to love and approve of us unconditionally too.

In the case of Jeanee and Marina, Marina didn’t want to have full responsibility for her children. She needed her mother and was going to treat her as badly as her mother would allow it. When Jeanee no longer allowed that bad treatment, it stopped. More than this – as it is for all of us – when we release the painful trauma of the losses of those and that closest to our hearts, and reach the full resolution of being the example we wish to be, live and see in our world, calmly and lovingly, then we often receive these people and things back in our life.

Gosh, it’s huge. And when our children and grandchildren are concerned it takes everything we have – but what choice do we have when we break it all down and understand the deeper layers of the Quantum Truth of all of this?

If we want to be healthy and have a healthy world, and for our future generations to be well, there is nothing else to do but heal ourselves and lead the way.

So, I hope that this TTV had helped grant you some goals, direction, and power regarding your difficulties with your adult children.

Also please know there are beautiful people in this Community who have had no option other than to let go and go No Contact with their children. We may think that this would be a trauma that would destroy us, yet I promise you that the people working with NARP who have made this decision have been able to get to peace and free themselves to live their full lives. Such is the extent of detoxing from trauma that NARP creates.

It ALWAYS comes back to the same thing – heal ourselves and then all that is healthy can and will follow. We can’t make other people healthy – we can only lead the way by being that ourselves.

Is that clear – does it really make sense?

If so, I want you to write: ‘If my mission is my healthiness, then I inspire all of life in the healthiest of ways.’

If you are ready to make your inner and then outer worlds healthy, for you and your future generations, join me by clicking this link. Today you can start a deep dive into the step-by-step proven formula to make this happen.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

And as always, I look forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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When an Adult Child of Divorce Goes Through Divorce

When an Adult Child of Divorce Goes Through Divorce

What did you learn from your parent’s divorce that will help you navigate your divorce?

The post When an Adult Child of Divorce Goes Through Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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