My parents are getting divorced. I know what you're all thinking - "Big whoop." "Everybody gets divorced these days." "You're a grown adult who is out of the house." (I'm 26) "It doesn't impact you that much."
I've been thinking those same things since we found out four months ago. I've felt silly being upset about it because I'm grown up and no longer living under my parents' roof. I've been trying to go on with my life acting like everything is okay, but I think I've bottled it up for too long.
Yesterday I started googling trying to find someone or something that I could relate to. I was relieved to find there are many just like me. Have you heard of ACODP's? I hadn't either. It stands for Adult Children of Divorced Parents. I found some really good research that surprisingly states divorce is even harder on adult children than young children. No wonder I've been feeling so crummy.
I thought "how could that be"? Young kids get shuffled around from house to house and can't escape to a home of their own. However, adult children get shoved smack dab in the middle of the drama. We aren't sheltered like younger kids because parents and others assume we can handle it. We are told things that make us question our entire upbringing.
Young kids are more likely to be encouraged to go to therapy and utilize resources. People treat them carefully. Adults... not so much.
We're also expected to pick up the slack. I've helped both parents move which was not easy. Watching them divvy up their stuff and move out of the family home was heartbreaking. I've listened to both vent. Thankfully I have not had to help them financially, but they are not as well off as they would have been together. I've read many stories where the adult children suddenly have to lend money to their parents and teach them to do certain tasks that the other parent normally does (cook, pay bills, etc.). All this while the adult child is usually raising a family of his or her own.
The sense of loss is also greater because adult children have had so many more years of family togetherness. When parents split up with young kids, the kids grow up knowing no different. I will admit, our family life was not ideal. But after 26 years of impromptu get togethers and holidays where I could spend time with both of my parents, it's going to be a pain to now duplicate those events so that I can see them both separately.
Don't get me wrong. Young children of divorce certainly suffer and I'm not trying to downplay that. Divorce just stinks all around.
Here are a few of the articles I found helpful:
As more and more couples split up later in life, do we underestimate the effect on their grown-up offspring?
When Your Parents Divorce After You're All Grown Up
Adult Children of Divorce: The Invisible Children
Late Life Divorce Has Adverse Effects on Adult Children
The Price They Pay: Older Children and Divorce
They helped me better understand why I've been feeling like this. If you're going through the same thing, I hope you'll find some relief reading them.
I want both of my parents to be happy so I will support them the best I can and I know we will get through it. I've been trying to rely on my faith heavily as well. Here are some versus and inspirational messages that may help you as they've helped me. Whether you're going through divorce or another difficult journey, know that you are not alone.
To pray is to let go and let God take over. - Philippians 4:6-7
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-29
You are feeling weighed down by a plethora of problems, both big and small. They seem to require more and more of your attention, but you must not give in to those demands. When the difficulties in your life feel as if they're closing in on you, break free by spending quality time with Me. You need to remember who I am in all My Power and Glory. Then, humbly bring Me your prayers and petitions. Light of My Presence. You can learn to be joyful in Me, you Savior, even in the midst of adverse circumstances. Rely on Me, your Strength; I make your feet like the feet of a deer, enabling you to go on the heights. - Exodus 3:14; Habakkuk 3:17-19
~ Thank you to the friends and family who have reached out and have been incredibly kind. I hope you know who you are. ~