Divorce and separation can be anything from traumatic to simply sad and unpleasant. This is not so for the individuals filing divorce but also holds true for children who may be involved. We all know the devastating effect divorce has on younger children as well as teens and adolescents.
The same has been known to contribute to negative changes in behavior, the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms and the seeding of problems with intimacy later in life. The question we’re looking to address today is; does divorce affect the emotional wellbeing of adult children? More specifically; those of age thirty and above?
How Divorce Impacts Adult Children
Though some of you may think that divorce has little to no effect on adult children, one article published by the New York Times states otherwise. The article among other things states that even adult children are well capable of being hurt by the divorce of their parents.
As a therapist who has worked with family groups, individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and a host of other issues, I have learned a thing or two about how divorce affects adult children.
I will now elaborate on some of the factors that come into play.
The Difference between Trauma and Heartbreak
When married couples with young children or even adolescents go through a divorce there is much at play. It isn’t just an emotional strain based on the fact that their parents are moving apart. It is also a subconscious fear that their own existence and significance is at risk that contributes to the turmoil and trauma felt.
For this reason the effect of divorce on children and adolescents in most cases is a lot more intense and requires more care and attention to work with.
What of Adult Children
The thing with adult children or those thirty and above is that in most healthy setups, the financial and emotional dependence on ones parents or on the parental family unit is far reduced.
Further, those 30 and above who have developed in a healthy manner psychologically do not have their own sense of worth and existence tied in to that of the parents. For this reason, if the parents of a healthy and stable 30 year old or someone older choose to divorce, the experience though sad is not traumatic or emotionally toxic as it would be for someone younger.
Sadness, Empathy and Reflection
What does happen is that an adult over thirty whose parents decide to divorce will likely feel something in some way! I have had clients who have simply been concerned about the emotional wellbeing of their parents. Others who feel they were better of together due to logistical and practical reasons.
There are also times when divorces come as a surprise and clients begin to look inwards critically at their own relationships and relational patterns. All this being said, those above thirty are usually equipped emotionally to deal with such occurrences.
What if I Need Support?
Even if you are above thirty and emotionally equipped, the divorce of one’s own parents is pretty close to home so to speak. It may have an impact on you or have you a little rattled to say the least which is why, sometimes, seeking therapy is not a bad idea.
If you’re located in Palo Alto and are looking for a therapist to work with, you can always connect with us at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling. We’d be more than happy to offer the support and facilitation you need to heal!