Parents are the first people in a baby’s life that he gets to know. And there is nothing strange in the fact that young children are completely dependent on their parents and need their love and approval.
This is a natural phenomenon because, without the help of mom and dad, the child cannot survive, so dependence on significant adults for him is a matter of life and death.
While growing up, a child goes through a series of transformations, through which he separates from his parents physically, mentally, and financially and becomes fully independent. But many people are afraid to take responsibility for their own lives and do not know how to make their own decisions.
Why does this happen? What are the signs that separation from significant adult figures never happened? Is it possible to separate from parents as an adult?
Separation From Parents: What Is It?
Separation from parents is a transformation of the parent-child relationship in which the participants in this relationship abandon the old life scenario with a clear division of roles in favor of a new, more mature and equal one. Ideally, this transformation begins at a fairly early age, occurs gradually and in several stages.
Its first prerequisites are observed at 5-7 years old, when the child starts to make decisions independently and take certain actions based on these decisions. After making some independent decisions, the child suddenly realizes that he or she has a certain freedom of choice. He comes to understand that he is no longer as dependent on his parents as before. At the same age, a member of the younger generation begins to set goals and imagine their future separately from mom and dad.
Not all children separate from their parents in this way, because there are a huge number of obstacles to this process. If a person does not separate from his parents in time, then as an adult he has problems with his own self: he is not aware of his true desires, depends on the opinions of others and is guided only by external evaluations. The adult who isn’t separated from his parents has an inner world filled with hidden aggression that is closely intertwined with endless guilt. All this prevents such an individual from finding common ground not only with others, but also with close people.
Separation in adulthood is a long and painful process, which resembles a teenage rebellion but multiplied by the accumulation of unresolved problems. It’s possible to separate from mom and dad in adulthood, but you need to make some effort and work systematically on yourself. Here are the main reasons why separation from parents didn’t happen at the right age.
Why the Separation From Parents Is Delayed: The Main Reasons
For a child to start separating from mom and dad at the right age, you need the parents’ readiness for the baby’s first independent steps. If adults are not prepared for the fact that the child needs to be gradually accustomed to independent decisions and responsibility for these decisions, the natural process of separation will be very difficult.
One of the key reasons is the mother’s high level of anxiety. The mother may feel heightened anxiety due to her habitual stereotypical behavior, destructive ideas about how exactly a “good mother” should behave, or a dangerous situation in which the child found herself at an early age, as a result of which she became a hyper-parenting parent. Increased anxiety in the mother may also arise when adults try to resolve intrafamily conflict with the help of the child.
Another reason is the unwillingness of parents to delegate freedom to their child. It often happens in those authoritarian families where one tyrant parent dictates his or her will to the other family members and does not allow them to express their thoughts and feelings. Since the rights, interests, desires and needs of the child in such a family are ignored, child separation or teenage rebellion is out of the question.
Separation from parents is also delayed if the child is raised in a single-parent family. This is true of those families where the mother raises her son alone. A typical situation: a single mother treats her boy not only as a son, but also as a substitute husband. She doesn’t benefit from her son separating and starting to live his own life, otherwise she’ll lose power over him and will be left both without a child and without a substitute spouse.
Many emotionally immature parents do not understand that separation is a natural process by which mature children develop healthy and creative relationships with their parents. They fail to realize that children who are separated in time continue to communicate with, love, and respect their parents, but from the position of adults.
Some children don’t want to separate from their parents, because the process of growing up is “slowed down” by secondary benefits. Experiencing a deep reluctance to grow up and take responsibility for their lives, such people choose the position of a passive victim. In this way, they try to attract attention to themselves and receive the next portion of secondary benefits from others in the form of sympathy, pity, material aid, etc.
5 Basic Signs of Incomplete Separation From Parents
These signs will help you understand whether you’ve separated from your mom and dad or continue to “cling” to your parents as an adult and artificially prolong your childhood.
Regular Violation of Personal Boundaries
If you live with your parents, they enter your room without knocking, make their rules, without your permission rearrange your belongings, rummage in your pockets and bag, read your correspondence in social networks and messengers, rummage through your cell phone, etc.
If you live separately, your parents come to your apartment unannounced, open the door with their key, call you thirty-five times a day, get offended if you don’t immediately answer the phone or call back not immediately, but after a while, etc.
Financial Dependence on Parents
You don’t work anywhere and live off mom and dad. Or you work, but your money is catastrophically insufficient not only for luxuries but also for the satisfaction of minimal needs. Or you earn enough money, but you do not know how to manage it and often spend your entire salary on a 22Bet online casino in Kenya, your Netflix subscription, or other things you enjoy because you know that your parents will give you for “pocket” expenses. You still demand that your parents pay for your vacations and give you expensive gifts.
Constant Quarrels With Your Parents
You depend on the mood of your parents and often get into verbal altercations with them. Anything your parents say causes you a very violent reaction. Your parents irritate you so much that sometimes you lose control over yourself and raise your voice, use foul language, wave your hands around and hit the dishes. You don’t perceive yourself as a separate person, but as part of the parental family.
Systematically Blaming Your Parents for Your Own Failures
You blame your parents for all your failures. The fact that you work at a job you don’t like is your mother’s fault, and the fact that you don’t have a good relationship with the opposite sex is your father’s fault. You blame your parents for things not working out the way you’d like them to. Deep down, you hope that your parents will understand what their fault is, and fix it. You don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, because you expect your parents to do everything for you because they owe you.
Unreasonable Parental Guilt
Because parents often manipulate those adult children who have not separated from them emotionally, you are tormented by gratuitous but constant guilt. You regularly have the feeling that you have not lived up to your parents’ expectations or that you and you alone are responsible for your parents’ lives and current moods. If you do things your way, you try to hide it so as not to traumatize your parents and then experience an overwhelming sense of guilt. If you didn’t answer your mother’s phone call right away, you will then feel guilty about “mom being worried.”
Tips for Effective Separation
In order to separate from your parents as an adult, you need to realize that you have a strong emotional connection with them that prevents you from living your life the way you would like to. Give up idealizing mom and dad: they’re just like everyone else, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Accept the fact that you and your parents are different people. And there is nothing wrong with that because everyone has their own goals, objectives, and preferences.
Shift the Focus of Attention to Yourself
As long as you focus on your parents, you won’t be able to separate from them. Start focusing on yourself. Think about what you want, not Mom or Dad. What goals do you want to set for yourself? What results will satisfy you? Designate your personal territory, which no one can violate without your permission. Think about your motivation: what exactly are your motives? Is it really your motivation or your parents’ motivation? Is it something you want, or do you just don’t want to upset your parents? To shift the focus to yourself and determine your true desires, you need to get in touch with your deepest self. You can do this with meditation.
Become an Approver for Yourself
There is no point in seeking approval from parents, because what is good for them, for you may be outdated and unacceptable. People who are not separated from their parents feel a subconscious need for parental approval when doing certain things. Become your own approval! Only you decide what is “good” and what is “bad” for you. Everyone has their own way, their own desires and preferences.
If you feel it is “good” for you, then approve your decision immediately and do not doubt it. If it turns out that “good” is still “bad,” then you’ll gain invaluable experience that will help you not make similar mistakes in the future.
Forgive Both Yourself and Your Parents
To separate yourself from your parents as an adult, you need to forgive both yourself and your parents. Think about the fact that no one is immune to mistakes in life. Whether or not your parents realize their mistakes is a personal choice. Your task is to let go of all the wrongs and cleanse your microcosm of them.
You are an adult who is responsible for your own life. What was in your childhood is in the distant past. You can’t change those events, but you can change your attitude toward them.
Look at your parents as adults, not children, and forgive them for all the destructive actions that negatively impacted you as a child and became an obstacle to happy adult life. In this way, you can emotionally separate from your parents and build a creative and equal relationship with them.
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