Relocation may create enough emotional distance for the adult child to find the freedom necessary to make life successful. Assertive movement creates possibility as they start winning the struggle to achieve their fragmented identity. However, as an adult, struggling with trauma after trauma, [dismissed as drama after drama], risky relationships, or any other form of harm to self and/or others alongside dissociative periods may become the norm. Flashbacks, unwanted images accompanied by feelings of terror, sadness and helplessness can be triggered at any moment. Authority figures strike the sharp note of fear. Sadly all it takes is the flick of a psychic switch to mentally revert back to a time when boundaries were broken, the child was set up, controlled, humiliated and severely punished. Self-loathing causes retreat or withdrawal into a fantasy world of addiction including drugs, alcohol, gambling, gaming, porn, anger, excessive masturbation, co-dependency, endless tv/film watching, internet use, spending or social media activity. On the other hand, perfectionism, eating disorders, inexplicable, extreme, overt fury and rage may turn outwards lashing out at others or inwards to self-harm. Mental health challenges arise from the internal chaos: depression and anxiety, narcissistic bipolar, borderline or paranoid personality disorders, eating disorders, OCD and/or PTSD.
If the above sounds like your journey, reconciliation with the self will seem a distant dream. Can you ever imagine feeling healed and strong enough to keep your parent(s) in the space and at the pace you choose in your life? Maybe you feel overwhelmed by painful memories? Perhaps periodically cutting your parents off has become an effective coping strategy? Relief comes through learning to recognise defences, triggers and emotional buttons that place you into an altered state. Find a therapist who can help you make friends with your feelings so you can experience emotions that were frozen in time. Inside this crisis is a hidden opportunity that only another can help you see. Develop a healthy “growth” mindset filling it with joy and wonder. You will be amazed at how adult you can be in keeping your composure.The choice of “reaction” or “response” leads to destruction and death or growth and healing. If you are struggling with addiction, a 12-step programme alongside therapy can prove ideal to aid your recovery from life’s “aberration“.
About the author
I am a BACP accredited counsellor and existential psychotherapist, a CBT practitioner, member of the British Psychological Society and course lead on the stage four BACP accredited counselling diploma. My private practice reflects my belief that each of us is unique with the potential for growth and development and can move forward in our own way.