Today I am writing about a difficult and painful subject: Lack of communication between adult kids and their parents. No, I am not talking about lack of understanding that could occur in any kind of relationship and of course to a parent-child relationship. I am talking about a real, literal stop of communication between adults and their parents. More specifically I am referring to the decision of some people to stop contact to their parents. What happens with this fact? Does it happen a lot? For what reasons? Could it be avoided? What does it mean for adult kids and what for parents?
First of all let’s clarify something: A decision of staying away from our families is not at all pleasant. In an ideal world all the children can coexist with their mentally mature parents without any problems. But since our world is far less than ideal, we should realize the truth and try calmly to get some safe results.
The reasons why an adult kid doesn’t want to speak with his/her parent could vary a lot. Maybe in the past parents haven’t handled rightfully some – or a lot – of facts, maybe their adult kid grew up but he/she doesn’t have the necessary information yet to realize if his/her parents want his/her own good or not. The whole subject is kind of chaotic and even in a whole book all the possible scenarios and also reasons and factors that lead to the “breaking-up” decision cannot be analyzed. Every case should be reviewed individually and under specific methods and data. A careful critical analysis of facts should never stops especially if we talk about a complex human relationship, as the relationship of a child and a parent.
Today I will isolate a specific category of adult kids who don’t want or stand to have communication with their families. Don’t think that this is weird or uncommon. I can assure you that at least in my social environment a big amount of people (aged around 30 years old) aimed to stop frequent communication and contact with their families for a short or long time period. I don’t know if it is a new era regarding family and other kind of relationships or it is a matter of expansion of traditional family model/form – which is actually something good if you are asking my opinion. No matter what is the reason(s) we should realize that nowadays a person that feels financially and mentally independent will go more easily against to his/her family’s will (no matter what this phrase means). If you wonder which is a good reason for someone to go against his/her family’s will, there are a lot of possible reasons but let’s make this more specific: Long-time oppression, physical or mental and verbal maltreatment, constant controlling of a parent to a kid, blackmailing, personal insults and understatements, financial or emotional exploitation and so may other reasons that probably co-exist with some of the above. Let’s not forget that a dysfunctional relationship is not able to work because of various situations and usually there is a series of really bad facts that create to an adult the wish to go away from his/her family.
At this point let’s clarify something: There is no need of a committed crime to consider a parent bad or inappropriate. I know that many of us relate “bad” to “illegal” and vice versa. We look up our behaviors and if we don’t find them criminal then probably we think that it’s not harmful to keep applying them. However, as you may realize, this result cannot be the whole and objective truth. The frequent relation between “ethical” and “legal” cannot be the only way to judge our actions. Moreover, let’s not forget that laws may dramatically differ from era to era and from place to place. For example, in the west world some decades ago adultery was being considered unethical but also illegal. Nowadays, adultery is still considered unethical by many but no one will be arrested because he/she cheated. But well these are the rules in the north-west part of this planet. In other areas of this world, as the Arabic countries you already know what they do to people they cheat and especially to women!
So, a “bad” or an “inappropriate” parent is not only someone who acts against some law. Inappropriate is a parent who insults his/her child by saying to him/her that he/she doesn’t worth anything. Unfair and afraid first with himself/herself is a parent who warns his/her child before even try anything that wants or dreams that he/she will definitely fail. Dis-functional is a parent who will never admit his/her child’s successes and probably he/she will keep reminding all the times that his/her child failed. Stressful and really unpleasant is a parent who pushes his/her child to specific choices that he/she thinks that are right or appropriate, since this type of parent thinks that in this way he/she takes care of his/her child. At least dangerous is a parent who tries daily to convince his/her child that from the very first moment he/she became a parent he/she did everything not for his/her own good but for exclusively for his/her child’s good. However, this parent’s actions may prove that all of times he/she took advantage of his/her child both financially and emotionally. Mentally immature is a parent who wants his/her child always close in order to control and decide for his/her life, to guide him/her in order to follow the “right” path. That’s because he/she thinks that children are a financial and emotional “investment” for the later years and without them he/she believes that nothing interesting or qualitative will come up.
Do you also want to hear another big truth? Inappropriate parent is someone that has been proved inappropriate person, as a friend, a partner, a colleague, a professional, a group member. Either we like it or not we cannot be good parents if first we haven’t been good at other roles. I always wonder how someone without friends, social life and good professional relationships can be a good parent? If he/she is not right good enough with people around him/her how he/she will be good enough with his/her children?
What happens with dis-functional parents? Well, they give birth to children that depending on their characters and also environmental influence and other factors, they will possibly end up living one of the following scenarios: They will live imprisoned and submissive inside the bubble that their parents created for them (the bubble that parents create for their own shake and not to cover the needs of their children). Alternatively, a day will come that children will “wake up” from their “happiness” and from that day they won’t stop wondering – probably for the rest of their lives – if they have to go away from their families. Some of them will find the courage and the strength to leave. Others will remain “close” for the reasons will choose.
And now I want to speak to every adult child that decided to keep distance from his/her family: Maybe you don’t believe it but I know how you feel. The way your eyes look the world I have seen it before in many other pairs of eyes. I easily recognize your look between other looks. It may seem afraid but I know it is just brave and it “carries” pain. Even if I don’t know it, I can imagine the long way you had to take until you reached the moment you said: “Enough, I cannot live like this!”. I know how many times you cried, how much loneliness you may have felt, how many times you wondered if you are good enough for love or not. If you read this post and you know that I am talking about you then probably you are somewhere else but not in the place you were raised. I bet that right now you feel more calm and more responsible for yourself than in the past. Only for this success I want to say a big “Bravo” to you like the one that probably you never heard from your family yet. You deserve all the “Bravos” of this world since you decided to leave and set your own life rules. You understood that you cannot live close to those who didn’t consider you as a present to their lives. You did the right thing by leaving and finding the dignity you didn’t receive from those who had to provide it to you. We both know that you chose the difficult, complex way. I am so sorry for what happened to you but I am not sorry for you. You don’t deserve people to feel sorry for you but you should receive only admiration and respect. Always remember that these are not a donation by anyone, you earn them. Well you have already earned them, don’t forget it! I cannot say if your family will ever understand what they did to you and when that day it’s gonna be. You already know that you don’t have more time and energy to wait for a miracle. If the miracle happens you will be the first one who will be informed. But if it doesn’t, don’t waste your time. Try to find people to give and take love in the little time you have. The time that your parents gave to you but didn’t know to show you how to live it for real.