Dear Alice -Shattered Dreams0
I’m a thirty-two year old single cat-mum. Recently I found out that my father has been having an affair for the last two years. My mum knows everything and she wants to work it out. They haven’t been happy for years and I don’t understand how my mum could stay. The whole situation shocked me and shattered my perception of relationships. I’ve become so depressed I find myself laying on the floor staring at the ceiling for hours on end. I’ve slowly been isolating myself not only from my family but from my friends, I just don’t want to bother them. I just can’t move past this, I want to have a family one day but if it didn’t work out for my parents, how is it going to work out for me?
Hi Astrid, thank you for reaching out! Sounds like this new information has really floored you, pun intended. Generally, after a traumatic incident unfolds, people are left feeling quite exhausted. It sounds like this ordeal has really taken its toll. If you are waiting to understand your parents behaviour, you may be waiting a while. There comes a time when you have to come to terms with the fact that your parents are inherently flawed, just like everyone else. When your loved ones act in a way that you don’t agree with, it can be frustrating. It’s important to respect your parents as the masters of their own lives, as individuals that make their own choices. Sure you don’t agree with their choices, but that’s besides the point, they have their own free will and at some point you need to accept that their choices aren’t really your responsibility. This realisation can come at an early age for some people, others it comes much later, but the point is that it is a normal part of life. All you can do is give them the space and privacy to carry on with their lives, you don’t need to agree with it, but perhaps consider providing unconditional support (even if it’s only within your mind). Another milestone of becoming an adult is when the child becomes the parent, this can take many forms and again is something that happens at a different pace for everyone. It’s the moment you realise that your parents are reliant on you. It’s when you become the matriarch and the leader. When you feel that power, and see your parents growing older, you will realise that you are not in their shadow anymore. You are a fully-grown adult that can make their own choices, whose outcome is not dependent on their past. Your life is not going to turn out the same way that your parents did, if you don’t want it to. You are the next generation, you have learnt from their mistakes and your lineage will continue to grow from one generation to the next. Find this power within yourself, become an active participant in your destiny and nothing will stop you from becoming who you want to be. Another issue you touched on was that of isolation from others, this is troubling. Something that I have noticed over many conversations is that it seems like a habit we are all guilty of perpetuating. It’s a negative feedback loop that traps you in isolation and loneliness. You need to immediately reach out, even though you don’t feel like it. It’s ok to say to friends, “I’m not doing so well right now and I need you to sit with me in this moment”. You don’t need to hide your pain or struggle, as suffering is the one thing we all have in common. It’s easy to believe that everyone is busy and happy in this age of image crafting and perception management, but don’t forget the human condition is the same for us all, we all hurt sometimes. Push yourself to socialise a little bit more each day, maybe start with a text, then a phone call, invite someone to lay on the floor next to you. Whatever you do, remember that we are all in this together. This is your time now, you are the leader of your journey. We have a wonderful community full of supportive people just waiting to hear from you. Don’t wait, feel the fear and do it anyway.