Parents Divorced 15 Years Ago - But I Still Feel Shame About It
Hi. Came across this site and thought I could get some advice. So my parents divorced when I was pretty young, say 4 years old? It's been so long (I'm 19 now) yet I still feel such a shame I don't have a complete family and constantly wished I had one. My boyfriend has a perfect, complete and happy family and I would be lying if I said it doesn't bother me because it obviously does. I can't tell him that because I don't want him to feel bad for anything. It's just tough, having families on both sides (parents are remarried and have families of their own). I don't know if i will ever get this off my mind.
TeenHealthFX is sorry to hear that you have been struggling with these feelings about your parents’ divorce for so many years. We can only imagine how hard this has been for you to deal with.
Given how much this is on your mind, FX strongly recommends that you speak with a reputable therapist, such as a clinical psychologist or clinical social worker, about how you are feeling. Meeting with a therapist could provide you with a safe, private space to discuss the thoughts and feelings connected to your parents’ divorce that have been weighing so heavily on your mind all these years. A therapist could also help you to understand why you have shame about your family situation and how to deal with this particular feeling.
FX also imagines that part of why this is on your mind so much is because you haven’t yet mourned the loss of having an intact family. There are many different types of loss, and having parents who divorce is one of them – it creates all kinds of loss for a child. While we can never erase or completely heal a significant loss, by mourning it we can reduce the intensity and frequency of how much we are affected by negative thoughts and emotions around it. That said, it is another reason FX thinks it would be helpful for you to speak to a therapist about it.
Finally, if you see your boyfriend as a caring, compassionate person, FX would like to invite you to share your feelings with him. Just because you share your feelings about what is like not having an intact family doesn’t mean that your boyfriend will feel guilty for having one. It also doesn’t mean he will take on all your pain or be negatively affected by it. What he will hopefully feel is some compassion for the pain you are experiencing and will, therefore, be there for you in a supportive, loving way as you deal with these feelings. However, if it continues to feel too difficult to share these feelings with him, then FX would make that an issue to discuss in therapy as well.
FX understands that this has been a hard situation for you to deal with. However, we do have hope that you will be able to significantly reduce how much this is on your mind if you reach out for help and get the support and guidance you need in dealing with this.
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.