Millennials understand nothing better than the broken relationship. As children, we saw it, heard it and felt it each day. Some of us continue to feel it, either from our parents’ unwillingness to let go of their own pain or from doubt regarding our own relationships.
Our parents' divorces still leave us feeling broken, propped up against the fridge in our studio apartments with a bottle of bourbon in hand. Why would any of us choose to carry this burden with us into adulthood? Well, there was no choice.
For many of us, mommy and daddy issues inevitably became our issues. The lucky ones among us had communicative parents who assured us that “it wasn’t our fault” and they eventually recovered into other stable relationships.
But, some of us still deal with bitter and defeated parents who still like taking psychological stabs at us from time to time. But, we rise to the occasion every time and deal with the cards that we're dealt.
Our generation is to date, the most sophisticated and adept at managing negative emotion. So logically, our kids will be that much better than us at coping when the world inevitably buckles at their feet.
Here are four keys for making divorce an option of the past:
1. Talk To Somebody — Anybody
We have more relationships than we may realize with people who are perfectly qualified to lend an open ear for us to express ourselves. Perhaps a relative, guidance counselor or coffee shop barista may give you the emotional salvation you need.
The exchanges will be well worth any initial embarrassment — and there’s out of pocket cost for getting a friend to listen.
2. Address Each Parent Individually
This is, by far, one of the healthiest things any child of divorce can do when moving forward. Center yourself before speaking to a parent who may still be sensitive and defensive about the subject.
This will allow you to feel okay when a parent might grow to be emotional. It feels better once we are able to openly address the sources of things.
3. Catch Ourselves When Anger Corrodes A Situation With A Love Interest
This one tends to rear its ugly head more than most of us prefer. It goes something like this: A lion leaps out of us and despite having seen him before, we know he’s not really how we are.
The lion attacks the people we date for trivial matters and doesn’t stop despite matters being trivial. Catching and squashing these moments will ironically right our parents’ wrongs and will keep us in good company with our mates — as long as we want them there.
4. Forgive Our Parents For Things Not Working Out
There were some truly awful moments that may have meddled with relationships we wanted to work out, but it’s time to let it go. We don’t need to know the details of why our parents’ relationship didn’t work, but rather, just respect it for what it is.
That being said, being able to identify where things went south in our own relationships is useful and will help us grow. Divorce is nothing than more than a tool from which we can learn. It no longer has to be that heavy gorilla on our backs. After all — it’s not our fault and never was.
Photo Courtesy: Buena Vista Pictures/The Parent Trap