By Bernadette A. Moyer
At first this blog was set to be called “Does your narrative match up to your life?” Then after more thought it seemed this might be a better title simply put going home.
In my opinion and experience there are four big reasons that adult children do not return home after an estrangement and they are;
1) The narrative that they have run with is “I am good and they are bad” good kids don’t leave a good home and a good family so “mom and dad” must be bad. Because it can’t be me.
2) The stories that they told to secure a new support system do not align with the possibilities of going home. For survival they need people that will support them. They become the “anti” family group of people.
3) Failure – they are not succeeding and the last thing they want is for mom and dad to be right and that they were wrong.
4) Not worth fixing – It is just too hard after so much time and so much hurt, it hurts to go home and it hurts to stay away so let’s just leave it as it is because staying away, this is a hurt that I can control.
The narrative – Mom and dad can’t possibly be good people if you decided to cut them out of your life. Right, we don’t abandon good people we leave the “bad” ones. Truth is sometimes we leave because it is time to grow up. Sometimes we leave because we want our independence and sometimes we leave because the rules our parents have set are rules that we don’t want to adhere to.
(Some kids do grow up and they leave because “home” truly is an abusive place and/or a place where they don’t feel good about themselves or feel loved.)
The stories – I have heard many stories that adult children tell to justify the estrangement. Some seem normal and easy to believe and some seem like a convenient narrative to justify their own actions and behavior. But once a negative narrative is declared that becomes the story.
Failure – A grown adult that estranges and is failing is a lot less likely to rejoin the family than the one that is happy and successful. Successful and happy kids typically want to share their success and happiness. Kids that know their parents won’t approve of their choices in life or kids who are ashamed by the things they did will often continue in shame and continue to hide and remain estranged.
Not worth fixing – The damage has been done and it may be too hard to fix it. If you blow up your parents, called them horrible people and even worse, how do you then come back to them? It takes a lot of growing up and a lot of maturity and being honest to face parents after lodging hatred and anger and insults at them.
Parents need to remember “Don’t take it personally, it isn’t about you, nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements book.
The road back home, there is always a road back home if you want it and are willing to work at it. Parents aren’t perfect people and neither are their children. To come back means that forgiveness has to be a big part of the equation and so does love and acceptance. Parents also need to take heart and remember you did the best with what you had and what you knew at that time. Forgive yourself.
Relationships that work are built on trust and mutual respect. If a relationship isn’t working on one side it isn’t working on the other side either. Both parties contribute to the success just as both parties contribute to the failure. Sometimes we grow together with people and sometimes we grow apart.
If a relationship has been strained and been difficult we may have to lower expectations. There are also relationships that are best left to die their own natural death. Below one of my favorite quotes from Bishop T.D. Jakes.
“There are people who can walk away from you … let them walk. I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you … Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. And I don’t mean that they are a bad person, it just means that their part in your story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over …”
After an estrangement going home will be different, it is not going to be the same and that should be expected. Time changes people and it changes things. We grow and we learn and hopefully we want to do what is necessary to create and maintain healthy relationships and if not, then being away from home is probably a better choice.
The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
The brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin
Time and life experiences and maturity have a way of ferreting out the truth and what relationships should last and stand the test of time … Breathe and let being home and going home unfold naturally and in its own way and own timetable.
If it is meant to be, it will be …
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