Separation - How am I going to cope ?

Question What are you feeling?

AnswerWhen parents separate it's completely normal to experience a range of strong emotions. Everyone's experience is different. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Even if your parents separated some time ago, it's normal to still have feelings about it. 

 

Here is a list of common emotions experienced by young people dealing with their parents' separation. Can you identify any that you have been feeling lately?

    I'm so confused
  • Shocked 
  • Disappointed
  • Worried
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Shame
  • Relieved
  • Loss
  • Guilty
  • Overwhelmed
  • Embarrassed
  • Confused
  • Insecure
  • Normal
  • Overwhelmed
  • Rejected
  • Safe
  • Disillusioned
  • Fearful
  • Excited
  • Abandoned
  • Hopeful

Listing feelings like this isn't meant to make you feel bad, but to convey that strong and mixed emotions are a normal part of coping with all the changes in your family life.

‘I was a bit stunned. Like, I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what to say.' (Girl, aged 14)

Question Why do I feel so confused?

AnswerEmotions change all the time. It's normal to feel sad one minute and angry the next. To long for your family to get back together one day but be relieved that there is less tension at home the next. You could feel numb, or sometimes happy, for a while, until it all comes at you from out of nowhere, in school, at sports, when hanging out with a friend or at night in bed.

quoteIt's important to remember that you are not the problem. The separation has created some of the stresses and changes you now have to deal with. Give yourself time. The experience of separation is often compared to grief - the loss of your family as you knew it. It's normal to need time to work through your emotions and adjust to your changing situation.

Barnardos National Office,
Christchurch Square, Dublin 8

Tel: +353 (0) 1 453 0355 / Callsave: 1850 222 300
Fax: +353 (0) 1 453 0300 / Email: info@barnardos.ie