When a child is born, she is in no way able to take care of herself – this is how nature works. She is completely dependent on the adult who feeds her, changes clothes, and monitors her health. Therefore, the mother and the newborn child are in fusion with each other, practically becoming a single organism.
Mom is tuned to the child as a monitor: she catches the slightest fluctuations in her state and moods. This process is reflected even in speech: the baby’s mother often uses the pronoun “we” – “we ate”, “we pooped”, meaning the child.
Gradually, the separation of the adult and the child begins to occur. “We” turns into “I” and “she”. The child begins to realize herself as a separate person with her desires and needs, which (it turns out!) can be very different from the needs and desires of the parents.
This process is called “separation” – the psychological separation from mom, dad, and the family as a whole. And this is the most important stage in the formation of a personality. Normally, it begins at birth, passes an important milestone at the age of three, and ends by the end of adolescence.
But this is not always the case.
If the separation did not happen on time, then an adult person may experience a huge dependence on the parents and does not feel like a separate person. There is no self-sufficiency, psychological boundaries are not built, the connection with mom interferes with building close relationships with other significant people, etc.
Some parents are so scared that their child will separate and become independent (which means that they will not be needed), that they sabotage this process in every possible way.
Here are some quotes from psychological forums that we came across:
“Oh, these so-called psychologists with their “separation”! How are they different from cult leaders? “
“I am sick and tired hearing about separation! What a stupid idea?? How can you separate yourself from the person you love! “
“As long as I live, I will love and adore my child. I don’t care how old he is – 4 or 40! I will still take care of him, remind him to put on a scarf, and have breakfast! “
Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
What if you find that the separation from your parents has not happened?
1. Accept that you and your parents are different people with different needs, viewpoints on life, possibly different values, tastes, and choices.
Imagine that your eyesight is -3, and your parents have +4. If you put on their glasses, what will you see? Nothing, you will just a get headache. So, it’s okay to be different and look at the world through your own glasses that suit you.
Your parents cannot know what is best for you. You don’t have to meet their expectations, make them happy, be responsible for their emotional state, “make their dreams come true”, etc. You are responsible only for yourself and your life. This does not mean that you should stop loving your parents. Adequate separation does not at all deny an emotional connection. It simply does not allow you to merge with another person so that you cease to understand where you end, and the other person begins.
2. Learn to identify parental manipulations and resist them. This point is about building adequate boundaries so that you could breathe freely and live your life.
Does your mom say that if you don’t give birth to her grandchildren, will you doom her to a sad old age? Manipulation.
Does she repeatedly go through your closet and throw out unnecessary, from her point of view, things without asking you? Violation of boundaries.
Does your father tell you where you should study, work, and whom to date? Well, you get the point…
3. Do everything to separate physically and economically – then it will be easier to do it emotionally. Yes, separating may be difficult. If you still can’t move to another apartment – at least treat your room as a sovereign territory. If it is impossible to be completely financially independent – at least reduce the degree of dependence.
Separation is a difficult and even painful process. And the later it happens, the more difficult it is. However, the results are worth it! Only after separation can you build your own, adult relationships with the world. And then your life will definitely change for the better.