17) If I'm not used to naming my feelings and needs,
me what an adult sounds like naming theirs, and ask me about mine from time
to time. Then please
to me! Help me accept that
that being 'needy' is not being weak, and that it's good to try
and fill our own needs, as long as we don't put them above other people's
you adults to find
fast, if you can't fix
our big family problems by yourselves. When I see you doing that, I feel
more like asking for help when I need it, without feeling like a wimp." And…
19) "I need
you adults to
show me what being genuinely loved looks
like, feels like, and sounds like. I also need to see what it looks, sounds,
and feels like when two grownups really love each other, specially when
they're angry, confused, or scared." And also...
you parents to respect
dignity, my integrity, and my
rights as a person.
Please do that because you want to, not because you have to. Just
because I'm smaller and younger and know less than you,
I’m still as much
of a person as you are. I need the same things that you grownups need, every
you to read
this memo from me and these
Show these to my other
adults, and talk together about them. I need all of you to keep those ideas in
mind as you lead our family. They say really important things that I
can't say myself."
"I also need
you to stay aware that even if we're not
talking together, we're communicating (decoding messages and meanings)
all the time. Most of the
we decode from each other come through our
eyes! Do you know what your actions have meant to me recently?"
Add your own need-statements from your child/ren...
+ + +
quietly now. Breathe well, and
experience the flow of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Consider
journaling about them, as an explorer.
When your Spirit is troubled, your
are disorganized, and you're not getting your primary needs met well enough, it's
tough to keep these many concurrent child-needs in mind and fill them
the way you want to. Affirm without guilt or anxiety that you have real
limits, and that all you can do at any time is your local best.
Talk back to
subselves if they rant too much! Letting these myopic, well-meaning subselves insist that you
should do better than your best is self abuse. It signals that you're ruled
(locally) by a
It increases the burdens of the
who carry your old guilts and undeserved
and hinders you from
providing the refuge you all need.
If you're skeptical about some of these
needs, reality-check them with other veteran parents, clinicians, and the
real experts: each of your kids. If your kids are grown, review
the needs above and see if you think they've "outgrown" any of them...
+ + +
Unless you’re emotionally
with your parents, it’s easy to be unaware of
their needs and feelings as you re/divorce. You are not
responsible for filling their needs, and it can help you all to talk honestly
and clearly together if you empathize with them. Have you ever paused
What Do Your Parents Need?
Seniors have universal and personally-unique needs.
universal needs probably include…
regularly knowing (a) how you’re feeling, and
(b) how they can
best help you and any grandkids as your marital decisions unfold;
knowing if and why you’re deciding to divorce, and
(b) whether you’ve exhausted all other options;
venting their feelings, needs, and
opinions, and being
respectfully heard, if not agreed with;
and your parents probably need to...
stay clear on their
boundaries with you and your kids, and
to not take on your problems or give you theirs; and to...
grieve their own set of
losses (i.e. to feel and
anger, and sadness), and to support you and their grandkids as you grieve
And your parents
and in-laws probably need to…
face and heal any shame and
that they “failed” you
and their grandkids as caregivers – specially if this is your second or third
divorce, and/or they divorced when you were a child;
make thoughtful decisions together on if and how to
continue relations with your partner and your in-laws – specially if you
mates have a child; and they need to…
settle any religious or
spiritual confusions, anxieties,
and judgments they each may have about your divorce; and to…
decide how and when to talk to their friends about what’s
happening to you all;
And your senior adults need to…
seek and accept emotional and spiritual
keep them clear and resilient through all your
changes; and to…
resolve any confusion or conflicts about what your divorce
means to their wills and estate plans; and they need to …
balance the needs of their other kids and grandkids with
their own and yours as you all move through your family reorganization
together over many months; and also to…
have periods of rest and refreshment from reducing their
discomforts; and they probably need to…
decide honestly if they need
in filling all these dynamic needs, as they try to balance their daily lives.
Add any other relevant parental needs that you’re
Again, pause, breathe, and notice what you’re thinking and
feeling. Would you feel comfortable discussing this needs-inventory with each
of your parents and in-laws? Would your mate? Doing so is a chance to build
among you all, if you can help each other stay centered
amidst the welter of emotions that will probably arise…
Lesson-4 article proposes that divorce starts in courtship, when wounded, needy,
unaware partners commit to the wrong people, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong
time. It then offers three primary reasons for the U.S. divorce epidemic:
(psychological wounds + unawareness and ignorance + incomplete grief), and
16 alternatives to divorce for first-marriage and stepfamily couples. The article ends with
a summary of what typical kids and parents need if mates divorce.
more perspective, also see..
keys to a satisfying primary relationship
Q&A about divorce and divorce recovery,
this divorce-recovery worksheet
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get
what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your