Steph, our gorgeous counselling and psychotherapy expert is back to help you, our followers, out with some sticky life situations. Endings come in all shapes and sizes and can be super tricky to cope with. Our parents’ relationship ending is never really something we ever think could happen. This reader is struggling to process her parents’ separation and she reached out for some advice from Steph.
My parents told me last week that they can’t stay together anymore. It wasn’t a surprise because they haven’t been getting on for a few months now but I’m still really sad and angry about it. I’m an only child. I’m going into 6th year. And now I’m going to have to move out of my home. My nanny said I can stay with her if I ever want to but…I just can’t believe it’s really happening. I’m going to be so stressed with school as it is and now this. Do you have any tips for helping me get through this?! Thanks.
Thanks so much for your email. I’m so sorry to hear about your news, this is a tough one for sure. First things first, it’s totally fine that you’re sad and angry. You’re allowed to be, you’re entitled to be, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. There’s probably lots that you need to say, and ask, and share. There’s probably lots that you need to hear, and feel, and get support on. This will be a process for you and your family over the coming months and it won’t be easy. While it’s your parents’ relationship that’s ending, it’s also the end of the family unit as you’ve known it. And that’s a big loss for you
Here’s my advice for you in 4 main points. Keep these up for the next few months, and beyond…
Feel the feels
If you feel angry, sad, heartbroken, confused, disappointed…whatever, let yourself feel it. Don’t fight it or try to pretend that you’re happy, that will just cause all sorts of inner conflict. Be true to yourself and let it out. If that means that you cry, or shout, or feel the need to ask lots of questions, as Nike says, Just Do It. You will thank yourself in the long run.
Talk it out
Find your people and keep talking to them. That might be your friends, it might be a cousin, an aunt or uncle, your nanny, a teacher, a coach, the guidance counsellor, your GP; anyone that you trust, have access to, and can rely on. Call them, text them, meet them, as much as you need to. They’ll be so glad that they get to be a shoulder for you to lean on.
Journal. Or paint. Or play music. Or create something. Find an outlet that’s just for you. An outlet where you can go to on your own and express what’s going on in your heart and mind. A safe place where you can channel your energy and then rest. It’s important to keep that energy flowing through you or else it gets stuck, and then WE get stuck.
Mind. Your. SELF. You. Your body. Your mind. Eat well, sleep well, get fresh air, drink water, and move your body. This will really stand to you too. You will have the energy and strength to keep up with the changes that will happen over the next few months, as well as your schoolwork. You are your best ally.
There’s no doubt that the next few months are going to be tough. Everyone here at Shona is here for you, thinking of you, and hoping for the very, VERY best for you. You can, and you will get through this
P.S, here are some supports you might find helpful:
SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad or lonely.
YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.
If you would like to support us and the work that we do, you can find out more below