Do you need to separate psychologically from your parents?

by on May 31, 2011

in Bernice's Posts

Ask yourself the following questions:

As an adult when dealing with a parent/s:

  • Do you find it difficult to say ‘No’?
  • Do you feel pressure to keep in contact frequently?
  • Do you feel you have to keep your opinions to yourself?
  • Do you feel angry with a parent but are not sure why?
  • Can you say ‘I am not spending Christmas with you this year?’ and not feel guilty?
  • Do you feel manipulated into doing things?
  • Do you feel more responsible than your friends feel towards their parent’s?
  • Can you hold a different opinion from your parent’s and feel it is accepted?
  • Are you able to go away on holiday?  and not stay in touch? and not feel guilty?
  • Do you rely on their financial support, or gifts (wanted or otherwise)?
  • Are you still living with a parent – is it your choice?
  • Do you feel responsible for you parent’s happiness?

This list could be equally true of an adult with siblings, however it is particularly common with adult only children who feel overly protective and responsible for a parent’s happiness. Without a sibling to offer help or another perspective, a co-dependent relationship between parent(s) and child can easily occur, especially in the latter part of a parent(s) life.

0-3 If you have said ‘yes’ to less than three you are probably separated enough and do not have too many feelings of guilt or responsibility towards your parents’ happiness.

4-6 If you have said ‘yes’ to nearly half you are probably in the process of separating but need to go further.

7+ You are probably enmeshed and I suggest you may be having not only difficulty with your parent/s but with other relationships, particularly a spouse. You may find it useful to read: Are only children difficult partners?

In ‘Cutting the Ties‘ I will offer some solutions to these problems


  • nightmoth

    I answered “yes” to every question. I moved back home to take care of my mom the last 2 years of her life. She died 10 months ago at the age of 95. My dad was already gone. Hospice sends me stuff about “the grieving process.” I’m not in a process. I just feel worse and worse every single day.

Previous post:

Next post: