Full nest syndrome
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Step1Counselling. Isabel Fulcher Registered MBACP
19th January, 20170 Comments
Empty nest syndrome is a term that most people are familiar with. The last child has gone, all grown up, they've spread their wings and ventured off to find their own way in the world. Leaving you with choices, freedom, a house that stays tidy, and possibly a feeling of emptiness, hence the term.
But what if this hasn't happened? Or it did happen but they've come back, (a whole different challenge). At a time in your life when you thought you would be re-discovering your old identity, (or indeed a whole new one), you instead find yourself still in the role of parent 24/7.
Maybe you're in a new relationship, and relish the thought of having your own place, or are still with the same partner, and would like a chance to recapture what brought you together.
The fact that you are finding the situation challenging can be hard to bring up, even among friends. Often if it is raised, it will be quickly followed by reassurances of how much you still love your children, and would do anything for them. Which of course may well be absolutely true. Women can often find it hard to admit that their maternal instincts have waned somewhat and that they long to rediscover the individual person that they once were.
It's also a very different relationship. They're adults, so have the freedom to do what they want when they want, stay out all night, drink, smoke, get a tattoo. Yet trying to get them to share the chores, as in an adult house share situation, can be an uphill struggle. You may find yourself weighing up the stress of getting them to help and just going back to cleaning the bathroom yourself. Or of course option three, employing a cleaner. Thereby avoiding the subject altogether.
In all seriousness, you may find yourself feeling trapped, aware that time marches on and desperate to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Yet with no sign of change happening anytime soon.
Counselling can be an excellent confidential space, just for you, some one-to-one time, to fully be able to express all the feelings that you are dealing with, without judgment.
About the author
I work in private practice and am passionate about the benefits and healing properties of talking therapies, both because of my own experiences and all my one-to one client work.
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