Adults Bereaved as Children
Childhood bereavement can have a profound impact as an adult
Are you an adult who was bereaved as a child? Do you still struggle? Or do you think you’re fine and that losing a parent as a child or teenager is so far in the past it bears no reference to you as an adult?
You might be surprised to learn that your adult life may signal something different. Also, the support you received as a child can impact how you carried that grief into adulthood.
Adults who were bereaved as children often face a range of long-term emotional, psychological, and behavioural challenges as a result of their loss. Bereavement during childhood can have a profound impact on future relationships, mental health, and overall well-being. You may recognise some of these behaviours.
Childhood bereavement can have a profound impact on your outcomes as an adult, including increased risk-taking behaviour, and are more likely to engage in substance abuse, risky or risk-averse behaviour, and other dangerous activities.
This behaviour may stem from a need to cope with the intense emotions and pain associated with their loss, as well as a sense of abandonment or insecurity.
Childhood bereavement can also lead to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions can affect your ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Moreover, childhood bereavement can also impact your attachment style, making it difficult for you to form close, intimate relationships in adulthood. This can result in ongoing feelings of abandonment, low self-esteem, and a fear of loss.
It is important to recognise that everyone's experience of bereavement is unique, and this might not be your experience. It might be that you don’t quite feel right but you can’t put your finger on it as to why. You might have had on-going health issues, or more physical symptoms of grief.
However, understanding and addressing these challenges is essential for promoting healing and resilience, and the good news is it’s not too late, no matter how old you are, to get the help you need.
If any of this resonates with you and you want to resolve your behaviours and feelings, please get in touch.
Joan Hughes is an Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist based in Surrey, offering one-to-one and group sessions in a variety of specialisms, including the Grief Recovery Method and Hypnotherapy. Find out more about Joan here.