Dear Suzie, I’ve just finished watching your programme about Stepfamilies on BBC1 and thought it was excellent. However, I’m a little frustrated because programmes like this as well as online advice, helplines, specialist counselling groups etc. all seem to focus on the effect of break ups/divorce on young children.
My father left my mother for another woman 18 months ago and it’s no easier to deal with as a 27-year-old than it was for the children in your programme. The same conflicts and emotions arise no matter how old you are. The inner child kicks in big time and to make it worse, you’re old enough to understand what’s going on in great detail. Is there anyone who offers help to an older "child" like me?
You’re so right – it hurts just as much, whatever your age! But counsellors and organisations such as Relate do indeed offer help to the adult suffering because of their parent’s separation – we all know how much it affects ‘children’ even when the child is 20/30/40 and older. Please – ask your own GP for a referral or contact Relate.
Look in the local phone book for your nearest centre or go to www.relate.org.uk . They also do phone counselling – call 08451 30 40 16 for an appointment. Or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy can suggest a counsellor in your area. You can ring them on 0870 443 5219 or write to BACP, BACP House, 35-37 Albert Street, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2SG or go to www.bacp.co.uk.
The Institute of Family Therapy can also help with family problems. Write to them at 24-32 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HX, call 020 7391 9150 or go to www.instituteoffamilytherapy.org.uk Good luck!