Being stuck or forced in between your parents and their problems (whether that is with each other or life itself) is like being caught in the middle of a whirlwind of emotions of which you never asked to be a part. What about those times when you’re asked to keep their deepest, darkest secrets? Because “that is what family is for,” right? Here’s the thing – It’s a heavy burden that never belonged to you. It’s not your responsibility. You didn’t sign up to be their therapist, their secret keeper, or their emotional dumping ground especially as a young child, let alone as an adult.
Your Unintentional Role
Let’s talk about those roles that somehow found their way into your life. You might have become the go-to person for relationship advice, the confidant in friendship issues that were (and still are) uncomfortable for you to hear. Maybe you became the “best friend,” going to friends’ houses or having outside-of-family commitments hurts your parent’s feelings, and that has now bled into your marriage. Maybe you were the parent, filling in for one that is absent because they “need you” in a way that was never yours to carry and still expect that of you today. You also may have become a doormat. Life is hard, we know this, and we can empathize, but what is harder is if, as a child, you were a vessel for the anger and discomfort that the adults around you didn’t want to handle.
I’m sorry if you lost your childhood. You are the child, then, and now. You never deserved any of these roles. You picked them up because you wanted to be loved, seen, needed, and accepted. You worked to feel safe, appreciated, and included. You wanted to help, to serve, to love them… even if it hurt you. Children do that. They mold and bend and fit right in unless someone steps up and says “no, I’m the parent, not you.”
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing what you know now. You don’t need to be any of these things anymore to anyone but yourself. As an adult, you can choose to set down the old role you played with your caregiver. You can begin to heal and set yourself free. You are able to say “no”; you don’t have to be the ear for gossip anymore, or the mediator in your parents’ difficult divorce. You no longer have to be “needed” in ways that you don’t want to be and you can set down any guilt that comes alongside that. As an adult, you get to decide which roles you want to fill in your life. You can shed the therapist’s coat, hang up the secret keeper hat, and reclaim your identity, even if you aren’t sure what that looks like just yet. Instead of bending to fit someone else’s script, you can write your own story.
So, my friend, it’s time to break free. It’s time to let go of those roles that never truly belonged to you. It’s time to reclaim your boundaries, to rediscover your passions, and to create a life that reflects who you truly want to be and where you want to go. If this brings up stuff for you, like guilt, resentment, confusion, or whatever else, check out Discover Your Worth for more resources on where to begin.
You were worthy then, you are worthy now, and I am here to remind you of this until you find the power to remind yourself. One small step at a time.
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Now is the time to Discover Your Worth.