Adults as Orphans? Emotional Orphans when parents are not available?
We traditionally think of orphans as children. What happens when an adult becomes an orphan owing to the physical loss or death of parents? If someone is older then perhaps its expected. But what if the death of parents is when someone is younger or not expected?
Can we define a concept such as an “emotional orphan”? Perhaps it is someone whose parents are alive but not emotionally available to them. There are many reasons why a parent may not be able to be available to their young children or grown up adult children. Addiction, workaholism, being wrapped up in their own difficulties, lack of awareness, problems in how parents were parented, ie intergenerational challenges can all be reasons for a parents non availability from an emotional perspective.
This is harder to recognise and perhaps goes under the radar at a societal level but the effects can be just as challenging. Unpicking and becoming more fully aware of how our relationships with our parents affected us is one of many things that can be explored through counselling.
This Guardian article explains the experience of someone who became an orphan at 25