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Adult Orphans

Some of us grow up in the best of circumstances; and some of us grow up in the worst of circumstances.  Some of you reading this have the best mothers and fathers you can imagine.  They are there for you through thick and thin, they support your decisions, love their grandchildren, and are only a phone call away when something goes wrong.  You know that no matter what you do or what kind of bad decision you make, your parents’ love will never ever waiver.

But what about those of us who don’t have that?  What about those of us are left to fend for ourselves and have no parents to share our highs, our lows, and even our children with?  Those of us who orphaned ourselves by choice?

I made the choice years ago to become an adult orphan.  I have no mother to call for a recipe when a holiday rolls around.  I have no mother to call in the middle of the night when my children are sick and I don’t know what to do.  I have no father to call to come fix some leaky plumbing or to help me when my vehicle breaks down.  It can be very, very lonely and scary when all you think you have is yourself to count on.  At times, it is lonelier and scarier being an adult with no parents than it ever was being an abused child.

I do not know who my biological father is and when I cut my abusive mother out of my life for good, it was as though I had just buried her six feet in the ground.  I knew the consequences of my actions when I said goodbye to Mom for the last time; and for me it was like a death.  A death of a parent that I would never see again, never have the chance to feel her arms around me for the first time, and never know what it was like to hear “I Love You” come out of her mouth.  I made the choice to orphan myself for the sake of my future.

Many of you reading this may be adult orphans by no choice of your own; cherish those memories of your parents.  Cherish the good times, cherish the times your children were able to sit on your parent’s lap, cherish the memories of the hugs and the kisses.  Be thankful and grateful for the good memories you do have.

But for those of you reading this who made the choice to become an adult orphan as I did; accept that your parents were never going to be able to love and support you in the way that you ever deserved.  Accept that those Hallmark commercials that tear our hearts out during the holidays were never our parents, and were never going to be our parents no matter how badly we wished for it.  Realize that there are many other people around us in our adult lives that we can lean on for support and people that we can call for help when we need it.  Understand that it takes a lot more than DNA for someone to earn the title of “Parent”.  There are plenty of positive and loving role models surrounding us who we can lean on and use for a support system when we need it.

Finally, love yourself.  Love the person you see in the mirror and when those moments roll around that rip your heart out and make you wish for something you never really had, remember how much you have overcome and survived.  You may feel orphaned, but you are not alone.  There are more people that care about you, the way you DESERVE to be cared about, than you realize.  Lean on them, trust them, and hold those relationships close.  You are never alone.


Adult Orphans

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2017). Adult Orphans. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Sep 2017
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