Four Types of Adult Children of Divorce

Updated: Mar 24, 2019


When people ask me what I do it goes like this: “I help adults with divorced parents overcome some of the lingering issues from the divorce, like anger and unforgiveness, so they can have healthy relationships and avoid divorce themselves.” After a polite “That sounds interesting” the conversation comes to a fork in the road.


People from intact-families say the ministry is important and desperately needed. Many share stories of disastrous divorce situations they’ve seen. (It’s amazing how many people have these stories.)


However, individuals from broken homes often raise their defense shields and say very little. Or they’ll comment about how things are going well. Only a small percentage ask questions or touch on their struggles. I think this is due in large part to adults with divorced parents falling into four groups:


Delivered – those who really are doing well. Their parents’ break-up has been dealt with in a real, healthy, and ongoing way. They are standing on biblical truth and treating the lies they used to believe as pesky gnats rather than stumbling blocks.  This seems to be the smallest group of the four.


Deluded – those who believe they are doing well. A common expression from these folks is, “It was a long time ago and I’m over it.”


This belief is fed by TV, movies, and popular internet sites. Unfortunately, they are blind (like I was) to the various ways parental divorce can impact our thinking and negatively affect our relationships and marriages. I believe this is the largest group because, if most adult children of divorce really were ok, the divorce rate of those with divorced parents wouldn’t be as high. Also the fear of marriage wouldn’t drive so many to live together.


Denied – these know they’re not doing well. They have even connected their troubles to Mom and Dad’s split. But they lack information to overcome (for example) the trust and anger issues they struggle with.


Determined – these adult children of divorce are aware of their issues and are actively working to overcome them.


Now take a moment and honestly assess which group you are in. Would your spouse, friends, or family agree with your answer? I pray you are moving toward the Determined or Delivered group. If the cycle of divorce is to be broken these two groups must grow. The good news is God seeks to help people who want to be delivered.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” *


I’m thankful God continues to work on me. (My wife is too!) However, God wants to work with you too. Will you let Him?


* Philippians 1:6, NLT

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