Empty nest syndrome

Empty nest syndrome is defined as 'the grief that parents feel when their children move out of home'. This condition is more common in women then men. Having empty nest syndrome indicates that you have had a nest to take care of and you have taken a good care of the nest with people in family relationships. As you are left in the nest by yourself after your children grow and leave home, you may experience psychological difficulties. You may develop loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

Mothers rather than fathers usually take care of children primarily for at least more than 15 years. When children grow and become independent, they lose objects of maternal love and their major role in the family. The cannot get attention from children any more and get confused about their identity. After all they have done for the family for decades, they feel they are left with nothing. They cannot feel the sense of achievement or present happiness coming from child rearing any more.

 Women who have a good relationship with their husband do not experience a severe condition of empty nest syndrome. They can still get attention from and share happiness with the husband even after children leave home. Empty nest syndrome is more prevalent in women who get themselves immersed into child rearing exclusively without having a good marriage relationship. Also, women who were not interested in child rearing much do not experience empty nest syndrome. They may have raised and supported children in all possible ways, but they got themselves immersed into some other things such as career, social life, or other activities than children. The concept of 'nest' does not apply to them since their home has not been their 'nest' in the first place. They may even like children's independence since they can fully get immersed into what they like after children leave home. 

Usually, suffering from empty nest syndrome indicates that you worked hard and did your best to take care of your children. However, your relationship with your husband may have been distant or conflictual. You as a couple may not have communicated effectively, or not exchanged attention and response sufficiently. You may have lived as good parents but not as a happy couple. Also, you have not prepared yourself for the time when children will leave home. Now is the time to start building a new life of your own since you still have the whole life in front of you. 

To get out of empty nest syndrome and build a new life after children leave home, you yourself must make effort to restore psychological balance. The first important point in your effort is to restore a happy marriage relationship. The couple can spend time together, pay attention to each other, and communicate each other. Then, recovering from empty nest syndrome may turn out much easier than you expect. 

Secondly, you can get immersed into some activities you are interested. You may take up and concentrate on study, traveling, hobbies, sports, or career. Restoring marriage relationship must be prioritized over getting immersed into activities of interest, though. Either way, your empty nest syndrome will disappear. It is fine to get immersed into activities of interest keeping your nest as it is, but you must not build another nest claiming that you will find a new life of your own. Then, you will become to neglect your family and home and start seeking fun and pleasure of the moment. You may start generously spending your savings enjoying the sense of satisfaction by activating the psychology of compensation. 

Some women develop the desire for getting attention and love as a woman. Then, they may start seeing men other than their husband. They feel they are truly treated as a woman instead of a wife and a mother and feel happy and compensated for all the years of their life they have sacrificed. This phenomenon usually occurs when women had a distant relationship with their husband. Getting attention as a woman does not necessarily involves extramarital affairs. Some women just enjoy casual social gatherings with men and women in a group to get attention as a woman.

Empty nest syndrome may be accompanied by a distorted idea that their life has been sacrificed for family life when they actually had a happy life rearing children as a mother, and that they need some forms of compensation now. When they are carried away by this distorted idea, they may overly get immersed into activities of interest or demand compensation from children psychologically or financially putting the cart before the horse. 

You need to accurately understand the root cause of empty nest syndrome and realize that your family life has been a meaningful and righteous one and you did a good job. You may have had conflicts with you husband but built happiness together for all those years. You still have the nest intact and just need to take care of the nest in a new way. It is strongly recommended that you restore a healthy and intimate relationship with your husband. Then, you will realize how great a nest you have been building and supporting. Even if you cannot work out the relationship with your husband, you need to get immersed into activities of interest in the right way so that it promotes the restoration of healthy psychology. 

When you accommodate the concept of sacrifice and compensation for your past life, your past life is perceived as a wrong one. When you become dependent on other people or objects of interest instead of finding the right way to build your life in a healthy way, you will enter the vicious cycle of feeling down and seeking attention and compensation. Empty nest syndrome is different from depression. Depression results from accumulated psychological wounds, but empty nest syndrome results from distorted ideas. It is sufficient to have the accurate understanding of the mechanism of the condition in order to overcome empty nest syndrome.


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