Our Unnatural Attachment to Family

The Child’s Death Gives Rise to The Adult’s Birth

Phillip Cave
10 min readAug 24, 2021
Man with suitcase and empty chair in the “Field” — Canva Pro

The human’s idea of Life does not exist without the meaning we give Death. The fullness of Life and our regrets in Life are constructs defined by Death. Sometimes humans assign Life as good and Death as bad. In reality, Life and Death are two aspects of a singularity union. It is in our blind tendencies to ascribe value, morality, and duality where we humans get in trouble. And we pragmatically see this in how the human animal constructs family.

The trouble or drama we humans put ourselves in arises from the attachment to an idea or construct that we humans label as family, child, and adult.

And so a contrarian perspective I offer in this post is one where we examine the natural diminishing of a child so the adult may flourish.

Plainly… Your child is dead, dear human, allow the adult to live.

For some of you, your child died many years ago, but you saw them yesterday and told them how to live their life.

For others of you, you refuse to allow your parents to be something other than your mother or father, and you wish they would behave accordingly. Whatever that means. Some of you live in both worlds at the same time.

Humans seem to forget, don’t consider, or ignore that we have classified ourselves as animals within the kingdom of animals. Humans are rather clever animals to be sure, and in our cleverness, we devise constructs to which we attach meaning and morality. And lots of drama. Lots.

As a setup to the subtitle of this post, I’ll intentionally share rudimentary wisdom and I ask your forbearance.

The Nature Of Being An Animal That Calls Itself Human

Like all animals, humans bear offspring to propagate the species. Sometimes we humans ascribe an obligation, found in religion, to create little humans. Other times we manufacture a belief that sounds like I’m supposed to have a baby to feel complete or it’s what we do, we’re supposed to have a family. Or something like… I’ve got my mother breathing down my neck to have a child. Like she did such a great job raising me <he rolls his eyes>.

Most often, I venture, we humans enjoy the feeling of propagation but not always the output. We call that feeling an orgasm. We call that output a child. Thus, very often, we humans are only having fun whilst pretending to propagate the species.

We humans are also social animals. And in our cleverness, we sense all three realms of the animal instinctual being (self, relational and social). So we have a natural instinctual sense or urge to continue the species or accidentally create the species. Your mileage will vary.

Beyond the pleasure, beyond the duty, beyond the instinctual urge to create life is the realm of… now what!? What do we do with our pro-creation once it arrives? What is the relationship supposed to be and what is it supposed to be at various stages of Life?

This is where it gets fascinating for the animal that calls itself human. We all come from someone. We all have a sense of self preservation, 1:1 connection, and social interaction. And we all learn this by observing what occurs in the family system. So much so that we can become unnaturally attached to the humans and the roles within that family system. We are left to our own devices to make sense of our sense of self, our sense of relating, and our sense of belonging. That’s a lot of sensing to do.

Even if you are an only child, you developed awareness of all three instinctual styles. At any given moment, you stack these instinctual styles into a preferred order.

But then we clever animals that call ourselves human do something funny with that innate instinct… we construct our lives.

Humans Construct Their Lives

Like Lego blocks. We invent and then re-invent the meaning we assign to ourselves, others, relationships and all LIfe. Building up one meaning construct and then tearing it down just to build another one. We accept and then reject and then accept again constructs of our own thinking and social making. Some of us stay stuck in the same construct our entire lives refusing to explore the multi-dimensional nature of Life. Including the natural death of a child so the adult may flourish.

We humans manufacture the framework of our thinking. And when young, we accept the conditioning of our parents who propagate their construct on to us. Adult humans condition little humans to believe what they believe. And we don’t know this insidious conditioning is even taking place… until we look.

Examine The Construct Called Family

The looking offered in this post is to examine the conditioning of a construct we humans call family and what it means to be in one. I’ll begin with an inquiry.

What is family for you? Who said you were in one? What does it mean to be in one… to you? And is your meaning better than or worse than anyone else’s meaning?

Sure, you have an experience of other humans that you called parents and others that you called siblings. You may even have extended family members that you call cousins and grandparents.

What makes a family begin, and what makes it end? When does the child end? When does the adult begin? What might you let go of in the process? What might you embrace?

If you are someone who has propagated the species, this inquiry raises a fascinating deeper inquiry. And if you are someone who has not generated offspring, I have an inquiry for you too.

To You Who Have Created Little Humans

When do your children become adults such that they are no longer your children? When will you let them adult?

Who said they were your children? What makes them possessive or to have an assignment of yours?

When you examine all other animals on the planet, do you see those animals possessing their offspring?

What all Life does is to care for and then release their young into Life. Only humans cling to a construct of who a little human is supposed to be. Are you clinging beyond when you are called to cling?

To Every Human

When did you become an adult? How are you still possessed by your parents? Why do you allow this but complain about it to everyone but your parents? How are you attached to your parents showing up a certain way? If you are a parent, why are you so attached to your children?

I find it fascinating that the human animal attaches significant identity structures to roles we play. And then humans create drama surrounding those roles and relationships. That describes the domain of the dramatic arts and why humans love the titillation of drama.

The Harmonic Path Of Nature

Meanwhile, other animal groups live in harmony with nature. Only the human animal creates lasting drama in their lives, the lives of others, and the planet. I find we humans can be quite stupid in our cleverness.

Imagine for a moment, dear human, that we animals that call ourselves human follow the natural path of nature.

Sure, humans take a long time to “fly from the nest”. Of all the animals on the planet, human young take a significant amount of energy to raise into their maturity. And when little humans arise into their maturity, we adult humans seem to think they are still ours.

Consider your parents are not your parents. Consider your children are not your children. Examine the possibility of a natural (healthy) path is one of a transition into something other than parent and child. Exactly like the rest of Life.

Under The Day Of Our Existence

What might that transition be in terms of roles? How about “friend”, “compatriot”, “fellow sojourner”.

Sojourner stands out in this moment of writing and so I’ll follow this urge to… well… sojourn.

Sojourn, in the old Latin (subdiurnum) spoke of “under the day”. Under the day you, as child, are in your (parents) care. Under the day you, as parent, are called to care.

As adult it is no longer “under the day”. As adult you are in the twilight and night of your existence.

Under the light of day, in the life of a young human, is the time to care and be cared for. All animals operate this way. It is natural, healthy and “good” with Life… under the day.

Consider that when we human animals unnaturally insist another human remains our parent or our child, that we dishonor each other. We diminish each other. We burden each other.

No other animal burdens themselves or their offspring thus. No other animal insists on the level of control the human animal does. And we wonder where our drama comes from within family systems. Stop wondering. It’s right there in the unhealthy attachment you create to your offspring and how you construct meaning of who they are supposed to be.

Dwell For A Time

As the word sojourn became what it became in the French and English language, it meant (means) to dwell or reside for a time.

That sounds lovely… to dwell for a time. Like having a cup of tea and a delightful conversation beside a toasty fire.

Consider, just as all animals do, we humans dwell for a time. This is true for Life. It is “good” and natural. And despite our myriad of systems we humans insist on creating, we dwell for just a little while. I find comfort in this wisdom Life imparts to us.

Now, dear human, imagine shifting your relationship to the construct we humans call family. Imagine allowing your children and your parents to be human first and to be a fellow sojourner with you in Life.

Yes, human first. Before the assignment of roles, called child or parent, is a human… a sovereign entity. A fellow sojourner with you under the day of your existence.

Allow The Day To End So The Night May Begin

When the day ends, honor that fellow sovereign entity. Allow the day to end. Allow the night to begin. Stop trying to own your child or parent, dictate to them, control them, or insist your will upon them.

Honor the little human whilst in your care. Honor the fellow sojourner in the twilight of their existence. We humans dishonor each other when we shove our beliefs upon each other, when we manipulate, control and dominate each other… especially when we do this with little humans who are not so little.

Create a space under the day where little humans develop their understanding of the nature of Life. Allow them to see and experience Life. And then when it is twilight, allow them to be their own sovereign entity… fully human… not “child”.

Consider changing the conditioned belief that makes a little human something to possess. Look at little humans as little adults in the making. Consider changing the conditioned belief that makes parents someone to defer to. Dignify each other to create an equal honoring of the twilight transition into the night of your relationship.

Our history of being human has seen some cultures honor this transition. We “modern” humans have lost our way in this. We have become distant from the natural ways of Life. And in this distance, this separation from Life, we attach unnaturally to our controlling constructs.

The Twilight Of Relationship

When you return or integrate back into a sense of the natural way of Life, what you may find is peace and zero drama. You will find an honor for each other. The evening of your relationship as one of peers, friends, compatriots… should you both want that. And it’s OK not to want that. Which can be a hard sentence to read. Some little humans, so oppressed by the role of parent, seek escape. Some big humans, so confronted by the role of parent, also seek escape.

In such circumstances, consider it is a natural thing for you to never speak or see each other again. And in this moment, be with your trigger, your emotion, your thoughts on reading this. All animals migrate away from those that raise them… naturally. And when they meet again, they greet the other as equal with respect. How are you not greeting each other as equal in your family dynamic? How do you cling to a past that no longer holds space or force the past into your present?

What has us unnaturally cling to our constructs is our fear of death. Your fear of this natural transition from little human to adult human has you want to possess your child or parent. You fear the dying of the relationship as you have constructed it to be, which is out of alignment with the natural order of Life.

And this is not to be insensitive to your sensitivity. Yes, it hurts to transition. Yes, it is joyful to transition. It is both. Hurt gives rise to Joy, Joy gives rise to Hurt. Joy and Hurt are two aspects of a singularity union. The question is, dear human, will you allow the natural way of Life and the transition into the twilight of your relationship however it is for you?

What I offer to you here is to step into your responsibility to allow this natural order. Allow your children to be sovereign. Allow your parents to be sovereign. Accept each other as fellow sojourners on the journey into the night of your relationship. “Let go” of your unnatural constructs. Let in Life by allowing Death. Dignify each other with new Life. Each on your own terms.

A postscript for you parents that insist on guilting your children with statements like “after all I’ve done for you!”. Consider no one asked you to. You did it all for your own selfish reasons. So take some responsibility for your doing and leave in peace the sovereign entity that you insist on calling your child. Dignify and honor each other. Not that I have had any experience with this or anything.

Phillip has played the role of father to three children all in the night of their existence (late 20s to early 30s). One understands this transition, two do not. Phillip’s past way of (unconscious) being created confusion and hurt. Phillip’s current way of (different) consciousness creates both confusion and understanding depending on the curiosity level of the human. His own parents were absent or surviving (a distinct form of absent) his entire life. This had an influence on Phillip being both a “hands-on” father and an absent father; very involved until late teens and early twenties, then absent and transitional. He understands the family dynamic experientially, intimately, intellectually and spiritually without assigning “right” or “wrong”. Currently, Phillip leads a practice he calls DearHuman.LIFE. He helps humans make sense of their blind motivational patterns so they open their eyes to see and live their natural freedom.