Adult Children of Divorce – Healing the Pain

Adult Children Divorce Pixabay boy-928655_640I’ve come to envy young children going through a divorce. Everyone worries about them. They are sent to psychologists to get the help they need, but the adult child’s grief isn’t taken as seriously. Many of our parents stayed together because we’d be more mature once we headed off to college, walked down the aisle, or had our first baby.

Parents expect us to shrug off their split, as if the breakup of our family should no longer concern us because pieces of our adult life are in place. Even I felt I was overreacting. I’m an adult, I figured. I should be able to handle this. (Brook Lea Foster, who wrote the AARP Magazine article, “The Way We Were”)

Brook was talking about the difficulty of coming to terms with her parents divorce even though it happened when she was an adult.

Adult “Children” of Divorce Hurt Too

Even though you are an adult, it doesn’t mean that you don’t still feel immense pain. You realize, “things will never be the same.” As Brook said in the article:

“My life suddenly seemed a series of “lasts” —a final Christmas, an end to eggs together at the breakfast table. I’d never again find my parents standing side by side on the porch, waving to me as I pulled into the driveway.”

There are a lot of “lasts” adult children of divorce must go through in letting go of the past. And there are a lot of “firsts” to adjust to as you visit your parents one-by-one in different locations and often different states. There are also the “firsts” to adjust to as you meet new people they are each dating. This adjustment doesn’t necessarily come easy just because you are supposed to “be adult about it.”

Wrong Notions About Adult Children

In another article posted in the Washingtonian Magazine, Brook had additional thoughts to say on this subject. She wrote,

“When a younger couple gets a divorce, they worry about how it will affect the children. My Mom told me that’s partly why she and Dad stayed together for so long. Did it mean that what I saw as a perfect childhood was a lie?

“There’s a notion that an adult child won’t hurt as much as a youngster. People think a 26-year-old isn’t as likely to be affected by her parents’ breakup. That she’ll understand. It’s not true. Understanding what your parents are going through is even worse. I began obsessing about their growing old alone. I pictured them in separate houses without someone to make them tea if they had the flu. They could come live with me, but I’d have to choose one.

“My parents and I reversed roles. I became the worried one. And I was the one who wanted to make sure they had a good weekend, or that the birthday present I had sent was perfect. I told a friend after the holidays that my family felt dead to me. ‘I think you’re exaggerating,’ my friend said. But I wasn’t. I was in mourning. My family as I knew it was dying.”

As you can surmise, it’s not as easy for many adult children to adjust to their parents’ divorces even though many people may think they should. That’s why we want to lead you to some additional  thoughts on this subject, hoping that they will help those who are dealing with this issue.

Adult Children of Divorce – Healing the Pain Resources:

This first resource is a series of radio interviews conducted by the ministry of Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey. In these radio broadcasts Dennis interviewed Jen Abbas and Elizabeth Marquardt.

We encourage you to either listen to, or read the transcripts for each of 5 radio broadcasts. They are titled, Surviving the Aftermath of Divorce, The Emotional Hurdles of Living Through a Divorce; The Sleeper Effect of Divorce; Forgiving Our Parents, and Approaching Marriage) please click onto the links provided below:

ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE: Healing Pain that Lives On – Days 1-3

ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE: Healing Pain that Lives On – Days 4-5

You will find below another 3-part series of Family Life Today broadcasts. They deal with the subject of adult children and how their parents’ divorce has affected their lives. Dennis Rainey is interviewing Bill and Jesse Butterworth in these programs.  We invite you to either listen to or read the transcripts for:

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions put together this article.

If you can share additional tips to help others in this area of marriage, please “Join the Discussion” below.

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Filed under: Separation and Divorce

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75 responses to “Adult Children of Divorce – Healing the Pain

  1. (USA)  My daugther contacted me after 19 years. Believe me, I take all the blame. Everything was going good until her mother and stepdad started to really come down hard on her for contacting me. Now my daugther will only text if she feels like it and when she does it is 1 word replays. It just seems she is ready to end it with me. I just don’t get it. Can anyone help me understand?

  2. (USA)  Divorce at any age is a heartbreak. I’ve now been on both ends -I was a small child when my parents split and realized that the divorce would not end until one of them died -I was mistaken it does not end!

    I stayed in an abusive/ unfaithful relationship to protect my children from divorce until I had to chose between two Ds -death or divorce. My friends impressed the need for me to live for my children. I understand too well the hurt / rejection / questions.

    I will make this statement “an adult has the tools to deal with a divorce and they are insulated from the daily battlefield” (like parents going back to court for a third time for custody or the knowledge that daddy again didn’t send money for food). Children starting at a small age are intuitive and they know what is happening even when their parents don’t cry on their shoulders. Thanks for the thoughtful article.

  3. (USA) My advice is: No one ever said life is supposed to be perfect whether you are the child or the parent. Walk on. Pick up the good pieces of your life and be as kind as you can to others. There is no perfect child or perfect mother/father. Life is not a rose garden. After 27 years of an unhappy marriage I left. I met and married a great husband. My former husband married someone the age of our oldest daughter. Moaning about life helps no one. Do the best you can. Surround yourself with things you love.

    Even though my second passed away I have wonderful memories of all the times we spent together. Life is a learning experience until the day you pass on. Enjoy life as much as you can. No one has a perfect life. We grow up with fairy tales. Help others. There is so much joy in doing for others. Just don’t let anyone use you. Back off and draw your boundary lines.

    I let some of my children into my boundary lines and some I don’t. My life is peaceful and I have no guilt about keeping my distance. If your child/children love you they will abide by your rules. I came from a totally disfunctional family. It could have been very different. When you went to my grandmother’s house there was a rule that never changed. There would be no fighting of any kind in her home. It was a place of security. I now have the same rules. Get along or go home. Life is too short to live in a constant turmoil. Make your home your heaven on earth. It is up to you. Best wishes.

  4. (UK) My parents divorced when I was 14. I am 25 now and living abroad where I work as a translator. I have been successful in my education and career but am emotionally incredibly unstable and have been suffering from depression for years. I have massive anxiety problems and develop relationships, only for me to go emotionally cold.

    The reason for my parent’s divorce has never been fully understood -not even now. My mum left my dad because of his money problems (which I found out about later, he owed thousands in tax, everything, you name it and the house was under threat). Subsequently my mother tried to sell the house quickly to get her half, leading me to resent her for years. I didn’t talk to her for about 4 years. She also said my dad was having an affair, which I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss. My dad is a compulsive liar and although I love him dearly, my perception of my parents is now one that is shrouded in questions and doubt.

    My mother had a bad upbringing; an alcoholic father and a useless mother. I think if I’m honest my mother has emotional/mental problems. She is emotionally very weak and I fear I am developing signs of being like her. She remarried (as did my dad) to a guy who I think is lovely but there are already strains. She tells me all their marital problems, that there is no intimacy etc etc. My biggest fear is that my mum will end up on her own. Living abroad was a way I could escape it, but the lonliness and confusion is still there. I worry about my emotional state in the future and although it’s not discernible at the time, the emotional scars of divorce can reappear in ways you never expected. Your parents are essentially your ultimate foundation and when that goes, in some ways you are alone. I feel like I can never explain these emotions/feelings I have and can never rationalise them or make them go away. But something changes, thats for sure.

  5. (UNITED STATES) I’m 23; my mother just announced to me that she is divorcing my father. He had an affair about 10 yrs ago but my mother forgave him and gave him another chance. She is a strong Christian woman & I grew up under strong Christian values. My father used to be close with God but has strayed almost completely from God over the past decade or so. Turns out he has been having another affair with a different woman and my mother has had enough. I can’t shake this and am having a very hard time dealing with this.

    Someone PLEASE help me get through this. I have 3 other siblings, I live 10 hrs away from the rest of my family right now so I don’t have them to cope with right now.

  6. (USA) Lisa, I did not see your post until after I replied. I so understand the ‘numb’ feeling. You, also are not alone in this. GOD is with you. I don’t understand all that is happening, but I do know that everything happens for a reason and at the end of all this pain there will somehow come peace, joy and a sense of belonging. Will be keeping you and yours in Prayer as well. Funny, I thought I was the only one who in the loss of a very long term marriage lost the children and grands as well. Very painful, but we will get through this. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

  7. (USA) My mom walked out of a 35 year marriage this past Christmas Eve. She told all her kids over the phone. I am 33, a single mother and my 3 siblings are all boys. I have always been everyone’s rock, and arbitrator in my family… which is very tight knit. My mother was having an affair, I caught her 4 years ago. But it turns out there was more than one man.

    At this point my son and I are staying with my dad whom is leaning heavily on me emotionally, also to cook, clean, help him with bills. I’m just lost… looking for insight. Two days ago I had a “sleepdriving” episode from ambien, I totaled my 2013 Kia Soul, woke up in a ditch in my “nightie” and barefoot. My mother has not even called to check on me.

    Anyone have any suggestions-book wise? I have searched, but would like a suggestion. I am already in therapy, on anti-depressants from dealing with my own demons, but my family will always come first and I am trying to handle all of this as best as I can!!! Staying strong!

    1. (UNITED STATES) Shawna, I can’t begin to say I know how you feel, but my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I have been trying to help a friend through his parents’ divorce. I came across this book that was written by a psychologist who is a child of an adult divorce themselves and I’ve seen recommended elsewhere: http://www.worldcat.org/title/grief-out-of-season-when-your-parents-divorce-in-your-adult-years/oclc/22733395&referer=brief_results. Unfortunately it’s out of print, but hopefully you can find a copy in a library nearby.

  8. (USA) To all of you on here suffering from your parents’ divorce, my heart breaks for you! I have only been able to read bits and pieces because it’s too painful. I am the mother of 2 grown sons. My youngest was 18 when his dad and I divorced after almost 30 years of marriage. They had no idea how toxic our relationship was (he is a sex-addict and had a secret life -but very successful on the outside). Our divorce came as a complete shock to them, and I am only now coming to understand just how devastating this has been on them, particularly the younger one.

    We were divorced in 2009, after years of therapy and deep depression on my part (though hidden far too well from my sons). Their dad remarried almost immediately, and I limped along -fighting often with my youngest. It was really rough. I finally got my life together again and am living with someone new -my son lives with us. He has struggled to find his way and tries hard but has had some set backs. Yesterday he really poured his heart out about how much pain he is in on a daily basis.

    I am feeling like I have totally ruined his life (my older son is doing pretty well as far as I know). I don’t see how he can move forward -he won’t get help and after reading here, don’t even know if it would help anyway. It’s as if I’ve ripped his heart open and no amount of surgery will ever repair it.

    Since I can’t take back what has happend, I would like to ask you all if there is anything that you would want from your divorced parents now -any sort of comfort, help, any particular support that may help –it seems total healing may be beyond anything I can do. But if there is anything at all, just the smallest thing, please kindly share. My son hurts so badly… Thanks for any help.

  9. I am still suffering from my parent’s divorce. It was 100% my mother’s fault and over time, all 5 children have held her accountable. We love her – but just cannot accept the damage she has brought upon our family.
    My father and I have always been tight – and he went from being a dad 365 days out of the year to 52 days out of the year (every other weekend). I forgave my mom – but I did not forget. My dad did everything he could to heal the marriage. She cheated on him and blamed him for the divorce. She had friends that were getting a divorce and it seemed like the hip thing to do. Her denial and rewriting of history was amazing. Borderline psychopath.

    When my wife and I got married 15 years ago, I warned her about my mom and her ‘moral relativism’. Once my brother’s wife cheated on him after 13 months of marriage, my wife got to see my mom’s relativism in action. She was blown away. My mom excused my sister-in-law’s adultery so she could excuse her own. My wife lost respect for my mom at that time.

    13 years later, my wife started hanging out with the same type of immoral scum that my mom chose to hang out with just 33 years earlier. Now, my wife has COMPLETELY changed everything about herself. She used to not believe in divorce and was against anyone who committed adultery or destroyed their family with divorce. Now my wife has cheated on me, wants a separation, excuses her friends and her adultery, blames me entirely and doesn’t care one lick about the damage that will happen to the children if we divorce.

    I am blown away. I cannot believe I have to live through this all over again. On the good side, after knowing each other for 18+ years, my mom and wife who were never close will be able to really get chummy.

    For the life of me, I do not know how these immoral psychopaths can do what they do to their own families. I am hurt by my wife’s adultery and hurt by her denial and rewriting of history and moral relativism – but still could never choose anything besides forgiveness and reconciliation – for my Faith’s sake and for my children’s sake.

    My kids can see what is going on and my 12 year old keeps asking me why mom treats me so bad and why does she always go out late with her friends and why her friends come before her family. Same thing I asked at the same age.

    He told me that if my wife left me, he would never speak to her again and that the judge may grant her 50% custody – he can’t force my son to like her, listen to her or respect her.

    Those who are blind to Satan’s history are doomed to repeat it.

    I pray that we can reconcile – but will not feel sorry for how her life turns out if she divorces me. People say that Karma will get you, but I do not believe in Karma. I believe that God will make it right and will allow her life to spiral out of control until she either denies him or turns his life over to him, completely.

  10. My adult daughters (19 & 23) told me of their father/my husband was having an affair with a woman from work. He had an affair with a woman from work when they were younger and they found out from their older sister some time ago; so this is salt in their never closed wounds.

    Our marriage has been strained for so many years from lack of communication. When they told me in June 2013 I immediately hired a private investigator and because of it being a working relationship it was difficult to get the evidence I needed. My daughters were in the loop with what I was doing and even spoke with the attorney I had retained. I went on a two week vacation to visit family and within 2 hrs of my departure my husband was in a hotel with her. The weekend before my return he met her at a bar, made out in the parking lot after a few drinks, then took her to my home.

    When I returned I never let on all the evidence that was on video. I met with the atty and had him served a week later in the house to not humiliate him being served at work or to give his girlfriend/coworker any hints of what she was to expect as I live in one of 7 states that can sue the mistress for “alienation of affection”, not to mention loss of job would be my alimony and he is an officer of the company and makes a very good salary. After his emotional breakdown of getting caught he still denied to our daughters of his affair and tried to make it my fault. It was only after our 3rd therapy session that he came clean about lying and cheating but still says there was no sexual intercourse. While he understands that intimacy through texting, communication and physical contact, it is adultery on every level in the eyes of God and the man made laws.

    I am a renewed Christian but he is not although he tells us he does believe in God but the girls and I have never seen him pray or open a Bible but he claims to be very faithful so we leave that up to him and God as we cannot judge his faith. All through the investigation I shared way too much with my daughters, that I regret doing for now that I have chosen to try and reconcile with therapy and communicating more with him today my daughters feel I am like an abusive woman who keeps going back for more punishment as in their minds they were prepared for divorce. They’re finding it difficult to talk to me about anything because they know that their father and I are for the first time talking about everything. They’re very angry with me that I tell him the conversations I have with them and vice versa with him. My husband says they just want to know that I’m happy with the reconciliation and once I show them that he and I are better than before they’ll forgive me and not question why I stayed. I’m not so sure that they’ll regain the respect they had before for me and they’ll never be close to me again.

    As young women I want as their mother to teach them how a man is supposed to respect love and treat them but their own father failed miserably in that department and I’m now forgiving him for this horrible sin to me, the sanctity of my marriage. But I also am trying to teach them the act of forgiveness but they aren’t buying it right now. Actions speak louder than words so maybe in time they’ll see that their father is remorseful and is dedicated to our marriage as I am and always have been dedicated to my marriage, God and my children.

    I’m at a loss of words for my daughters because they have such little respect for me staying. Is my husband correct when he says that in time they’ll see our marriage stronger than before and they’ll come around? Younger people today, through the reality tv shows and media celebrity coverage, come from this “if it’s broken throw it away” mentality and because neither of my daughters have been married or have had children they may not truly understand my dilemma. Any suggestions on how I can communicate to my daughters that I’m not feeling abused and I’m at fault for things that went wrong in my marriage but just because I didn’t go out and cheat and lie I’m still responsible for the things that went wrong? How can they understand that I am not an abused woman and I want them to accept a “redo” with my husband and my family can be stronger than ever before?

  11. I am still so hurt by my parents divorce. I’m 41 and they split when I was 12. I guess I never really dealt with it. The pain was pushed down in order to try to make the very best of the situation for everyone’s sake. I ended up twice divorced myself… made bad relationship choices trying to make the area of “family” complete in my life, perhaps.

    The thing people don’t really talk about, is that divorce, for the children, has ongoing, lifetime effects. Both of my parents are remarried, as are my husband’s parents. That is 4 sets of parents, all of whom live in different countries. What is our obligation to them as they age? Moreover, what will we need to deal with? And what about step family? All of our parents remarried and now the step siblings are having families… that’s four different sets of families to juggle for time and gifts at the holidays. Financially, it’s very difficult. It’s hard to not feel resentful. And what do I do with memories, photographs, from when I had a family? People will say I still have a family (x4 in fact) but I never asked for step family.

    When I met my 3rd husband (yes, I tried again and it’s the last time) my step mother was furious. She was loyal to my ex. In fact, she told me a couple of times in the heat of that moment that she loved me because I’m my dad’s daughter. That was 4 1/2 years ago, and I guess that’s when things started to unravel for me. After all of the years I had been gracious, accepting, not caused waves… Real family is loyal to its members, not the exes. If her daughters had been treated how I had been, her responses would have been quite different.

    I’m so exhausted from the pain of this. I don’t know that it ever heals. In my opinion, with the exception of abusive situations, people with kids SHOULD NOT DIVORCE. Keep your families together. It’s utterly selfish to divorce when you have created a family.

  12. My children were 18 and 21 when my wife left 4 months ago, which was summertime, when both were at home. It was several weeks before our 18-year-old was to start college. Our 21-year-old was about to start commuting to a local college after a disastrous year at a residential college (he has learning disabilities,and still lives with me).

    My wife gave me three hours notice of her plans to divorce, and spent only 15 minutes telling the kids what her plans were before she left town to live with her family, supposedly never to return to our home or the home area, where our kids grew up.

    These theoretical adults (I’ve learned even more so in the time since my wife left that college kids are still kids) were both devastated. I told them that the problem was between me and her, and had nothing to do with them, but that did little good.

    It became worse when my wife didn’t contact them. My youngest called after 3 days (at my urging), yet my wife has had only had two phone conversations with her since. My oldest refused to contact her for four months, and finally relented after his sister pressured him (my urging did no good). He has been showing signs of depression, and was furious at her, feeling that she was angered at him as well as me.

    Although I can take plenty of credit for my wife leaving, I’m seeing now that my wife is depressed (she’s made no attempt to find work at her new home, in addition to her lack of contact with her children). This is in large part due to a family tragedy that we all underwent. However, the kids are not really aware that their mother has a mental problem, and I don’t think it’s right that I tell them my supposition. They are simply angered at her.

    My recommendation: for divorcing parents with children, whether they be adults, college students (semi-adults) or sub-18-year-olds, please put away your animosity and find a way to tell your children jointly that you are getting a divorce, and then stay in touch with them regularly afterwards. Don’t give them explanations or badmouth the other parent – they don’t want to hear negative stuff about their mother or father (and will probably refuse to even hear you out if you go there). Also, don’t use them as emotional crutches or sounding boards. Find someone else -you’ll be putting your kids in the middle by doing this.

    Finally, realize that regardless of their age, you’re giving your kids a crushing blow by divorcing. You should deal with your kids as you would deal with anyone who is getting delivered a crushing blow.

    1. GREAT advice. I’m so sorry that you’re having to learn this through experience. I pray for you and your wife and your “children” –that somehow, relationship bridges can be rebuilt and aching hearts can be healed. Please know that my heart and prayers go out to you and your family.

      1. My husband has had various affairs off and on for the past 25 years… I’ve prayed, cried. We went to counseling years ago. Its become phone/email affairs now… don’t know if it’s more. My children are 25-30 years old. I don’t want to put them through the pain and devastation of divorce. Do I live a lie that all is ok? I feel like that’s the sacrifice I will continue to make. Can’t bear crushing them with the truth by leaving him. God help me.

  13. Hello, I’m urging for help, even though I don’t deserve it. My family is a 4 members: dad, mom, my brother and me. My brother was born without the capacity to walk or talk, barely moves, and I was born with a genetic disease on my genitals. That’s a background that puts me into two situations: maturity due to my brother, as it is me who is going to take care of him, and mental diseases, like depression due to my genetic disease.

    We live near to my grandfather and uncles (father related), they are horrible people, with anger and sorrow in their hearts. They hate my mother, also. So she is a resilient, but mentally weak woman. I always, ALWAYS felt they were “unbalanced” due to my brother, although I love him more than myself and I will take care of him. It just seems they think they failed somehow.

    In the recent 4 years my mother had a brawl with my grandfather, as he hated her; he wanted to push her off. That changed her. She became more angry, and my father more stupid everyday.

    25 years of marriage to this, 4 recent years of, on every Christmas/New Year, fights and yelling and tears, threats of leaving and always staying. I always was scared about this, they probably didn’t divorce due to my brother, but now they realize i failed too, they just gave up.

    It seems that I am the one to blame. I’m on my way to become a biologist. I’m a smart kid (17 years old, know pretty much everything about human behavior, hormonal and mental injuries, well, anything I could use to explain myself in this situation), I do already work on the field, and I have a future that I want to aim and grab it. But I already tried suicide and I failed, because of my brother. I love him and I wouldn’t leave him alone.

    They are on their way to divorce, finally, letting a mentally broken kid that suffered enough with the social awkwardness and bullying. I wanted to believe this was just one more fight, but I don’t want it to be; I want an end. They never allowed me any psychiatric or anything like that.

    I love and hate them, and I just feel that the words “I’m proud of you, son” are lies, just lies.

    I will grow trying to shut myself down from all emotions, from people, from myself, as a failure. I read so many touching stories here, and all grabs a piece of me. I hope every single one of you gets well, through all this mental turmoil that is the lie of marriage, of love. I will die knowing that love, even from my own mother, was fake.

    1. Gabriel, I felt sorry for you. You have a brave soul for getting along with this situation, and I understand you completely. I have a brother with autism and I decided to live in my childhood home and working from there, to help my mother, brother and financial outgoings after my parents got divorced. It’s a hard time for adults when their parents get divorced because we have to make some hard choices which can change our entire life, as career path in some cases. I really understand you stay strong for your brother’s sake. Same here. But don’t give up on the love. If your parents don’t demonstrate their love, if they have, for you and your brother, you have your brother at least. And you know your love for him will endure until the end, right? Stay strong.

    2. Dear Gabriel, I am so sorry for your loss of loving family who clearly have many psychological disorders. I am sorry for you and your brother’s health difficulties. I have been writing a book for three years to be published within six months, finally. I write about all the generations of harm and pain being inflicted on innocent children one generation after the next. The problem is that they – particularly your aggressive grandfather – have emotionally shutdown. They forget they are souls and that our souls are pure love. They forgot to face their problems/pain and they have manifested into anger, rage, hatred – psychological disorders. Instead of facing and dissolving their problems/pain, their problems/pain created layer upon layer upon layer burying their hearts and soul more and more and more.

      I am worried for you saying that you will shut yourself down from all emotions. Please don’t. This is exactly what your family of origin have done to arrive where they are -hell on earth and they took you and your brother with them. Keep in contact with your soul which is your love for your brother. Love really does cure all. Please don’t let their emotional shutdown become your emotional shutdown. Please remember that you don’t ever want to be like them. Please keep your heart and soul for your brother because your compassion and love for him is also your compassion and love for you -genuine love is the most precious cycle of life we have. I wish you well in your biology field and in your life to come. You and your brother deserve genuine love. You are giving it to each other. Keep your soul shining through and please don’t ever let anyone bring you down with their problems. Hazel

  14. I was divorced 5 years ago. Everything came as a shock to me. I found out my husband had a girlfriend for three years and had been cheating on me even longer. Even though this was the reason for the divorce my boys ages 18, 22 and 23 all became angry with me and to this day don’t want me to date.

    I don’t understand. I’ve done nothing wrong. My marriage was a very hard eighteen years of emotional/mental abuse. I thought my boys would be happy for me? I feel that I’ve lost everything and suffered way more then any human should. How can I make my boys understand?

    1. My Dad has always pinned us kids against my Mom and my mom did the same. So for many years before they separated, which conveniently happened while my younger brother was experiencing paranoia and hearing voices and on my first day at the local J.R College. It was messy. They got back together and broke up 4 times before my Dad just moved out permanently.

      The semester at college was chaos and I didn’t even check my grades. I’m gonna start working soon so that’s good. I’m so happy and relieved. My dad was a terrible provider and would constantly be taking out loan after loan after loan. My Mom’s parents had been helping us financially since I can remember. My mom let the house get to the state that it’s unlivable and it has been unlivable since I was like 4.

      So now us kids (I’m the eldest of 3) are slobs and though I now see that this is so much better than living with constant stress, I still blame my mom. For 6 months I would on and off again have an angry meltdown and curse and scream and threaten to call CPS, which I never did because my family is the most important thing in my life. To me family is life. If that makes any sense at all…

      Why do I blame my mom and not my dad? I blame them both but for different things. My dad for being terrible at finances, which is what my mom says turned her to seek out other men, which I think is complete bologna because she refused to work. Yet she never kept the house or tried to do anything other than play computer games all day.

      My Grandmother died in January. I was extremely close to her and love her with my entire heart. I’m tearing up as I type this. I’m trying to just move on. I find being angry all the time is too draining. I now have to be an adult though through most of this I’ve been pretty childish. But I just turned 19 on February 6th and I don’t know if I will ever have a relationship. I’ve never had one and I’m worried that since I felt unprotected when my dad left I’ll just jump into the arms of any man, which is what my mom did. Right now mom and I are just trying to keep everything together.

      1. Rachel, You really need to make it your mission to get healthy emotionally. Thankfully, you are recognizing this at this point. Please don’t allow this to continue. Why go another 19 years (or beyond) in such misery? Tragically, many people do. Since your eyes are open and your desire is to escape the same crazy cycle that your parents allowed themselves to run on and drag you children into, DO something to fight it from continuing to haunt you in your life. It’s not about blaming your parents –one over the other, it’s about walking the journey to put this to rest properly so you can go on in life without dragging this type of baggage around, and inflicting it upon yourself over and over again as the memories keep popping up, and upon others (which happens in one way or another).

        College is good to pursue, but getting healthy emotionally may be a better path to take FIRST, and THEN going to college won’t be as difficult. Find a way to get a good counselor. It’s worth whatever investment you can make. Freedom from the pain of the past is invaluable. I know… I’ve walked this journey. It’s SO worth making and taking the time and effort to do this so you experience sweet peace.

        I encourage you to call the ministry of Focus on the Family. They have counselors on staff, who can help you get started. Their web site is http://www.focusonthefamily.com. Go to it and go into their “Get Help” window to find a way to contact them some way for guidance on this. Be the one who is brave enough to take that first step. Perhaps it will inspire other family members to do so eventually too. Even so, I encourage YOU, with all my heart to do this.

        Your parents should never have done this to you. I’m so very sorry for the pain you have lived through, and are now living through. But now that you are grown, it is important to find a way to put the haunting ghosts of your past to rest in a way that will allow you to go forward with your life. I hope you will… pray for you, that God will comfort you, guide you, show you the way, and help you to experience freedom from your past, as you reach out to the help that He shows you to grab.

  15. My marriage was not good from the beginning. I loved my husband though. The things that were wrong -were wrong early on. I thought that he would grow out of them. I stayed partly because I took my vows very seriously and partly because we had children. I didn’t know “how” to leave. How do you do that knowing that your children will have to go back and forth? I was never very strong. I was actually depressed and couldn’t put my children nor myself through the turmoil. Eventually, after 27 years, I had a breakdown -got counselling and eventually told my husband I was leaving him.

    Shortly after my high school sweetheart contacted me after 30 years! I have nothing to gain here about lying about this. That light at the end of the tunnel lifted me up and out of that place. My daughter has been different towards me ever since (11 years) (she is 26) -it hurts me. I have such terrible guilt about the effect this has had on her. My boys seem to understand; perhaps they just hide it better. But I feel that my daughter hates me. I’m so sorry -not that I left – but that I hurt my children. I thought it would be better for them to see me happy instead of sad…