The pain of divorce and how it goes on

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My parents divorced when I was 14 years old and it had a negative impact on my life. At the time I said I didn't care and that it was cool to have separated parents because I got two lots of presents at Christmas and birthdays. I didn't want to admit how hurt I was and how much it bothered me to see my parents apart.

After the divorce my dad moved away. 90 miles away. I could only see him during the school holidays and even then my biological mum would put restrictions on the time spent with him. Not only that but if my mum couldn't find someone to drive me the 90 miles then I wouldn't get to see my dad during those holidays. 

It would be months before I saw him again.

The visits to see my dad meant a lot to me and while there I would behave (as well as a teenager can!) and try to be a good daughter. What I remember most about the visits though is not what I did with my dad while there (although I have some pretty awesome memories) but the pain I felt every time I had to leave. It was heartbreaking. 

Packing up my things to go back home I would take as long as I possibly could secretly hoping that I would have to stay. I would shout and scream, tears would flow, but eventually I knew I had to get into the car. I hated getting into the car that would take me back home and saying goodbye to my dad, knowing that it would be months before I got to see him again. 

That same feeling came back to me yesterday after visiting my dad. Even though I'm now an adult and I don't have to leave if I don't want to I still had that same gut-wrenching feeling about leaving. Every time I say goodbye to my dad it hurts. Every. Time.

This made me think about all the children out there whose parents' are going through a divorce. It makes me sad that they might be going through the same thing. As adults you need to realise the pain of divorce may ease for you or your partner but it may never go away for your children. 

The things your children witness during a divorce will stay with them. If you argue in front of them they will either relive those moments later in life with their own partner or they will avoid partnerships altogether for the fear of arguing. If you call one another names in front of the children those names will take on a monster-like persona and come back to haunt your child every time they hear them. 

My downward spiral began when my parents divorced. My attitude changed drastically and my behaviour went downhill. I became someone else and my family had to deal with it.

What I'm saying is if you're going through a divorce right now, or have just separated, and your child's behaviour is changing - talk to them. I lashed out at the people I loved because I hated what was happening. I may not have consciously cared but it bothered me deeply and what I needed at the time was an understanding ear, even if I didn't understand myself. 

Please, I beg of you, talk to your children. Let them know that you still love them, regardless of the circumstances. And whatever you do don't use your children as pawns against one another. That only hurts the children.

Above all listen and pay attention. Slight changes in behaviour despite seemingly honest professions about being "okay" can indicate bigger issues. If you're there for your children you can get through the tough times together. 

Two Tiny Hands

10 comments:

  1. This is a really heartbreaking read, you're right though, people need to talk to their children.

    #FamilyFun

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  2. This is such a powerful piece, this part particularly touched me: "...what I needed at the time was an understanding ear, even if I didn't understand myself." As a teacher I have first hand experience of this, the times I have noticed a behaviour change and spoken to parents to be meet with, well yes we are having some relationship problems at home or yes I've just split from his mum/dad. It does affect different kids differently but it does affect them... #familyfun

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    1. Totally Catie. I think teachers often see the changes more clearly than the parents because really, the parents are too engrossed in the divorce or separation to notice changes in their children. I hope that my posts like this can help parents, and children, to cope better with a horrible situation. xx

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  3. A really thought provoking post. My parents didn't separate but they regularly rowed in front of me. I still hate confrontation because of it. Thanks for writing this. #familyfun

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    1. I cannot argue. I hate it. My parents rowed in front of me too and whenever the Hubby and I have a disagreement I end up in tears because it reminds me of that time. It's a difficult thing to cope with but I hope that by sharing my experiences I can help other children and parents prevent it from happening to them.

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  4. Wow, you hit a nerve in me. So similar circumstances, my parents split when I was 14, dad moved away 300 miles and my mum moved us away too. I saw him on school holidays we got put on a train. I'm very indifferent to my dad though. I love him but don't miss him or have that heartache. I agree discussion with kids is paramount though how else do you know what is going on!? Thanks for linking up with #familyfun, hope you can join us next week 😀

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    1. Sorry about that hun. It's those memories and experiences that shape us and not knowing what is going on can only add to the pressure of the situation. I'm the same, but with my mum, we don't get along at all now. Hopefully I'll be back next week hun. xx

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  5. This is such a difficult topic. My parents never split up so it is not something I can truly relate to. I do however have a step daughter who obviously went through it and it obviously had an impact on her. She was lucky though as her parents remain living very close to each other (she can walk between houses) and she had lots of supportive family around. I am sorry to hear that it was so hard for you at times, I can really feel the sadness you described. Thank you so much for linking with us at #Familyfun, I really hope you can come back again next week xx

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