Child of divorce testimonial: Dear divorced parents

There were precious few constants in my childhood, but one constant was my father bad mouthing my mother to me every chance he got and no topic was off limits no subject out of bounds, he was ruthless. Sometimes my stepmother would join in and they would tag team me. Oh, were those some special nights.

You know I had the chance at a normal life. After my father cajoled my mother into forfeiting her right to retain custody of my sister and myself, he moved us 289 miles away so that our mother couldn’t even see us and if he had just left it at that and never brought her name up again I may have left if at that as well and never brought her up either. Well that didn’t happen. He never let an opportunity pass without telling me what a horrible person she was. Bad mother, bad wife, bad cook, bad housekeeper, just bad person in general. She cheated on him, the house was ALWAYS a pigsty, she couldn’t cook, us kids were always FILTHY and all she cared about was herself.(all lies by the way)

I never did understand why he didn’t just stop talking about her altogether once he moved us out-of-state…

Read the whole thing here:

https://thestory999.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/dear-divorced-parents/

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Is “blended family” a Freudian slip?

I hate the phrase “blended family.” I mean I REALLY hate it. It is hideous. It is a lie. It is a euphemism. I wish people would see what BS it is and stop using it.

And think about the analogy: a blender is a device that uses sharp blades to chop and cut at a rapid speed in order to liquefy. Who would consciously choose to have their family life patterned on that concept?

It’s such a farce. When I see a “blended family” photo this is what I see:

“Hey look at this cute photo we took that makes us look like the kids’ first family! You can safely ignore the fact that the kids’ other parents are not here in the photo. That’s what we’re doing, and we assume the kids are doing it too. They’re smiling, after all, so that proves they’re OK with having their other parent chopped out of their lives for half the time. We didn’t have to live like that when we were growing up, but oh well! Our sex lives are more important than maintaining a unified home for the children. Kids are resilient but adults are SO fragile, after all.”

Yep, that’s what it looks like to me.

I’m not alone in my disdain for the phrase:

It’s hard to imagine a more harmful concept [than ‘blended family’]. Because re-partnership with children or adult children is anything but an ambrosial smoothie. The dad who wants his kids to love his new wife as much as he does quickly realises they don’t. The step-mother with good intentions often becomes a target for resentment about all the changes in their lives, and is frequently blamed for their mother’s unhappiness, too.

Reaching out to the kids (or their mum) to bridge the gap can backfire, creating feelings of failure and disappointment that in turn stress the couple. Indeed, it may come as a surprise to the general public (and a relief to stepfamilies) to learn that conflict is the rule, rather than the exception, in the first years of step-family life.

These “family” members are more likely to argue, seethe with jealousy or simply distrust one other than they are to meld into a happy mix right away. It’s normal. But thanks to the “blended” paradigm, they are bound to wonder, “What are we doing wrong? Why don’t we feel like a first family?” Why aren’t we blended yet?

Source: Banning the ‘blended’ family: why step families will never be the same as first families

So not only is it a lie about what is actually so, it is a lie that lulls people to sleep about what they can expect if they create a step-family after divorce.

Or maybe “blended family” not a lie after all. Maybe it is the truth about what it feels like to live like that as a child, chopping off half of yourself in each home you live in so your parents can be happy, and doing this for the rest of your life. I’ve lived it and so my vote is yes, it is like that.

Would that make “blended family” a Freudian slip?

 

 

Child of divorce testimonial: Anthem of the divorce kids

… You put on the facade of “it’s ok I get 2 Christmases and 2 bedrooms! And if you’re mad at one you can go to the other!” Ok cool but you don’t tell people that slowly but surely you feel abandonment or suffocated all the time or that you have to hear one parent trash talk the other and vice versa or that suddenly you can’t worry about math and kissing boys because all you’ve learned is how to try and block out the screaming and try and mediate.

You don’t tell people you’re constantly torn between two halves and always feel inadequate because you can’t make one happy without hurting the other. Or that you’re life is constantly being shuffled around like a possession caught in the divorce settlement. You don’t tell people that you have heard both your parents cry and tell you they wish they could do better or that you get guilty for getting angry or feeling anything that could burden them.

You don’t tell people that the holidays aren’t fun anymore because you’re constantly switching back and forth and all you can count on is being in the argument on whether dad can pick you up on Christmas Day at 11am or noon…

…Then you’re trying to have relationships and every time someone gets close you push them away before they can leave and break your heart. “I have to be sure, he’s gotta be THE one. We have to do this right” and suddenly you’re this control freak who compartmentalizes friends, work, relationships because that’s what you did with Mom and Dad and it’s the only way you know how to survive…

Read the whole thing here:

https://wabisabiautobiography.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/anthem-of-the-divorce-kids/

Freedom and fertility

For a long time now I have wanted to elaborate on why I believe the unpredictable and spontaneous fertility between opposite-sex couples is a facet of freedom. My thoughts are not well developed. But I thought that by writing them down, it might help me develop them further.

I see a spectrum in regards to fertility. The spectrum goes from what I call Control, to Marriage, to Chaos.

egg is holding by a pipet and a neeldle

Control

Highly controlled and mechanized fertility amounts to a demand, a command, for somebody else to be conceived. The person doing the demanding, the commanding, has more freedom. After all, they are freed from the constraints of marriage, and can will another person into existence. But this level of control comes at the expense of the one being conceived. They are not conceived in freedom, they are conceived by the demand of another. Often money is part of their conception. Some are calling it slavery. I share this sentiment.

Chaos

If we swing to the other end of the spectrum, we arrive at uncontrolled fertility. This is chaos. For example, conception in rape or children in poor communities without fathers. We acknowledge the full humanity and dignity of anybody conceived in any manner, but we must also acknowledge that not all forms of conception should be dignified. Some lead to much sorrow, confusion, and violence.

Control and chaos are both seen as ways for people to exercise ever-increasing amounts of freedom. But it’s a trade: both seem more free than the restraints imposed by marriage, but those children are less free than their parents. The net result is that freedom decreases throughout the culture.

Marriage

I see a middle ground between Control and Chaos. It is called marriage, where new lives spring up spontaneously, as the result of two people expressing their love for one another. They are conceived in love, without a demand to exist, without ever being rejected, connected to both halves of who they are. They are a gift, a free gift. Free as in, conceived without the demand to be conceived, without the perpetual burden of a fractured family.

When humans spontaneously emerge from the love inside marriage, that is something that is never directly controlled, nor is it chaotic since their ontological wholeness is respected and reflected in the one-flesh union of the father and the mother. This spontaneity is a feature of human freedom, not a bug. The one-flesh union of a man and a woman is the middle ground that respects the freedom of the next generation. It seems to me that people conceived and raised like that are the freest of us all.

What I love about Protestants and Evangelicals

Even though I am Catholic and proud to be Catholic, at times I have fallen into Catholic triumphalism, which is not a good thing.

I admit to feeling a certain amount of frustration with Protestants/Evangelicals at times. I could list the reasons for it but won’t since the frustration is not justified. I’ll just say that I have handled it with varying degrees of success. For example, I recently had a conversation with my mother (an Evangelical) about the difference between Catholic and Protestant, and was happy with myself for how I handled it. But there were times in the past where I engaged online with Evangelicals and other Protestants, and I was not nearly as charitable as I should have been. I regret those times.

However, when I see how sincere they are in their faith, it touches me. As a Catholic I know they are Christians by virtue of our common baptism, our common Christology, and other doctrines we share such as the Trinity. In addition to those things, here are a few other things I think they have right. These are just off the top of my head. There are probably others:

  • They are on fire for the Lord.
  • They are not afraid to evangelize the world.
  • They respect and know the Bible.
  • I love their heartfelt prayers, such as the Sinner’s Prayer.
  • They are patriotic.
  • They stand for unborn human life and God’s definition of marriage.
  • The Protestant work ethic is real, and good.
  • I love the worship music they create, such as this song:

It is worth noting here that I was baptized in middle school at the local Presbyterian church, after going through their catechetical program. And was not re-baptized when I entered the Catholic Church in 2012. As I was preparing to enter the Church, this really made a positive impression on me, since my baptism was personally very meaningful for me as a Christian.

I realize that there are gradations and distinctions among Protestants and Evangelicals, so I don’t mean to be saying that they are all the same. I also don’t want to give the impression that I am advocating indifferentism. I just thought it would be good to write something sincere and good about them so that any reading my blog can understand my heart a little better. It seems like there is a fine line between acknowledging the important areas where we agree while not advocating that our differences are irrelevant. I am still figuring how to walk that line.

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these great worship songs created by Protestants:

Divorce fallout: new step-parents might hate your child

If you have children and you’re thinking about divorce I recommend reading some forums dedicated to step-parents. You won’t believe the amount of bitching and name calling step-parents level against their step-children. Since I’m a former step-child, I find these things extremely offensive. Nobody seems to ask, “Maybe the divorce and remarriage are causing at least SOME of these issues.” Nope, it’s always the kids and the other parent.

Here are a few gems I pulled from a site called StepTalk.org:

I couldn’t be more “disconnected” from that slob if I tried! I despise him and his existence in general and I hate that he is even apart of our lives. I wouldn’t lose sleep or shed a tear if he never darkened our doorstep again…nothing would make me happier than skid permanently leaving our lives with ZERO contact ever again. *sigh* dare to dream…

I’m totally disconnected from my step kids. Always have been. Even when they lived in my home and I was helping in raising them. We never communicated directly.

I don’t allow Skidmark to call me “mother” or any other version of that title. Only my real children call me that and rightly so. The jerk already has a “mother.” He only ever calls me that when he is trying to steal my attention from my real kids or manipulate me into spending money on him. LOL

If you divorce, you will have no control over the kind of person your ex marries (or cohabitates with). This sort of thing might go on about your child.

There are a number of these kinds of sites. I recommend reading them to see what people are saying about their step-kids. This will give you some information about what life might be like for your child should you choose to divorce. Here is a google search for them:

Google search for “step parent forum”

Child of divorce testimonial: Then it hit me

A part of me always thought that maybe over time my parents would get back together.

Which became a shattered dream the moment my mom started dating.

But the divorce never really hit me properly you know.

No one ever properly told me they split. Not my own family. Not anyone. I had to just figure it out myself as everyone tried to shelter me with lies like “we’re only just living apart for work”, “they still love each other” etc.

So I dreamt. So I hoped… that maybe everything was false. I clung to that one false hope that maybe they hadn’t actually properly split. My mind told me “no. what’s done is done” but I still wished.

The moment when it actually and truly hit me was when I moved to Korea for a year.
Until then maybe I was mentally in denial. But it hit me like concrete. We moved in with my mom’s then-boyfriend-but-now-ex and she told me I had to call him dad.

The moment she said that, I could literally feel a sharp stab to my heart (and I still feel it now to be honest)…

Read the whole thing here: Then it hit me

#ErasingFamily: how to avoid being erased

Yesterday I lauded the #ErasingFamily movement. I’m so happy they are calling attention to our corrupt divorce system. I also discussed how we got to the place where a movement such as #ErasingFamily even needs to exist.

Today I want to talk about how to avoid being erased from your child’s life.

The family court system is so corrupt that the best way to stay out of it is prevention.

Prevention means: avoiding a situation where it can be possible to be erased from your child’s life. How to do this?

Start by practicing Christian sexual ethics. Since even contracepted sex can make a baby, don’t engage in baby making activities (sex) until married.

Choose your spouse wisely–don’t rush. Choose somebody who you can talk to about this risk, who agrees that it is wrong. There are lots of places that discuss spouse selection so I won’t go into those details.

Then have children inside marriage, stay married, and raise your children together.

Learn how to be married, how to be a marriage partner. It is more than being a good person. Unfortunately lots of good people end up divorced. If you chose an ethical person, they won’t later drag you through the court system and try to erase you from your kid’s life.

If you’re engaging in sex outside of marriage, you are rolling the dice on your future and your potential child’s future. You are risking creating a child with somebody who won’t be a good parent or a good marriage partner. Don’t do that to yourself or your child.

If you are already facing being erased, I am not sure what to say. My ex has spent a lot of energy bad mouthing me over the years, and it continues into the present time. It definitely had an impact on my relationship with my kids, especially my son. But they are older now, and wiser. They have made their own decisions regarding his negative statements about me, and our relationships are growing again. It takes time. Be patient. Do whatever you can to stay in contact with your child, even if it’s not reciprocated. And don’t bad mouth the other parent, no matter how tempting it is. Take the high road. It will pay off. I am 100% comfortable with how I conducted myself during and after the divorce in regards to how I treated my ex and my kids relationship with him even though it cost me in more ways than one. My conscience is clear, and I recommend you do the same.

If I had known about the #ErasingFamily movement 5-6 years ago, in my pain and frustration I may have participated in it by posting a photo of myself on social media holding a sign that said #ErasedMom. However, looking back I am not sure what this would have done to my relationship with the kids. I can see how it might have made it worse at least in the short term. It is a personal decision that each person has to weigh. But if things are really bad,  I can see how it might put pressure on the guilty party to stop being a jerk. I wonder if any of the people who participated in it have improved relations with their kids. I hope they do.

#ErasingFamily: how did we get here?

erasing familyI love the work being done by #ErasingFamily. They are calling attention to how the judicial system perpetuates injustice by alienating parents from their children during divorce proceedings. This is truly a great mission. I hate our divorce system in the United States. It is a unilateral, involuntary system that drags legally innocent people into an often years-long emotional morass that costs them their children and their assets. It is a monster that needs to be destroyed. There can be no justice in unilateral, involuntary divorce.

So I love #ErasingFamily for calling attention to our corrupt divorce system.

But I also want to step back and consider how we got here. How did we get to the place where an phenomenon like #ErasingFamily even needs to exist?

I believe there are three cultural shifts that contributed to the #ErasingFamily movement.

First, it began in an unlikely place: when we reframed adoption. Adoption used to be a child welfare measure of final resort. And that is how most people still view it. But it has morphed into something more than that. Not always, but often enough, it is a system that finds children for people who want to be parents. The focus shifts from what the child needs to what the adults want.

By reframing adoption, we legitimized chopping down a child’s family tree for the sake of the desires of the new custodial parents. We told adoptees that they shouldn’t care about where they came from. We suppressed their birth records. We failed to address their root issues during therapy sessions. We ignored the social science that tells us their elevated risk for suicide. We failed to try and keep the family together.

So you can see how erasing family began.

Once it was socially acceptable, even lauded, to erase a child’s entire family to fulfill the wishes of adoptive parents, the logic follows like this:

  • it is then acceptable to split the child’s family in half (divorce, two homes) due to the parent’s wishes.
  • it is then acceptable to erase 1/2 of the child’s family (#ErasingFamily, anonymous sperm/egg donation) due to the parents’ wishes.

Second, we changed divorce laws. It used to be that courts sided with the innocent spouse. Now they side with the spouse who wants the marriage the least. Legal innocence or or legal guilt does not play a role in how divorce courts operate. This system favors the person who is most ruthless.

Third, we started to believe that adults are entitled to do pretty much whatever they want sexually. This frees them from any responsibility towards their child’s opposite sex parent, which means that they are entitled to ignore half of who the child is. Look at the photo above and compare it to this video. The logic plays out perfectly even though the sexual preference of the parents is different.

It used to be that sex and family went together as a package deal, but not anymore.

So this is the recipe for the #ErasingFamily brew in which we find ourselves today.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how people can avoid being erased from their child’s life.

Child of divorce testimonial: I hate divorce

I hate the splintering of two lives resulting in the children having to clean up the aftermath. I hate being a daughter of a broken marriage. I hate having trust issues and fear when it comes to romantic relationships. I hate that I desire so much security to come from a man.

I hate it because I wish I didn’t desire it.

I hate that I have lack.

Read more here: I hate divorce