Why we can’t use math to understand the child of divorce

I suspect that a lot of people don’t relate to the kids of divorce because they have a wrong formula in their heads. I suspect that the following formula is what most people have in the backs of their minds when they think of the live of a child of divorce:

1/2 + 1/2 = 1

The parenting was cut into two halves. Since two halves make one whole, then what’s the big deal? One-half of a parent plus one-half of a parent should equal one parent. One-half of a family plus one-half of a family should equal one family. It’s just simple arithmetic. This would also explain the “just get over it” rhetoric. People operate under a faulty equation, then assume things about the child of divorce that are untrue.

I was about twelve or so when I consciously understood that my two half-time dads did not equal one dad. I had my dad and my step-dad. If we use math to understand the dynamic, it seems like being with each of them for half-time would be the same as having one whole dad. But it was not. I am not 100% sure how I came to this realization. It may be due to the fact that I was an eye witness to what a full-time dad looked like. My step-dad was a full-time dad to my half-sister. I could see quite clearly that what she had and what I had were two different things.

apple-split-not-public-domain-give-attributionAn apple that is cut into two pieces is no longer an apple. It is two halves of an apple. The apple lost its wholeness, and it is hard to quantify that loss because the math still adds up. But there is a qualitative difference between an apple and two halves of an apple, and simple arithmetic does not capture this difference. This qualitative difference is lost in the discussion.

It does not work to use a simple math equation to quantify the reality for a child of divorce. For the child of divorce, 1/2 + 1/2 < 1.

Image credit: Frank C. Müller

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Kids of divorce are like side jobs

As I mentioned before, kids of divorce have a harder time finishing their educations than their counterparts in intact families. I hope you read the article at the link, and the comments too. Very enlightening. My own experience matches what is there.

I have read enough of the research know that researchers are missing something important. Researchers often focus on money, money, money, as if enough money will fix any problem. I’m sure that a lack of money is an issue, so don’t misunderstand me. But money doesn’t overcome one of the most basic problems, which is this:

After splitting up our first families, our parents move on with their lives.

Before the divorce, we were a joint project between the two people who brought us into the world, whose DNA we share. We were like a single, full time job shared by two managers whose lives largely converged. The two managers acted in unison for our good.

After the divorce, our managers acquire new, full time projects, and we become two separate half-time side jobs with two different managers. Rather than having their lives converge in the unified home we share with them, we live in “two homes,” and their lives become more and more divergent as time goes on.

remarriage-diagrams-both-together
Post-divorce: half-time project going in one direction while in mom’s home, then half-time project with a different direction while in dad’s home. Repeat ad infinitum.

The more I think about the project analogy, the more I like it.

The analogy should shed more light on why “two homes” is not what’s best for kids. It is confusing and it pulls us into two different directions. Our parents hate each other so much that they are willing to ignore half of who we are. Divorce judges fail at their job to recognize the injustice of being raised that way and so are complicit in perpetuating it. Practically speaking, it means that our parents are not there for us in so many ways. When they jettisoned our other parent, they jettisoned half of us.

I’m doing my best to shed light on the problem, but I’m just one person who probably comes across like she’s just too angry to take seriously most of the time. It is unfortunate that I have to be a spokesman for this cause, really, because I’m sure others could do it better if they knew what I know. Unfortunately, too few people really want to pay attention to how hard it is to live in our parents’ post-divorce, ever-increasingly divergent worlds.

Maybe we have become very hard-hearted towards unwanted and half-wanted children. Or maybe we always were. Or maybe we’ve participated in some way, feel guilt about it, and instead of alleviating the guilt through sincere repentance and rectification, we justify our actions. Or maybe it’s just very difficult to start a social movement when everybody believes that the definition of freedom means having the State annul our familial obligations at will. Or maybe when we look around, we see so many fractured families that the problem seems too overwhelming.

See also:

Ten education tips for kids of divorce

The social science is clear: kids of divorce have a harder time finishing their educations than their counterparts in intact families. Knowing this, and having lived through it, I have a few tips for anybody in that boat who wants to finish a college degree.

1) Don’t try to do it alone. The very first thing to do is to get embedded with somebody who is absolutely dedicated to helping you finish your education. This is somebody who will be there for you at every step of the process, from beginning to end. They believe in the value of an education and want to help. There are a number of ways this person can be there for you:

  • You can live with them, perhaps for free or for reduced rent as long as you’re a full time student.
  • They can help financially, either by giving you money, paying tuition, buying books, co-signing loan documents, paying rent, helping with groceries, etc.
  • They can help you decide on a major, navigate course descriptions, dealing with difficult professors, and in general help with the administrative side of getting an education.
  • They will be your cheerleader. Believe me, the emotional support that you get from a cheerleader is invaluable. Don’t discount this aspect of somebody’s help.

This person might be one of your parents, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a cousin, or even a family friend. Stop for a moment and think about it: I bet that you know right now who is dedicated to your education, and who is indifferent. Gravitate to those who are dedicated and stay in touch with them. Remember that they can’t help you if you check out for long periods of time. My best friend helped me a lot, by being a cheerleader, cooking/grocery shopping for me and even driving me to school at times. Look for that person in your life.

2) If you haven’t finished high school, look into getting your GED. I don’t have personal experience here but there are lots of programs, books, etc. Many colleges will want to see a high school diploma or GED. Here’s a Google search for finishing the GED.

3) Bachelor’s vs. vocational/trade. A bachelor’s or an associate’s is another way of saying, “liberal arts education.” Liberal here means “broad.” It is not a political term in this context. A liberal arts education provides a broad base to help you understand the world from many different angles. Have you ever wondered why you need to take so many general education courses, courses that have nothing to do with your major? It’s because the institution wants you to have a liberal arts education, a broad base of knowledge from which to draw upon as you go out into the world.

However, not everybody needs or wants this. There are vocational/trade programs that might be a good choice. For example, I know two young men who attended a welding school in Oklahoma. I also know of a free trade school for young men. I started out as a bookkeeper, which is another way of saying, “vocational accountant,” an accountant who does not have a bachelor’s degree. I did this by taking the accounting course at Universal Accounting back in 1992. This training course is extremely robust, and a great way to go for somebody who wants to be self-employed doing accounting/bookkeeping for small, private firms.

Vocational/trade schools are a legitimate option.

4) Remedial courses are your friend. I realize that taking one or more remedial courses is embarrassing, but try to look on the bright side. These courses help lay the groundwork for future learning. I took two remedial courses. The first one was as an incoming freshman when I was 18. It was an English course, and I didn’t get any regular credit for it even though it was really hard. However, I had to take it in order to be eligible for the required English courses. Then last fall, I took Intermediate Algebra at my local community college. I took this course voluntarily, even though according to my transcript I was eligible for College Algebra (which is not remedial). It had been several years since my last algebra course, and I wanted to review the concepts so that I would do well in College Algebra. I ended up taking the CLEP College Algebra and passing, in part because I prepared by taking Intermediate Algebra.

If your writing skills or arithmetic skills need work, don’t be ashamed to take remedial courses. It is probably not entirely your fault that you need them. You slipped through cracks that were not of your doing. Just take the courses and get them over with. Regardless of the number of remedial courses you take, your degree will have the exact same value as somebody else with the same degree at the same school with the same GPA who didn’t take remedial courses. Don’t let pride hold you back from advancing yourself.

5) Associate’s degrees are valuable. An associate’s degree is a two year degree. It is a worthy pursuit in its own right, or can be a stepping stone to a bachelor’s. According to this news report, people with associate’s degrees earn more money than people with bachelor’s! See? Every little bit helps. So don’t discount the value of an associate’s degree. When I got my associate’s in 2012, it was very gratifying even though it was just a stepping stone.

6) Consider a state school that caters to working adults. If you work full time and have some credits already, consider one of these state schools: Thomas Edison State University and Charter Oak State College. Both of these are non-profit, state schools. There is also a non-profit, private school called Excelsior College, and it also focuses on working adults. None of them are “degree mills.” A “degree mill” is typically a private, for-profit school that lacks regional accreditation.

7) Get help online. I found a great forum that is dedicated to helping people finish their degrees. Go here to check it out: DegreeForum.net There are a lot of people there who understand the ins and outs of finishing a degree. There’s a section for the schools I mentioned above, a section for grad school, a section for those in the military, and other sections.

8) Stay on one catalog. I found this out the hard way. When you enroll, you are on something called a catalog. This is a certain set of requirements that you have to do in order to graduate. Colleges and universities tweak these requirements every year. If you drop out then re-enroll at a later time, you lose the catalog that you were on and you go onto a new catalog. This means that there is a new set of requirements to graduate. You may have to take additional courses, and/or courses you already took might not apply to your degree anymore. Every time you drop out then re-enroll, you’ve not only lost the time in between, you may lose courses you already took. Avoid that waste. Stay on one catalog by not dropping out.

9) Take advantage of CLEP and DSST exams. These exams are fully accredited, and are accepted by many schools. For example, California State University accepts them. They are cheaper and faster than taking courses. Do as many as you can, and do them as soon as you can. For example, if you just graduated from high school and did well in math, take the CLEP math exams starting with CLEP College Mathematics and working your way up from there. Some schools don’t accept them, for example, the University of California does not accept them. But that’s OK. Your primary objective should be to finish something. The actual school is a secondary concern. See #10. Links to CLEP and DSST exams. Talk to an academic adviser to make sure these are best for you.

10) For kids of divorce, the best degree is the one you finish. It is better to finish a communications degree at a state school, than it is to pine for a mathematics degree from Harvard. You already have enough working against you–remember the social science? We are not crazy to experience it as harder, because it is harder. Pick the easiest route, that is regionally accredited (very important), then finish it with the highest GPA that you can.

Bonus tips:

11) Choose an RA school. Make sure the school you choose is RA (regionally accredited). Don’t pick a school claiming any other kind of accreditation. Choosing a regionally accredited school leaves the door open for you to attend grad school. Non-regionally accredited schools are often, though not always, degree mills, and grad schools won’t accept your degree unless it is from an RA school. I’ve also seen some job postings that specifically ask for applicants who have degrees from RA schools.

12) Disability services. If you have any kind of disability, use the disability services/accommodations at your school. Similar to #4, don’t let pride get in the way of getting the assistance you need to finish your degree. Your degree will have the same value as somebody else who did not need disability services.

I am living proof that it is never too late. I started right out of high school in 1984 and graduated in September 2016 with a degree in accounting. You can do it too! If you always wanted a degree but struggled, I hope these tips help. You deserve to pursue your dream!

Foo Fighters’ anthem for the kids of divorce

The Pretender by the Foo Fighters might make a good anthem for the kids of divorce. Not only are the lyrics great, but the imagery of the menacing cops reminds me of how in divorce, the state invades the home to destroy families without anybody doing anything wrong at the invitation of one spouse. Seriously–a spouse who doesn’t want a divorce could go to jail for resisting. Divorces are enforced by the government 100% of the time, even if you did nothing wrong. The state takes sides against legally innocent spouses in every case, by design.  And if you’re the child, doctors will drug you to get you to go to along with the re-education program of denying that your first family matters. As far as this video is concerned, we just need to add a cadre of PhDs in the background claiming that what the cops are doing is OK because they can clean up the mess after it’s all over… for a cut of the marital assets.

Lyrics available here.

 

Why did my parents reject me?

In almost all of the divorce literature, you will come across something that goes like this:

“Children of divorce often think that the divorce was their fault.”

This was not my experience. I never consciously thought that my parents divorce was my fault. So I have doubted that idea. I think, instead, that this idea doesn’t go far enough. It is an attempt to describe something, but it is inadequate.

It is not so much that the child blames himself, it is that he feels a deep sense of rejection, cannot understand the rejection, and cannot articulate it. Each parent has embraced the half of the child that represents himself or herself. But simultaneously, they have rejected the half of the child that represents the other parent. It is profoundly confusing to be simultaneously accepted and rejected. It is like living in a hall of mirrors without being told it is a hall of mirrors.

Here is a diagram I created in Word to try and explain what I see and feel.

divorce diagram of the child 20160811
The stretched life of a child, post-divorce.

I’m trying to show how the child’s life is being stretched in two directions. In a normal situation, the parents’ lives and interests are more closely bound up with the life of the child. After a divorce, the child becomes pulled in two distinct directions, and these directions become more and more distinct as time goes on. On the mother’s side, she accepts the side of the oval (the life of the child) that corresponds to her life and interests, but rejects the side of the oval (the life of the child) the corresponds to the father’s life and interests. The same is true for the father but reversed.

When parents divorce, the child spends time with each parent without the other there. The parents are saying, in effect, “I want my freedom so badly that I am willing to be apart from you for half your life.” That is rejection. Related to this is the rejection of the child’s other side of the family: in-laws become personae non gratae practically overnight. This means that the child has family that his flesh-and-blood parent no longer has. The hall of mirrors gets bigger.

I think this explains why some parents engage in “parental alienation.” They don’t want to be with the other parent, and they don’t want to be apart from their kids at all. In order to achieve this goalthey believe that they can emotionally separate the child from the other parent and that parent’s family without harming the child. Given that it is now viewed as child abuse, this is probably the strategy of somebody who is mentally or emotionally impaired.

I do not think kids of divorce are wondering, “Is the divorce my fault?” I think they are feeling a deeper question: “Why did my parents reject me and my family?” If what I’m saying is true then this means that important aspects of our culture and family law system are based on lies and need to change. For example, our notion of “freedom” currently supports kids being stretched into two halves as I’ve described here. Also, the divorce industry (and other industries that thrive on separating kids from their family trees) is founded on the idea that “kids are resilient.” This is another way of saying that it is perfectly fine to tear somebody’s life into two pieces, since:

  • They’ll just somehow “get over it”
  • They won’t care
  • They will be so thrilled with their parents’ happiness that they’ll sublimate their own
  • They are automatons who don’t have their own happiness; they only have their parents’ happiness

How is that wound healed? I still do not know, but it cannot be healed by pretending it is not there.

“Blended family” is a flawed theoretical model

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The professional class and divorce industry have failed to provide children of divorce (and other non-triad arrangements) with an accurate theoretical model to understand their emotions and the ongoing problems they face. One of the reasons they have failed to do this, I believe, is that they put their trust in inaccurate models. One of these is called “blended family.” It serves as a buttress against developing a more accurate model.

It is a very popular model, and many or perhaps even most people rely on it for guiding their expectations as to how a step-family should form and function. The idea is that when two adults are in love, their love, joy and excitement is like a magical ingredient that will make the living arrangements and emotional bonding process go smoothly between people who have no shared past, no shared family tree, and no choice in the matter (the children). As I pointed out the other day, this explains why two otherwise intelligent people were completely comfortable with meeting their new step-children, and the step-children all meeting each other, on their wedding day. They relied on a flawed model.

This theoretical model is so appealing and pervasive that when the blending process does not go well, people will say, “My blended family won’t blend.” These people are under the false assumption that a smooth “blending” process is normal, and that a non-smooth process is abnormal. It is as if they are saying, “I have all the ingredients to bake a cake, but when I try to blend the ingredients together, they won’t blend. What is wrong with the ingredients?” dough blender public domainThis question makes sense when dealing with inert ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, cocoa, etc. There is an actual chemistry involved in baking, and it is reliable–follow the recipe and you WILL get the desired result. But the “blended” model doesn’t work when applied to children and families, since they are not inert. Plus, family life should not be thought of as being in a blender, or as being subject to metal instruments that push you around so that you go in a direction somebody else wants you to go.

The normal result is to have a difficult time “blending” the family, because to even think of it that way is to embrace a flawed way to think about it. This is because:

I long for the day when we are willing to embrace an accurate theoretical model for understanding first families and the harms that come about when they are destroyed because of the sinful behavior or the adults, or fail to form properly. It seems to me that we find ourselves in this predicimate because we (meaning, secular society) no longer accept “sin” as a legitimate category.

Finding lost sheep, part 2

Yesterday I told the story of what happened between me and my ex on Saturday. This got me thinking about how I never explained to him why I sought an annulment. Given that he has expressed pain about it, it became evident that I needed to explain why I did it, so I wrote him a letter. Overall I am happy with it. My only complaint is its length–I wish I could have said the same thing with fewer words. I hope he is able to hear what I am saying without feeling triggered. It might just be tl;dr, but time will tell. This is copied and pasted from the Word document, including the graphics. I edited out identifying information.

August 9, 2016

Dear [name of ex],

At the outset here, let me state that I am very sorry for how I hurt you in the past. I did im sorry dogmany so many things wrong, and did many wrong things. I regret them all. Please forgive me. I know that you are also sorry for the things you regret. So let’s just wipe the slate clean on both sides.

Because I care for you, I thought it would be good if I explained why I sought the annulment. Before I do that, I will tell you why I did not seek it: I did not seek it because I hated you or did not love you.

I sought the annulment for a couple reasons that are very complex. Unfortunately, it will take me a number of paragraphs to explain it all. I wish I could do it more briefly, but I don’t know how. I want you to understand, but am worried. It is such a sensitive issue, and I might accidentally trigger negative emotions in you, which will make it hard to understand what I’m saying. Please bear with me as I work through this. It is not my intention to trigger any negative emotions; I just want you to understand. It can be really hard for me to express my heart, especially in written form, but I will try.

I am not blaming you for what happened, just describing what it was like for me. The annulment was not about winners and losers, so you did not “lose.” This point is very important.

First, the entire time we were together, I never really felt that we were together, really joined as a one-flesh union like the Bible talks about. There was always a blockage, like a wedge between you and me and I felt this acutely. It is why I would complain about [name of cult] and [name of cult leader]—they came between us. There were only two names on our marriage certificate, yours and mine, but it felt like there were three names, yours, mine, and [name of cult leader/name of cult]. It was a three way marriage. After 20 years I could no longer take it. There were many, many times I honestly wondered if you hated me. The wedge blocked us, because it made it impossible for me to see how much you loved me. I know now that you did love me, but at the time I could not see it clearly at all. Related to this is how I never felt that I could love you on my own terms; I had to love you on somebody else’s terms, terms that were not truly yours. I had to love [name of cult] as part of loving you. That offended me deeply and seemed profoundly wrong and unfair.

The second reason is related to the first. I wanted to be free to marry a Catholic man should I have found one, but I also wondered in the back of my mind if anything would transpire between you and I in the future. And I thought that if you and I were to ever date or enter courtship, we would need to begin with a clean slate. We would need to start a relationship on an honest foundation. This would have to exclude any influence from [name of cult], since that influence is what contributed to our marriage being poorly structured—according to Jesus Christ, a marriage cannot have three (or more) participants.

Here is an analogy. Do you remember how [name of a female cult member] has those small stones embedded in her arm after she and her scooter went down many years ago? Once I asked her about them, why she never had them removed, and she said that it would be very difficult and painful. Between the divorce and the annulment, that’s sort of like what I had to do. I had to remove a deeply embedded wedge, one that had flesh and skin grown over it and had been embedded for a long time. It was very painful for both of us, the kids too. I cried a lot. Did you? But like a painful surgery, it had to be done because the wedge between us was not part of God’s plan for marriage.

wedgeDo you remember a letter I wrote to you many years ago? I think it was sometime in the late 1990s. I said something about how hard it was to be a wife, and how I did not like being a wife. I don’t remember the other details. You kept it for a long time but do you still have it? Here is why I mention it: if you read it through the eyes of somebody who did not feel a one-flesh union with the man she was with, it may make more sense now. If I remember correctly, and it is possible that I do not since I wrote it so long ago, the letter was my expression of sadness, anger, and resignation over not having a one-flesh union. If you still have it, I would appreciate being able to read it.

I think I understand why you want me to reverse the annulment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you believe that the wedge was from God, and you believe I lied to the diocese. You thought of the wedge as glue to keep us together, right? But I don’t believe that the wedge was from God because it blocked our love for each other and it blocked our one-flesh union, and I know that’s never God’s will. Also, I didn’t lie to the diocese. I kept a copy of the testimony I submitted to them. We could set up a time to go through it together and you can show me where you believe I lied. But haven’t we hashed through the bad memories enough in the 20 years we were together? And where did all that get us? But hey, if we need to go through it again, then OK, I’m willing.

I’m not interested in “winning,” and I don’t view you as “losing.” The annulment was not about winners and losers. It was about finding the reasons that explained how I felt for 20 years, and resetting the playing field back to a point of honesty and truth. Perhaps more importantly, we only have right now, this moment. The past is done, it’s over. Wouldn’t a joyful heart is good medicineyou agree that it might be better if we just picked up from where we are now and begin a friendship anew? The kids would appreciate that so much, and it would be healthy for them to see us interacting in a positive way. And we can do that, [our eldest daughter’s] wedding is evidence. I enjoyed your company at her wedding. It was fun to all be together. Proverbs says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” The wedge is gone now, but like after a surgery there is a wound, and it needs bandages and medicine. Friendship is like medicine, since it means joy and laughter, good conversations, shared memories. We have a lot of good memories and funny inside jokes that developed over the years. You know how to make me laugh and I appreciate that. I would appreciate us setting aside the painful memories, focusing on the good memories, and creating more good memories. Wouldn’t this be very healing?

I know this is complex, and that it is a very sensitive subject. I sincerely hope I didn’t trigger any negative emotions. That’s not my intention. What do you think we can do to help our healing, and the healing of our children?

[my signature]

Finding lost sheep

I may be selling my place soon. There are a couple projects that should be done before putting it on the market. The master bedroom needs to be painted, and the kitchen and entry have vinyl on the floor. I’d like to replace it with tile. So I contacted a few local contractors to see what their prices were.

Then it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to reach out to my ex. He is very handy and can definitely do both of those things. I thought it might be a pleasant way to begin a positive dialog about a non-controversial subject. Here is what I texted him on Saturday morning:

Hi Jxxx. I hope you are doing well. I was wondering if you and [our son] would be willing to do a couple projects at my place. I have to hire somebody and I thought of you guys. I need the walls painted in my master bedroom, and also some floor tile put down in a couple different areas of my house. If you’re interested, let me know. I’ll definitely pay you guys whatever the going rate is. Thanks.

About 8.5 hours later, he responded:

Have you yet realized how you seriously f’ked up? Divorcing me was the stupidest thing anyone I’ve ever known ever did. No, I’m not going to help you with your condo. You divorced me and you annulled our marriage. Stupid. If you want to ever have a relationship with me as your ex, reverse the annulment. Send letters to the Catholic diocese and all your stupid witnesses and tell them you lied and you were wrong. Get it reversed and then I’ll talk to you. Otherwise leave me the freak alone.

Here is what I said back to him:

This is abusive. I did not lie, and you don’t get to dictate how I felt about our arranged marriage. We could still be friends, and our children deserve that. I thought we had a very nice time at [our eldest daughter’s] wedding, and hoped that perhaps that could be the start of a new and positive chapter between you and I. Your commitment to [name of cult leader] and [name of cult] is clouding your judgement.

Then I made a reference to the Matrix, a movie he loves. We watched it together many times:

You have to trust me. Why? Because you have been down there. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.

Here is the scene I was referencing. I feel very confident that he knew what I was referring to.

He did not respond.

I have thought for a long time that he has Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ll go into those details in a future blog. The short version is that people with BPD can get flooded with emotions which they cannot manage. The emotions are so strong that they cannot use their brains for higher order thinking skills. Without realizing it at the time, I now see that I triggered him, because what he said was highly emotional and did not make any sense:

  • He is not Catholic and so in a very practical way, the annulment does not effect him.
  • He is engaged to marry another woman. If he believes that God still views us as married, then he’s admitting that he is in a state of adultery.
  • The annulment was finished almost three years ago.
  • He fought the annulment, and at the same time was dating a woman and engaging in sex with her.
  • He actually DID lie to the diocese and I provided proof of it.

I called my cousin the next day and told her about the text messages. She said that she thinks he still loves me. I said, “Well, maybe, but he’s trying to catch flies with vinegar.” She pointed out that sometimes there is a fine line between love and hate.

Maybe he does still love me, but I take his nonsensical reasoning as evidence for BPD. I’ve wondered about his BPD for about five years, but I just didn’t want to face it. But that text exchange is a great example of what I had to deal with on a nearly-daily basis for 20 years–nonsensical reasoning created by emotional flooding from a man with an undiagnosed personality disorder who believes that a narcissistic cult leader is his guru. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Even reading that makes me feel so dumb for being so gullible.  

Later, I realized that pretty much anytime we communicate anymore (which is rare), he mentions the annulment and how much it hurt him. I’ve never actually explained to him why I did it, so I decided to write him a letter. As I worked on it, I came across the Gospel reading for the day (Aug. 9), which includes these words of Jesus from Matthew 18:

What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.

This really inspired me. He is the father of my children. Rightly or wrongly, I believe that I have a duty to him because of my duty to them. He is half of who they are, and I won’t pretend otherwise even though I often wish I could. So I collected my thoughts, prayed a lot, asked others to pray with me, and wrote him a letter explaining why I sought the annulment. It went into the mail yesterday (Wed.).

Did anybody warn her that she might marry somebody who would hate her children?

In a few days I may write about how divorce needs a warning label. I also want to discuss the parallels I see between the divorce industry and the tobacco industry. In the mean time, remember when I said before how step-parents sometimes hate their step-children? I ran across this video from Dr. Phil’s show. I guarantee you that nobody in the professional class warned this woman that she was running this risk.

Starting at 1:26, Dr. Phil asks the step-dad: “How do you hate children?”

Step-dad: “Wow, that’s a good question. I don’t know if was so much that I… I did hate them, yea, I’m not gonna lie. I did not want to be around them…”

Then he offers excuses as to why he hated them. It’s their fault, of course. It couldn’t be him causing any of the problems, nor could it be their remarriage and the chaos it brought to the kids’ lives.

And get this: the kids all met each other and their new step-parent for the very first time on the wedding day.

On.

The.

Wedding.

Day.

This blows my mind. However, it is evidence for my claim that we view kids like gears in a car:

It is as if we think of [adopted] children like gears in a car… first gear = first family. Push in the clutch (destroy first family by refusing to help them stay together), push the lever into second gear (insert adoptive family) and voila! Everything will be great because “love makes a family” and “biology doesn’t matter.”

Adoptees are saying, “No!” And I get that, because I think something similar happens to kids of divorce. First gear = first family. Push in the clutch (destroy first family through divorce), push the lever into second gear (insert step-family) and voila! Everything will be great because “love makes a family” and “biology doesn’t matter.”

Be sure to notice how there is zero mention of kids’ other parents… they are personae non gratae. They must be personae non gratae, in order to prop up the lie that the first family doesn’t matter anymore. The only family that matters in popular culture today is the one based on adults’ sexual choices. If or when those choices change, then the family changes with it… like gears in a car.

I bet none of the divorce professionals warned this mom of the risk she was running, nor did any of them tell any of the kids that their new step-parent might hate them.

Testimonial: my husband’s parents are divorcing

I received this as a comment on my blog. It was in response to one of my posts about how there is a cultural obsession with happy endings and how this clouds our thinking about what divorce does to the next generation over the long term:

Thank you for writing this. My in-laws are going through a divorce right now, and a lot of this mirrors what my husband is going through. While my MIL is very apologetic, my FIL refuses to acknowledge that this is doing anything to their children. “You’re an adult, this shouldn’t affect you.”- his actual words to my husband as the world was ripped out from under him. Meanwhile he surprises us all by bringing his new -to-us but year-long girlfriend to a large family function without telling his children that he HAD a girlfriend in the first place, and insists they should all be adult about it.

We DO have a cultural obsession with happy endings. Cultural pressure to accept that divorce is “for the better”. It’s all a lie. And it all comes from the father of lies himself. It’s horrible, it’s untrue, and it’s disgusting. I don’t know what’s worse- widespread divorce, or the lies that go along with it.

Divorcing parents are utterly clueless as to how offensive it can be when they bring a new love-interest into the picture. However, their cluelessness is not entirely their fault. As I have said elsewhere, the professional class–the group of people who SHOULD know better, who CLAIM to know better–lies all the time about the harms of divorce. Related to this, is how they have failed to provide an accurate theoretical framework for kids of divorce to understand their emotions and the ongoing struggles they face.