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My parents divorce still affecting me

(16 Posts)
meandtwolittleboys Sat 07-Nov-09 21:21:45

My parents split when I was 21 and I thought I had got over it until I had my own kids. Now more than ever I feel like I miss them together so much and this is made worse by the fact that I barely have a relationship with either of them now they have their own lives with new partners and live many miles away.

Its wierd, but I really feel like I am bereaving their loss, even though they haven't died yet. I have tried to form better relationships with both my mum and dad, but it is prooving pointless as it just upsets me more. My dad's partner is so controlling I have only seen him on his own for 2 hours and that was 13 years ago.

I feel I have to cope with rather than change my situation and want to get some form of counselling, but its all way beyond my budget. Any suggestions, or anyone had similar experience?

duke748 Sat 07-Nov-09 21:29:43

I probably haven't got any constructive advice as I haven't been in a similar situation.

However i wanted to say that just because your parent split when you were an adult doesn't mean that you can't be affected by it. However, I think you would be OK if they were split but both still made time for you. ITs the not having the close relationship with either of them that is affecting you.

But this is something that could maybe be improved. They might be caught up in their new relationships and think you are the same and not realise that you want to have more of a relationship with them. Have you told them this?

You can have a good relationship with each of them, just not as you thought it would be when they were still together.

I think its common to feel a sense of being let down when parents split when you are older as you assumed that they would always be together.

You can't do anything about them being together or not. But you can do something about trying to improve your relationship with each of them seperately.

Can you talk to them both and tell them how you feel and what you would like from them?

If that isn't working, then maybe just try to expect less from them? This is what I have had to do. Its sad, but by doing this the constant feeling of being let down has gone and I have some level of peace.

I wish you well in working through this. x

Beccles Sat 07-Nov-09 21:33:30

Message withdrawn

choosyfloosy Sat 07-Nov-09 21:37:44

My parents split when I was 23. It does do very strange things to you. I think the outcome has been very hard on you by the sound of it. It is really hard to imagine as parents that we could ever let partners come between us and our children at any age - sadly it does happen, you can see it on threads here from time to time.

NHS counselling can be very good. You will probably have to wait a while (can be as much as a year round here BUT not always, it depends) but better to wait and have some help than have none at all? Your GP would be the person to ask.

I have also had counselling via work before, if you have a paid job at the mo.

I wish you all the best and that you can find the strength to keep trying, if that's the best thing for you.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit Sat 07-Nov-09 22:00:32

My parents split up about 15 years ago and it still affects me. I wish I had a mum and dad who are together. They were good together and I feel I an my LO's miss out on their not being together now.

It is a bereavement, the loss of your family. The loss of your family home, security etc.

I think you do have to deal with the situation as it is. I have had NHS counselling before and via work and it did help.

I have had to keep the communication open especially with my Dad. My mum is remarried and does keep in regular contact. I have had to get used to her new partner.

I feel a lot better about it at the moment but have gone over and over everything alot myself and with other people to get my head round it over the years.

meandtwolittleboys Sat 07-Nov-09 22:12:14

Thanks for your encouraging messages. Duke 748, you are right, there is always hope I can have relationships with them again. Yet like you say, when you are constantly let down, it feels like the best thing to do is give up hoping for my dad to be a good dad to me, for example, like he once was. Its like a rollercoaster of emotions, where something gets my hopes up, then as quick as it happened, I am dropped like a lead balloon (I know this is because I don't fit in to his life anymore, but I guess its too hard to accept). Reading your words, expect less, instantly made me feel a bit more at peace, so I guess I am going to give that a go.

ChoosyFloosy, did you try NHS counselling? Does it go on your medical record and could this affect me in the future for any reason? Bit worried about that, as I'd feel like a nutter going to my GP - just as its not a medical condition but an ongoing emotional thing?

Beccles, hope the grief doesn't last too long for you. I thought I was over my parents, but then a decade later its caught me up again. Guess it all depends on how your parents choose to act from this point onwards... if they start speaking to one another, acknowledge that they are still your parents and if they put you before or equal to their new partners, their new partners children and grandchildren. If their new partners are nice, then it will help a lot. If they are not, then bad feelings seem to be constantly renewed.

duke748 Sat 07-Nov-09 22:22:28

Just regarding going to your GP - I also got help from NHS regarding family issues. It helped me make some really important decisions. Sadly it took a suicide attempt to get me to the top of the queue.

Anyway.... part of my job involves sorting out life insurance for people. The insurance companies find out if any depression was to do with 'external factors' and take this into consideration. Seeing as you are not even this far, I really wouldn't worry about it. I don't know what other reprocussions you would worry about?

The sooner you get yourself on a list, the sooner you can speak to someone about it and get things a bit more settled in your own head.


meandtwolittleboys Sat 07-Nov-09 22:23:56

Halfmumhalf biscuit, thanks as makes me feel better someone else still affected after so long too.
I feel like I need to get a grip, as I am a mum now and that's what matters and I am 34 and should be able to cope with whatever life throws at me now (and I generally do) but I guess I never really dealt with the whole family loss thing properly. To make matters worse, my brother is emigrating to Oz this xmas, partly his way of dealing with having no family. I get on well with him, but live several hours away, so only ever saw him 3 or 4 times a year. But that felt good and now it can be no longer, which I am gutted about.

meandtwolittleboys Sat 07-Nov-09 22:36:01

Duke748, yes it was the insurance type of thing which worried me about going to the doctors and also that they won't take me seriously, as I wouldn't say I am depressed, suicidal or need anti-depressants, which i am thankful for, and therefore realise there will be others who need NHS counselling more than me. However, I feel I need someone to help me sort out all the shit I am carrying around in my small head and am also aware that if its not dealt with, but cast aside, then one day, if other hard times come my way, I might be a bit worse off coping wise.

duke748 Sat 07-Nov-09 22:53:55

You are entitled to help, as much as anyone else and it shouldn't affect you in regards to insurance stuff. Get yourself on the list.

I found it quite interesting in that they didn't focus on reliving the past (which was very painful) but focused on how it made me feel and what I could do to make things better for myself. I found it very helpful, but in a way I didn't expect.

Beccles Sun 08-Nov-09 11:18:53

Message withdrawn

Anniegetyourgun Sun 08-Nov-09 11:30:11

Now this thread is interesting, looking at the number of times people have come on here for advice about splitting up and being told that children are happier with two separated parents than two parents who don't want to be with each other. As a divorced parent myself I do believe that, though as my parents, and XH's, were married to the end of their days I can't compare what it feels like from the child's point of view. But this thread shows the other side of the coin.

It could be because the parents of the posters here worked hard not to let any differences between them impact on the children. Therefore you would be mourning a family life that was real and nice, but which the parents couldn't sustain once they didn't have to hold it together for their children. After all, if they were "good together" in other ways they would not have split up. And although they never stop being your parents, I'm sure you would not expect them to put the rest of their lives on hold once they'd done the important job of seeing you through to adulthood. Indeed none of the posters on this thread reads as selfish, but it is understandable to grieve.

So what do we divorced parents do to help our children come to terms with our divorce, at ANY age? Counselling is good, of course, and I'd encourage mine to do that if it helps, but I would hate to feel I'd driven them to it, as it were.

allok Sun 08-Nov-09 15:30:57

Mean my parents divorced when was 22. as an only child they got me way way too involved and I feel the affects of that now.

However, it was 22 years of a hard slog and almost 20 years on after the divorce I feel I wish they'd divorced earlier (annie take note) BUT I came to terms with the fact my mum was an abandoned woman in a culture that doesn't recognise divorce and so I had to support her and my dad had a baby very late in life and almost cut me off.

This I came to terms with quickly.

I made an effort with baby sister (due to 25 year age gap thought of myself as an aunt rather than sis) - she's 16 years old now - a complete spoilt bitch who hates our dad and hence me and my ds and I've kind of let go of that one. I didn't ask for it but I made a big effort for her sake but if she's now not interested - well, yeah, whatever.

Dealt with ALL of this -but with the arrival of my OWN ds I feel bereved more now than ever - with time issues I loathe having to spend twice the time getting my ds see his gps - my little sis doesn't even recognise her nephew - my ds - and my dad is so torn but has a hell of a teenager on his hands cannot see my ds as much as he'd like.

I am jealous that my ds has her complete family that she doesn't appreciate and my ds doesn't. It IS a loss whatever your age - but I think that when dcs come along you feel the stress more. Without even saying, my ds understands that my dmum now has a partner and NEVER says anything about her to my dad. And he never says anyting to my mum about my dad and I SWEAR to god I've never said a thing to ds about my family situation. I hate what he's already picked up on. DS shouldn't be that diplomatic at 3 years old.

No answers but I feel for you. Complicated families are, erm, complicated. Also you want to give your kids a bit of your history and it's hard when your parents aren't there for you but around.

No solutions here but some of my experiences.

ilovetochat Sun 08-Nov-09 15:41:21

my parents divorced when i was 18, they waited till iwas grown up and finished school but hadnt oved each other for years.
thatmade it hard on me, to accept they were togther just for me and unhappy because of me and also i had to start work with new people in a very unhappy time in my life.
i wish they had divorced sooner, not when i was a tiny child and needed them but definitely much sooner, they could have both been happier.
now i get on with my stepdad great and my dad is single again but involves me far too mush in his lovelife which as a daughter i dont want.
my main probelm is my parents wont attend the same events so i have to choose at every event which 1 to invite, including dds birthdays christmas and even her christening.
as a mother that hurts a lot, they made my life hard and now are affecting dds too.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit Sun 08-Nov-09 18:39:28

anniegetyourgun you make a good point there.

My family life was brilliant and it is this that I miss. My childhood was utterly lovely. 2 loving parents and siblings. We had no idea that my mum was unhappy and that she wanted to leave. She waited until we were older teenagers to leave. My Dad is still convinced that some of her friends persuaded her to leave without giving counselling etc a chance. They never rowed and we never experienced any of the nastiness that goes on in some divorces. This is probably why in my head my old family life is very rose tinted.

choosyfloosy Mon 09-Nov-09 06:28:51

anniegetyourgun - i was responding to the poster and my post was not the whole story by any means!

I did not have counselling purely as a result of my parents splitting up, but as a result of divorcing myself... however, I do believe that marrying the wrong person in a rush was partly rooted in my parents splitting up. I don't blame them at all for this, I was an adult. It is good to be honest and say that such a big change in a family is bound to have effects which it may be useful to talk about - but counselling is not right for everyone.

I would say in my case that my parents splitting up was in some ways a relief as they had seemed so unhappy together for so long - life actually made more sense when they were no longer together. That's not the case for the OP though, clearly.

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