Spoiled Children of Divorce


Lisa Marie Presley Talks About Her Parents’ Divorce

Yay for today’s USA Weekend Magazine issue (Aug. 10-12-2012)!  In an article meant to salute the 35th Anniversary of her Father’s death, the magazine interviewed his only child.  Author Alanna Nash asked the Divorce question!

From page 10:

Her childhood after her parents divorced:  “In Memphis, my father let me run wild.  I’d be up all hours of the night and eat french fries and chocolate cake fro breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Then I’d go home to Beverly Hills to a very regimented mother and have a normal schedule.  It was very confusing.”

Lisa Marie was born in 1968.  Her parents divorced in 1972 so she would have been around 4 years old at the time.  Her Father died from his drug addiction in 1977 when he was 42 years old.  Lisa Marie would have been 9 years old.  It looks like the Nodal Axis and the Asteroids would be a big trigger and influence in her life cycles.  Natal North Node is in Aries squaring natal Venus in Capricorn.

Lisa Marie has been married four times and has two children from her first husband and twins from her fourth and current husband.  She remains close with her first husband who lives in the guest house of her home and home schools their children.



Death vs. Divorce
February 6, 2012, 12:17 am
Filed under: Abandonment, Adolescence, Authority, Blame, Death of a Parent, Denial, Guilt, Leaving the "Nest"

Which is worse? Death of a parent?  Or Divorce?  The experts have said that the latter is, but the psych community is working hard to say that’s not true.  So, some courts mandate parenting classes and we’re all hoping that kids these days aren’t going through what we went through.

There’s a book published by the Hospice Foundation of America called Living with Grief: Children and Adolescents (edited by Kenneth J. Doka and Amy S. Tucci).  The parts I’ve read are really excellent, as is probably everything that Hospice does. It’s a thick book.  There are 420 pages in here.  This is obviously a very well researched subject. Growing up in Divorce is not.  You can’t talk about how screwed up the kid is when both parents are still alive I guess.

I went through both of these experiences, Death and Divorce, and I have to say that both were bad, but the problems associated with the Divorce were far worse.  I suppose one of the big differences is the sense that Choice is involved.  There is no choice with Death.  It is decided for you by a higher sense of life.  There is always the feeling that Choice is involved in Divorce.  So, if it turns out that the Divorce causes pain, then it seems to be a form of abuse that the parent inflicts on the child.  In probably most Divorce there is the sense that not only is the pain extreme, but that it never ends.  With each family function the old crap comes up.  With each adult relationship the old crap comes up.  I suspect that it is very helpful experience for raising your own children while going through a divorce because you already know what kills them the most.

Maybe things have changed during the last 5 years or so, but during my first therapy sessions years ago I was told that Divorce is a lot like Death.  It’s loss.  You grieve it and then you move on.  I never understood what they were talking about.  I hadn’t lost either of my parents.  I was attached to them like a ball and chain and was reminded of that a lot.

Then during my last therapy sessions about 6 years ago I was told that growing up in Divorce has nothing to do with anything an adult experiences later on in life.  The Psychiatrist warned me that she herself was divorced and a single Mother and that we probably wouldn’t do the talkie talk.  She sent me to someone who worked with angry teenage kids.  I was in my early 40s.  This person treated me with a barrage  of  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in which everything I said was argued with in order to show me how illogical all of my thinking was.  I believe this technique is called “Reframing” but may be misinformed about that.  Kids from split families spend most of their home life doing reframing.  At any rate,  the therapist went on a 3 week vacation and I noticed how my anxiety levels had abated.  So I quit therapy for good.  I’m not any better but at least I don’t have to reframe my life into a lie each week.

So, I picked up this hospice book on grieving in order to see how the nice people care for the young. The only decent therapy I ever had was the grief group I went to after my parents died (run by a religious person, not a therapist) and browsed through it and noticed that I don’t think that grieving a parent through death is much at all like grieving the loss which comes from divorce.

Maybe this is obvious to everyone out there.  I’m just going to chat my way through some of what I read.  I am hoping for more definitions and maybe some clarifications.  (Mostly this post has become way too long.)

On page 146 of Living With Grief, there’s a section called “How can I help a child build skills to cope with the death?”  Coping seems to be the only thing that any parent going through a divorce has asked me about.  How can I help get the kids through this so they won’t be totally screwed up?  Then they describe how screwed up the ex- is, that they are BiPolar but on meds so couldn’t possibly still have a problem, and I can’t say another word.

That only happens occasionally, most parents purse their lips and change the subject.  Usually this reminds them to start talking about themselves.  They aren’t’ going to revisit that awful time of their lives.  Life is too short.

Anyhow, coping skills are always a great place to start with learning how to deal with any change in life.  You can’t argue with that.  So, how to cope with Death while in childhood?  Can we use techniques and insights thusly gained to learn how cope with Divorce during childhood?

The book says that Death is about permanent Loss.  A grieving child will never see that parent again.  How to help the child cope?

Divorce, as I said before is not permanent loss of a person.  Divorce is weird in this way because you never know if the child will ever see one of the parents again.  Parents come.  And Parents Go.  It’s not part of the plan, but after 20 or 30 years that’s what one will observe through hindsight.

Parents going through divorce are sometimes escaping wildly damaging marriages.  most often they are escaping boredom.  How do we lump these two sets of family types into one category of reaction?  We don’t.   What we seem to do is to ignore how different the situations are.

Divorce can be said to be permanent loss, but permanent loss of what? One or both parents may emotionally cave and decide that parenting isn’t for them.  A relative may take over.  Or both parents may fight over custody for the child during the rest of the child’s childhood.  Or, most often, one parent will recede and even disappear from the child’s life.  Both parents may stick around and work with each other and share the child back and forth weekly.  I say, if you think that your shared dog can not stand this much change in habit then how can your child handle it but what do I know?

Each situation will differ.  There’s so much to lose here, and yet, nothing really is lost.  The parent who disappears may reappear later on in the child’s life. This is a completely different emotional trauma from the initial divorce but brings all the feelings of betrayal, abandonment, rejection and mistrust straight to the fore.

The child of divorce has to completely separate his life between being a child of a marriage and being a child of two different people.  There is a huge difference there.  That’s a mighty big mental task for such a little person. Actually, it’s probably more difficult for a teenager or an adult because they will have experienced the parents as a single unit, such as it was.  The teenager will probably internalize the fears with a level of anger that will be confused with teenage angst and might never be able to break free from them.  A teenager whose parent has just died will at least have neighbors visiting for a couple of days who are wishing him well.  I can’t go beyond understanding anything else in that situation.

Then, there is the parental dating.  And then there are the parental remarriages.  The parent may have a whole new family in which he/she hasn’t made the same mistakes.  That’s great, but where does it leave the rejected child from the previous marriage?  I think I mentioned before about listening to the famous writer speak about being the child from the second marriage.  In public, in front of an adoring audience, she taunted and belittled her half siblings for not being able to drop their old wounds after all these years.  That’s sensible in a way, especially if you aren’t the one who endured your entire childhood in the rejected, poverty stricken 1st family.

These ideas might never occur to a person from an intact family, but they are probably in the back of the mind of the child who has to deal with such situations.  Maybe not.  We’ll never know.  Children of Divorce are a silent, practical crowd.

There certainly is loss of stability in home life.  Divorce tosses the child around from house to house.  From date night to date night.  Scheduling nightmare.  Lost keys.  Little suitcases printed with dinosaurs.  Sleeping in guest rooms.  The child will develop a defense with the outside world in making things look okay.  May act out in order to expose their feelings to the outside world which refuses to look. The child is either stoic and wants to appear as if there is a stable home, or that he doesn’t care that there isn’t, or that it’s fun to visit Mom in rehab.  When you visit Mom in rehab you know something that the other kids at school don’t know.  Children are mostly happy.  Childhood is mostly about play.  There is a natural coping within most humans, especially in children.  Usually the child who is better at avoidance and denial will succeed through this part of his life.  He will learn to be loveable.  The child will still have a home, but maybe he will have a lesser home.  He can’t complain because you can’t complain if your life depends on it.  Hell, some children will have two homes and will be called spoiled for that amazing experience.

There is loss of finances and loss of social standing.   Single Mothers are shunned by married women who don’t want to worry about having their husbands stolen.  This is true if through death or through divorce so there is a similarity here between the two versions of Loss.  They may be considered needy by the neighbors and friends.  They usually don’t make as much money as men and work at jobs that are unrewarding.  So they struggle with self esteem in the way that most Mothers from Intact families do.  Single Fathers, when sober, are generally embraced by neighbors, etc.  their wages are higher, often they have higher self esteem because they have rewarding social life.  Today they have custody of their kids more often.  Sometimes they do this because it’s cheaper than paying Child Support.   I think that’s a great thing especially when there’s no step-mother anxiety.

With all this exposure to parents who celebrate how much Choice they have, Children of Divorce have much more freedom that Children from Intact families do.  They can do a lot of stuff at home and no one will question it.  They have a lot more privacy as well because no one is paying quite as much attention.

There might be loss of a sibling if that sibling goes to live with the other parent.  Often the siblings become closer as a way of maintaining some semblance of real family.  Often this can fall apart later on in life when dealing with death of the parents.

Children of Divorce tend to have much more intimate relationships with their parents.  They have to be confidantes.  They have to help with housework and shopping.  Then there may be loss of privacy and intimacy if the parent remarries without letting the child adapt to the new strangers he/she will be living with.   The child knows he/she doesn’t come first, or even second.

There is loss of childhood as a child is witness to all sorts of adult issues.  I remember reading somewhere about a study (I mentioned it somewhere on this blog) about how people tend to take their first marriage seriously, and after that they are much more concerned with finding people who they share similar tastes in pleasure activities with.  So maybe this means that they will play with the children more.  Or maybe it is just intrusion into the child’s secret, magical world of play.

There may be loss of friends.  The child may become a burden on the neighbors or friends’ families who try to take him in.  The child may become withdrawn and isolated.  Or the child may just stay out with his friends late at night, or by himself.

There might not be as much food in the refrigerator.  And there might not be someone at home to cook it.  That’s a loss. This would occur with death as well.  There is definitely a need for study of nutrition in this regard. Food can become a big part of Loss in a family.  There is no grief ritual about bringing food to a divorced parent.

I suppose that Divorce is more like a backward version of Death.  In most cases, you appear diseased to the outside world after the event, rather than before it.

I remember reading a story in Stephanie Stall’s book The Love They Lost about a boy who felt that he didn’t suffer as much from the divorce because his Mother was determined to keep the family (sans dad) together by maintaining meal time every night.  It so happened he would have been going through his first progressed Lunar Opposition.  Moon  represents Mother and Food and Eating so I suppose that this was a great way to help a child of that level of age development in particular.   He was getting what he needed at the time so he held no deep resentments.  It would be good for him to try to protect himself from some sort of unconscious backlash during his progressed Lunar Returns either way.

The book says that a hard part of the  Grief process is dealing with Loss of Control over events in life. Obviously children who naturally need to be in control will struggle more than those who go with the flow.  So, I suppose that it’s important to look for particular personality needs of each individual child.  Little control freaks may grow up to be super control freaks.  Or they just may not be able to handle taking risks later on at all.

Death, unless caused by murder, is nobody’s fault, of course.  In Divorce, blame shoots out all over the place.  Divorce is the parents’ fault and they must learn to live with this.  If they don’t, of course, they will blame each other and the kids.  Children going through 1st Saturn Return Cycle transits will probably internalize this stuff more.  Perhaps also children going through Venus Return transits as well.

With divorce there is also loss of control over the actual event but probably it is felt just as much over people and relationships.  If you learn nothing else from divorce you learn that you have no idea what is really going on in someone else’s mind.  From the kids’ point of view,  there might be a strong desire to get the parents back together by acting out.  This is natural.

The child can try to separate a parent from a step-parent by acting out and manipulating.  This will happen to the child who has lost a parent.  Children of Divorce often have twice as many parental units going at the same time which makes for a more complicated situation.  And, of course, step-parents will often do their share of acting out.  For some reason, the divorced parent never seems to be the reactive one in these relationships which is something that I can’t figure an explanation for.  And that’s definitely another story.  And, of course, all the blame is put on the child eventually, especially in the teenage years.  The parents, those of the Second and Third Marriages who are seeking pleasure in relationships rather than sacrifice (serious stuff and no fun at all), are stuck in their own teenage years will project this on to the child.

I don’t understand how remarried parents stand back from this and watch their child writhing in emotional pain without ever seeking an explanation.  Just let the kid ride it out.  Often, I suspect, all it would take would be a couple of honest comments such as, “I’m sorry.” and “I’m trying to include you in my quest for the perfect life and I guess I misjudged how you would feel about that.”  and “I hope to work with your other bio parent in order to lessen the stress which has been caused for you.”   But, parental guilt and authoritarian impatience is an amazing thing, especially when it is so bound up with one’s love life and own selfish needs.

The Hospice book on grief  talks about Intervention.  It says that no children will suffer from therapy or intervention in trying to deal with loss from death.I believe that the Hospice grief counseling I received was either free or inexpensive.  Therapy for divorce is freakishly expensive and, in my experience, hurts.  And, if you can’t express yourself then you must not be feeling anything.  You will simply have more deja vu experiences in relationships when you are older than your peers.  “I feel like I’ve been through this before….”

In grief counseling, according to the book, it is probably best to try to focus on “At Risk children”.  There is discussion about how some children will react immediately and some won’t react for years. So determining who is At Risk is difficult.

I’m not sure if therapists try to determine which children might be more At Risk than others in Divorces.  By the time a kid seeks help it’s probably too late anyway.  The Astrology seems to show clearly how a child might be at risk.  If you divorce during your child’s first prog. Moon and Saturn squares and oppositions you are putting that child at high risk.  Moon and Saturn directly affect the parenting and home life expression from the child’s point of view.  You can make up by making sure that the child receives some semblance of what these planets rule, such as the case about the boy whose Mother insisted on maintaining mealtime.  Moon and Saturn can lapse into depression and emotional problems and deep insecurities about how to deal with failure and success.  If you divorce during the Jupiter transit cycles the child may act out and then seem okay.  Jupiter is the planet of optimism and expansion.  He’s sort of the connector energy between the playfulness of childhood and the optimistic adult who looks forward to what’s next.  On the flip side, Jupiter internalizes anxiety like nobody’s business.  It will put up a convincing facade.  It will express by overdoing or having unrealistic expectations.

In the end, maybe Linguistics is the best way to determine how a child will react to a divorce.  How can a 3 year old who is exposed to Daddy’s jealous girlfriend, truly focus on this issue until she is much older and has been through a few divorces herself? How does she find the words to express how she felt when Step-Mom did her first catty put down?  How does a teenager who is exposed to a Father’s rejection because he’s got a new family, how does that teenager absorb that into the self esteem issues that teenagers are going through both physically and socially?  Perhaps there is a way to understand how a 3 year old with a 3 year old’s understanding of relationships and limited vocabulary be able to process what its parents are doing.  Maybe there is a way to calculate vocabulary and grammar skills of the 3 year old and balance with vocabulary and grammar skills, along with life experience of the 32 year old parent along with the levels of the 25 year old jealous girlfriend and come up with a sum of what exactly is going on in the child’s head and to understand typical emotional fallout for such trauma.  Ridiculous?  I agree.

At any rate, grief therapists say to let the child know that the death is not his fault. This is a strong component in divorce therapy as well.  I’ve personally found that it may only apply to a very limited amount of children.  The 2 year old who seem to really need to hear it (they are just finishing up returns of planets Mars and Venus who are responsible for relationships matters).  Older children will probably side with one parent and blame the other parent.  He or she will know who is shirking responsibility.  Won’t understand the whole story behind everything, but will know where someone is messing up.  Teenagers are critical of their parents.  It’s part of the individuation process.  Where does all this extra blame stuff have a place to go then?

Blame and Guilt is such a big and obvious problem in Divorce families and Step-Families that I’m not even going to go there with that idea.  Parents will in the end blame the kids if the kids cause problems.

The grief book says that helping a child to maintain self esteem after a death is important.  At this point interactions with family members can be negative because everyone is going through the loss.  Parenting can be harsh for a while.  Counselors are advised to deal with this issue through the technique of “re-framing.”  You say things like “Things may be bad now, but they will get better.”  Haha.  Again, I don’t think that this will work for divorce.  Kids going through Divorce are doing pretty much nothing but “Reframing.”  Look at things from Mommy’s point of view.  Look at things from Daddy’s point of view.  Grandma?  GrandPa?  Older brother?  Little sister?  Reframe.  Reframe.  Reframe. Everyone is seeing things from a completely different perspective.  Most are looking at their lives from angles that they themselves have never looked at them before.  We just have to get through this adjustment period where we’re all in shock.  Are we all happy now?

Tell that to a kid who has to cope with a depressed mother who is committing suicide everything 3 months.  Parental suicide is a huge second rejection for the child who realizes that he’s not worth sticking around for.

Divorce for most children of divorce is all about turning 18 and getting out of the house.  Many of the children of divorce just want to have simple lives.  Love for many of them is an extremely complex neurological overload.  They know that Love isn’t permanent.  Their parents don’t love each other.  Their parents could stop loving them at any moment.  They might do things to test the parents in that case.  Probably they don’t.  They may need more reassurance.  They may become obnoxious if given too much reassurance because most humans do.  Often they have to think of their parents’ love on very flexible terms.  Their status within family will have to change over and over again with each new relationship the parents get in to.   This last one is similar to children who have lost a parent from death.  But, those children will still have only one family unit.

In divorce,  often the parents use their kids.  Actually this seems to be addressed by most experts.  But, who in divorce can afford to seek the advice of experts?  A single parent, though, is going to end up using the child as a substitute friend, shrink, housecleaner, cook, parent, etc.  Kids will play along.  Actually, if they sense that this is play maybe it really won’t hurt them as much.  Breaking away from these relationships is extremely difficult for young adults.  Because of the divorce it is often handled the same way as the divorce was.  The removal will be more like a cold hearted rejection that involves guilt and worry rather than opportunity to move out and into one’s own life.

Kids might be aware that their friends’ lives are a bit easier or simpler.   Everything is chaotic and or becomes a scheduling nightmare.  Divorce home life is simply not as easy as their friends’.  Probably the odd behavior is a good thing.  A life lesson on how to cope.

Children of Divorce might benefit, however, by having a very close and intimate relationship with a parent.  This may or may not be healthy, but is generally considered unhealthy by outsiders.

The grief book discusses briefly how children in various stages of Child Development react to death.  Most of the research is from the 1990s.  According to researchers Speece and Brent, whoever they are, there are 4 components to understanding grief:

Universality:  The idea that death is inevitable and happens to everyone.

Nonfunctionality:  The idea that all life functions cease at death.

Irreversibility:  The idea that when things die they do not come back to life.

Causality:  Ability to understand objective and biological causes.

Looking at this one can easily see how different Divorce is from Death.

The authors say that young children understand Universality and Causality.  Interesting that Nonfunctionality isnt’ part of the deal, but perhaps children have a naturally religious point of view.  Maybe I wrote down the notes wrong.

But in terms of applying this Grief therapy to a Divorce situation it really shows some interesting stuff.  Most of these show that children are concerned with the physical understanding of Death.  How the body works and why the person isn’t there anymore.  Universality and Causality have nothing to do with dealing with Loss through Divorce because nobody dies.  Nonfunctionality can be argued by anyone who believes in reincarnation which supposedly children are very good at understanding.  (Ian Stevenson’s research).

The big one that I suppose Children of Divorce have to deal with is Irreversality.  Some kids have known all along that their parents should get divorced so they don’t spend the next 5 years hoping their parents will get back together.  But many live with the hope that the parents will get back together again.  Usually the parent who gets dumped is living with this wish as well.  I knew someone whose parents divorced and remarried three times so sometimes this is based in reality.  I remember asking my Father to come back and being shocked that he just simply said No.  He left overnight and that was that.  (He had been having an affair for a while though so he had known what was coming on, if anyone ever knows that type of thing for sure).  His parents had divorced when he was a teenager but had gotten back together again.  He said that life was a lot better during the time when they were separated.

So death of relationships is nothing like death of the physical body.   At any rate, one can see how different it is to not look at loss through Divorce in terms of grief therapy having to do with death.

According to this research, younger children are more likely to feel watched by deceased parents.  They are also more expressive than older children with their feelings of grief.

Older children are more likely to talk to their friends about death.  I wonder how this works out with Children of Divorce.  I personally remember not being able to talk about the Divorce.  I remember some kids telling me how it was without asking.  Each child is going to experience this on a personal level.

The book also discusses gender differences in how children react to loss from death.  This seems very different from how they react in divorce just from my own personal observation.  Girls who grieve death are said to have social and relationship anxiety and boys are said to Act out.  In divorce I wonder if these roles aren’t divorced more often.  I think that the girls might act out more.  One would hope that this is a boon for the feminist movement, but I sort of think it happens most often because of competition and control issues with female parents, both biological mother and step-mothers.  Boys in divorce are definitely more inward and sensitive thinking.  I’ve always thought that was a good thing because I like thoughtful men.  But, that’s probably why their suicide rates are so high.  They compare themselves with other boys who are encouraged to be aggressive and self centered.  They may feel that they have to fill in for their Father’s absence and take care of the women in the family.   I suspect it makes them more desirable with authority figures, but may hurt in their ability for leadership roles as they don’t project strong authority stances.

Wow, this turned out a lot longer than it should be.



Biutiful

After I watched the movie Biutiful last night, all 2.45 hours of it, I was not feeling very good.  It’s Spanish movie about a guy who is dying and, all I could really think was that I must have aged out of the European movie market.  I figured I just can’t handle the reality anymore.  Then, this morning I woke up thinking, “O my God, Uxbal is my Father!”

So, why I’m listing this movie on this blog is because Javier Bardem, as always, gives the most amazing performance of a Father who is divorced.  One realizes how much he loves his children and wants to provide for them.  He has custody because the children’s Mother is Bipolar and unreliable. There are two children in the story.  The oldest daughter has her 10th Birthday during the time that the movie takes place.  Her parents do everything they can to make it special for her, but their complicated lives and personal problems turn the celebrations in to one catastrophe after another.

I don’t know who the actress is who plays the wife/ex-wife, but she is brilliant.  Society really has come a long way when one sees that children are not expected to live with their Mother when she is that mentally ill.  My generation; usually the Father couldn’t handle it, and took off, the way mine did.  This character acknowledges that his children will turn out however they will turn out, whether he is around or not in the same way that he and his brother both turned otu, but he also acknowledges the importance of providing for them as a parent.  This centers around his obsession with leaving enough money to keep the rent for their apartment.

But, here, what is so incredible is to see the portrayal of this Father from so many different angles.  He sees his life through his spiritual side, which is strongly related to death and unresolved grief, as both his parents died when he was very young.  He makes a few extra bucks helping newly dead people to pass over.

One sees that he just keeps going, focusing on fixing other people’s problems but perpetually unable to break out of the slums that he is born into.  Finally his body just gives out.  Incredible scene where he goes to the toilet;  looks out the window to see a guy passed out in the street, you can see that he is feeling bad for the guy and meanwhile looks down to see that his urine is full of blood.  He himself has waited too long before going to the Doctor.

Better description than what I can provide here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biutiful



Fresh Air Interview: The Memory Palace

Writer and Artist Mira Bartok is interviewed by Terry Gross on the NPR program Fresh Air about a memoir she has written called The Memory Palace.

I’m assuming that Mira Bartok is a Child of Divorce but the Big D is never mentioned in the interview.  Mira’s relationship with her Father is briefly mentioned to say that he left the family when she was 4 years old and Mira moved with her Sister and her Mother into their Grandparents’ house.  Her Mother, an accompalished pianist, suffered from schizophrenia and her Grandfather seems to also have some sort of mental illness.  Both Mother and Grandfather were violent.  Mira and her Sister have both achieved success in life working in the humanities.

The blurb which drew me to the interview said that Mira began to understand her Mother’s illness better after suffering traumatic brain injury when a Truck hit her when she was 40.  She suffers from memory problems, both short and long term.

The interview with Terry Gross mostly discusses what it must be like to have a mentally ill family member who ends up homeless because their behavior is impossible to treat.  I wish there had been discussion about how it might be different to be the child of a mentally ill parent as I feel that sets up a different relationship dynamic than for a parent to deal with a mentally ill child.  It’s much easier to get a child into treatment than it is for a child because the parent is used to giving the commands rather than receiving them.

At one point Bartok says something like (not an exact quote most likely):

“We (she and her sister) needed to be safe and we needed for someone to keep her safe.”

I think that this is what parenting is all about and I think it is a huge problem for Children of Divorce, whether we want to say it or not.  The parents think that if they assure the child that he’s loved that this is enough.  But, then, the child marries a new partner and does nothing to protect the child from entering into the new relationship at his own emotional speed.  Since Bartok is probably around the same age that I am I know that girls of our generation were rarely considered “safe” when left alone.  Probably this is less so now but I don’t have a clue.

Bartok’s Grandfather died at some point, not sure what age she was at that point.  She placed her Grandmother into an eldercare program in 1989 and her Mother’s situation deteriorated very quickly after that.  By 1990 she was homeless.  There is great discussion here about how and why Bartok couldn’t take care of her Mother and didn’t talk to her for 17 years.  Her Mother lived to be more than 80 years old and the homeless shelter where she had lived for a few years before her death is named after her.

Am really interested to read this book.  Guess I’m jumping the gun by writing about it right now.  Wonder what it must be like to have memory problems and to be trying patch up such a difficult upbringing at the same time.

 



When Parents Meet Their New Loves Over the Internet
December 13, 2010, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Alcoholism, Death of a Parent, Murder, Parents and their Dates, Violence

Guess there’s an extra special problem when one’s parent meets a new relationship online.  Lately the news is carrying some pretty ugly stories.  The most publicized so far has been the story of Zahra Baker, the 10 year old Cancer survivor who was reported missing by her Father and Step-Mother.  Zahra’s Father met Zahra’s Mother online.  They met and married.  I’ve written the details in a previous posts.  I don’t think that either Step-Mother or Father has been charged with murder yet.

Then there’s another problem.  Something which I’m sure that parents will be more concerned about if not for the safety of their children than for the fact that they don’t want their children stealing their boyfriends and girlfriends.  This is a story which was written about in the novel Mildred Pierce where Mildred’s daughter steals her husband.  I don’t think in those days that child molestation was ever considered.  The daughter was a spoiled brat which fits right in with the Children of Divorce imagery from the Intact Family’s point of view.

The news now carries a story about Brittany Mae Smith, a 12-year old girl who went missing after her Mother, Tina’s, body was found in their home.  Brittany and the Mother’s live in boyfriend, Jeffrey Scott, were identified all the way across country from where they had lived.  There are no details about whether Brittany was abducted or went willingly.  And there is discussion about how Jeffrey Scott is a Child Molester who could have used Brittany’s Mother to get to Brittany.  The Mother met her boyfriend online over the Summer and he had moved in with the women last October.  Article discussing the case here along with some nice warnings to parents to be a little more careful. At least the warnings aren’t coming from me.  They certainly won’t be coming from the parent’s shrinks.

Wow, single parents are better off meeting their lovers in bars than over the internet.  Things change, yet things still manage to stay the same.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Natasha Trethewey

Pulitzer Prizewinning Poetess Natasha Trethewey is a Child of Divorce.  I heard her interviewed on the NPR Program Fresh Air yesterday.

I was first attracted to the interview because I couldn’t believe what amazingly long sentences Trethewey can spin.  She can assemble more thoughts into a single sentence in a way that still makes sense than anyone I’ve ever heard.  So it made sense that she’s a poet. Her personal story is even more amazing.

Trethewey won the Pulitzer for her collection of poems called Native Guard.  Some of these poems are about her Mother who was murdered by her Step-Father when Trethewey was 19 years old.  Trethewey’s younger brother witnessed the murder when he was 11 (or 12) years old.  (Sorry I was listening while driving in the car and I can’t remember the details really well).

Trethewey was born in Mississippi. Her parents divorced at some point before Trethewey started grade school.  She lived with her Mother in Georgia and spent Summers in New Orleans with her Father and with her Grandmother in  Mississippi.

Her new book is about how her family was affected by Hurricane Katrina.  Her Brother was destroyed financially and, out of desperation, turned to dealing drugs.   It turns out that he was arrested for possession of Cocaine the same day that Trethewey was awarded the Pulitzer.  Have to sit down with this astrology chart at some point in the future when I can be very very quiet…  This date will be interesting to look at from an astrological point of view as it was 10 days before Trethewey’s 41st Birthday.  By coincidence, Trethewey’s Mother was killed 10 days before her (the Mother’s) 41st Birthday as well.  It’s amazing to hear a very articulate poet discuss the complicated and confusing feelings and methods of coping with this amount of tragedy.  I sure would like to hear her ideas, if any, about her parents’ divorce.  I’m a little slow at reading poetry but I’ll be looking for both books.  The new book is called Beyond Katrina.

Trethewey is bi-racial.  Her Mother was an African American Social Worker and her Father is a White College Professor.  Her Step-Father (don’t know race, etc) was a Vietnam Veteran and worked for an Air Conditioning and Heating Company.  The story about what Trethewey’s brother had to go through is unbelievable.  As I said he was 11 or 12 years old at the time of the murder.  His parents had already divorced and I don’t know what age he was at that point.



Another Escape Artist – Colton Harris-Moore

In a previous post I wrote about Child of D Frank Abagnale, Jr. who was featured in a Leonardo di Caprio movie (and in his own book) Catch Me If You Can.  It looks like another escape artist/criminal child has now been caught.  Colton Harris-Moore of Washington State was caught in Bermuda after running from the law for 2 years.  Clayton escaped from a half way house in April, 2008 and has been evading the police ever since, surviving mostly by stealing.

I had to look if he was, like Abagnale, Jr. a traumatized child of divorce.  It seems that he has a large fan base.  Have to admit, after reading what I can find about his childhood I’m a fan as well (well, not of the crimes).

According to Wikipedia, Colton Harris-Moore was born Mar. 22, 1991 on Camano Island, Washington.  His Father walked out when Clayton was 2 years old.  Clayton’s last memory was of his Father trying to strangle him. 2 years represents the first Mars Return.  And Mars represents violence.  And this is an example, of course, of a Mars Return child in extreme stress. Clayton’s Mother remarried but Clayton’s step-father died when Clayton was 7.  This would have been around the time of his first Lunar square.  There is a possibility that Mars and Moon are in conjunction with each other in Clayton’s chart.  This is an aspect showing great emotional volatility.  But, if both planets are in the sign of Gemini this also shows Clayton’s extreme cleverness in escaping from capture.

How this connects with astrology of Clayton’s chart is amazing.  Clayton’s natal Mars is probably highly afflicted.  It is squaring his natal Sun and possibly in conjunction with his natal Moon.  Both of these contacts can show a person with some impulse control and anger issues on their own without the stress.  They internalize the conflicts that the parents have with each other.  The prominence of this aspect in Clayton’s chart is amplified because Mars and possibly the Moon are both out-of-bounds.  This means that their influence is extra strong.  This configuration is also connected with the Aries points because the Sun at least is placed there.  This explains Colton’s fame as planets on the Aries Points bring a person into the public eye through those planets.  Transiting Pluto is squaring this natal aspect and Pluto also brings Fame (and capture).

Colton’s natal Mars is at 25 Gemini.  He had his Return before his 2d birthday.  When he was turning 2 Mars was going through a long retrograde in the sign of Cancer which indicates a lot of emotional stress at home.  He was probably under the influence of his first progressed Lunar Square at age 7 when his step-father passed away which could exaggerate the tension of Mars-Moon-Sun even more.

Natal Saturn is at 5 Aquarius opposing natal Jupiter at 4 Leo.  Clayton has a good understanding of how people relate to each other on a political level.  He is also a risk taker.

Abagnale, Jr. turned his life around.  I hope that Clayton can figure out how to do the same.

Once again I don’t feel good about putting him under the Bad Child of Divorce category.




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