Filed under: Addiction - Parents, Astrology stuff, Child of Divorce as Parent, creativity, Custody, Death of a Parent, Exemplary Children of Divorce, multiple households
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.
Filed under: Death of a Parent, Fiction about Divorce, Mentally Ill parents, Movies About Growing Up in Divorce, Physical Abuse, separate households, Uncategorized
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.
Filed under: Abandonment, Books, creativity, Death of a Parent, Denial, Exemplary Children of Divorce, Health, Living with Grandparents, Long Term Fallout, Mentally Ill parents, relationship with Mother, Violence
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.
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.
Filed under: bi-racial, creativity, Death of a Parent, Exemplary Children of Divorce, Guilt, Half-siblings, Murder, relationship with Mother, separate households, siblings, Uncategorized, Vietnam, Violence
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.
Filed under: Bad Children of Divorce, Books, creativity, Death of a Parent, Relationship with Father, runaways, Violence
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.
Filed under: Abandonment, biological siblings, Birth Order, Death of a Parent, Healing, Movies About Growing Up in Divorce, siblings, Suicide, Uncategorized
Movie time. I saw some really interesting female Children of Divorce characters in an indie movie this week-end. The movie is called Please Give. The plot centers around a New York family of fairly contented well-adjusted people who still manage to crack good jokes. It actually seems to be a movie about people to whom nothing ever happens. The Children of D are part of a side story. They are the ones who the family watches and says, “At least we don’t have it that bad.”
The couple is played by Catherine Keener and I’m sorry I don’t know the Actors’ name who played the husband . I don’t know the names of any of the other actors, basically, the whole cast is great and Keener was the reason why I went to see the movie. At any rate, Keener and her Husband are sort of hitting midlife and are trying to figure out where to go from now. Keener’s having some ethics problems from working as a “Dealer.” Her husband is having some problems with why he doesn’t have a problem with the ethics problem. They own a business, a home, have a daughter, have built their lives well and now are ready to make some mistakes in order to open their hearts once again. Throughout the movie the characters struggle with the ideas of give and take in what is generally pretty funny New Yorker openness. In the end they learn some valuable lessons and make some great changes in their outlooks.
But, basically, the movie would be really dopey without the additional drama from “the catastrophic family” who exists on the sideline. These are the neighbors in the apartment next door.
The “catastrophic family” is basically a shell of what’s left over from a nuclear family. The parent generation is gone and the Grandparent and Children are left. The “couple to whom nothing ever happens” has bought an apartment from the Grandmother of the Catastrophic Family next door. The old woman is really mean and really old and everybody is basically waiting for her to die. The couple plans to renovate and expand their apartment into hers which is a cold-blooded thing to be lording over your next door neighbor.
The two granddaughters take care of the Grandmother. These are the Children of Divorce characters. They are two sisters in their 20s or early 30s. Warning: I’m putting in some spoilers here but am not giving the ending. The girls’ Father abandonned the family long ago. The Mother committed suicide when the oldest daughter was 20 and the youngest daughter was 15. It’s very clear to everyone in the story why the Mother committed suicide after watching the Grandmother complain and insult people. It’s not real clear why the younger daughter takes such good care of her aside from the fact that there must still be some angels living in Manhattan. Go figure. Oh yeah, and the big “D”? It’s never mentioned. That’s right, the word “Divorce” never comes up. The Father has abandoned the family. The Mother commits suicide and the reason that’s discussed in her bad Mommy situation. If “D” were mentioned, there would have been no funding. Divorced parents and even kids aren’t going to pay good money to see that crap. (So negative.)
The two daughters live together in a cruddy apartment and bicker about how to cook food in the microwave. Both work in girly caretaker vocations. They are probably Community College educated. At the beginning of the movie they are both single. The oldest has just been dumped. The youngest seems fated to become an old spinster. Otherwise, they seem trapped in the cocoon of a childhood which was taken away from them bit by bit.
The youngest is a Medical Tech who takes Mammograms all day. That seems to be a great metaphor for the fact that she is extremely loving and caring and visits her Bitchy Grandmother almost every day after work without complaining. Through her depressing work she seems to be facing her Mother’s death everyday and has no interest in going out to view the changing autumn leaves the way everyone else in the city seems to. Beauty? What Beauty?
The oldest daughter gives facials in a salon. She’s a Bitch but everyone seems to like her because she is pretty. She maintains a very phoney looking tan. She can’t stand her Grandmother, stays away from her and argues very coldly with her meanness. Because of that resistance she seems to be in danger of becoming just like the old woman.
In the end, the Grandmother dies, and the two families sort of merge emotionally through a couple of moments of true giving. All the Characters enjoy the best possible ending and that’s all that really matters to me these days.
Filed under: Death of a Parent, Movies About Growing Up in Divorce, Parents and their Dates
Just remembered one of my favorite movies from childhood, Dr. Seuss’ 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. As a kid I mostly paid attention to the part of the story about how the young boy hates practising his piano lessons and I didn’t really pay attention to the fact the boy in the story is living in a single parent household and the terrors associated with that situation. Don’t know if piano teachers are as scary now as they were when I was a kid. But, I do remember being reduced to tears by one of mine. He had crusty old eyes and a double nose and would beat the piano with a baton and would yell at me when I proved to him that I was indeed rhythm-less and tone deaf.
In the movie, the boy falls asleep while at the keyboard, bored by the grotesque music he has to repeat over and over and terrified because his widowed Mother doesn’t understand how awful his piano teacher is. While dreaming he is held prisoner by the maestro and he is forced to play an enormous 500 child piano along with 499 other captured boys. The piano teacher has cast a spell on his Mother and is holding her as his zombie bride to be. The boy gets help from the plumber to suck the noise out of the big performance and releases everyone from their torture. In the end the Mother sort of gets a date with the nice plumber and the boy is free from having to practice.
This movie shows the total fear and horror of having to deal with a single parent who falls in love with the wrong person. In the movie, the Mother becomes a spineless zombie who doesn’t recognize her own child in order to please the evil tyrant. Because the child fights the evil influence off he prevails. So, maybe this is a bit of a disruptive influence for most children of single parents who aren’t supposed to have opinions about their parents’ bad romance choices (kind of weird when a divorced person jumps right back into another bad relationship but that’s probably more common than not).
Over and over again I used to wonder what the Hell my Father was doing with my Step-Mother. It was clear that her motivations for being with him were not real pure. I suppose this made it easier when I hit my twenties and friends hooked up with partners who I didn’t particularly like. I didn’t think anything of it except to just stay away. Other friends would rant on and on about how can she stay with that guy. I never really thought that it was a topic that could be discussed. Of course, she stayed with that guy. She’s in love and love is blind and destroys people. Okay, so that’s probably not the healthiest way to approach love but when you’ve spent years watching your Mother drag in every red-faced beer belly and every 9-fingered piano man that she meets in a bar, you really don’t question too much about what the forces of attraction are between man and woman. Granted my parents suffered from extreme distortions of thought because of alcoholism and other illness, but I tell you I’ve noticed completely sober people do the same stupid stuff.
Anyway, 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Great movie about having a single parent. The real Father in this movie has died. Probably most kids in the 1950s were told their Fathers had died, whether they did or not.
Fighting over the Will of a dead parent is a big deal in any family. It often tears people apart. At any rate, death of a parent can bring out an interesting side of siblings that one never knew was there. Grief counselors will explain that a death can rearrange entire family relationships all over again.
I’ve written some posts about dealing with sick and dying parents who are divorced but haven’t published them. My parents were both dying from Lung Cancer at the same time. That was hell. Two completely different households. When a parent is single the kids have to take over. The other parent is off having a good time. In my case my Mother got sick first. My Father got sick a couple of years after. They died within a year of each other.
But the classic awful story of inheritance is of the Step-Parent who takes all the money. I know this because it happened to me. It was clear that this would happen so I never fought. My Step-Mother had been kicked out of a Country Club by the wives who were tired of watching her go after their husbands. Then she kept coming over to my house, supposedly to pick up her daughter who was my friend. Money was pretty much the only thing that this woman wanted. My Father’s extremely successful business failed after he got involved with her.
Because this happened to me I always hear stories the greedy step-parent stories. They are told quickly and efficiently. Having a step-parent in the family always seems to add that detached, efficiency thing to all emotional relationships. Step-parents can take advantage of this situation very easily and in my experience they generally do. The biological parent gets tired of hearing about how manipulative his kids are and how they never call for anything but money and eventually sides with the Step-Parent. So, this is a very common story. The illness and death of the parent can be devastating. And the strange and unusual loyalties within the family and of feeling loved become even stranger through the intense feelings of the grieving process. I suppose if a child is used to being batted around back and forth through court proceedings and alimony and child support trauma another fight in this regard may not affect some kids.
My advice is: do it. Fight. The parents’ possessions are their last message to you. The Lawyers like to watch this stuff happen. They wil fight in the Divorce Courts for years, but they like to let the kids know that they don’t deserve any possessions of their parents. They bring up the Spoiled Child image. Call a zillion lawyers if you have to to find one that will find the loophole in the law. Don’t worry about the lawyers who humiliate you into meekness.
Inheritance actually gets more complicated than that. My Father had been prominent in his field and I googled his name one day a few years ago to see if anything had been written about him. I found a website asking for information about him. I could only add a bit of information. All of his papers had gone to his wife and had probably been used as fuel for a bonfire at a beach party. Most of his work is now lost. Since most of my childhood experience of him was as the workaholic father who never came home this is strongly embedded in my love for him. His wife only wanted the money and the prestige and the long trips around Europe. I assume that his work failure after his involvement with her was an embarassment to her. Actually, I don’t think she probably gave any thought to it one way or another because she was so selfish. I’ve also found that my ex-step-brother runs a pawn shop. No doubt the jewelry that was left for me by my ancestors in a safety deposit box were his first sales.