Spoiled Children of Divorce

West Coast

There’s a Phenomenon called “The Emerald Flash.” This is a Bolt of Green light that is said to sometimes be visible for a split second just as the Sun sets over the Ocean. I grew up in a beach town in California and my Mother used to make a game out of staring at the Sunset to see if we could see this Green Light. She said that one of her boyfriends had said that he had seen it. The West Coast, especially California, is a haven for Single Moms looking for a new life. I think they’re all looking for the God Damned Emerald Flash. As an adult, I’ve lived next door to a couple of women who have moved to California, and, not being able to afford the rent for a big place, have set up a little “Bedroom” for their kid in the closet of their studio apartment. Probably I’m over-reacting but they never seem like the happiest neighbors in the world. I suppose these women expose their kids to a life full of hopes and dreams and the sense that anything is possible. Several of the kids have become famous writers and have written books, either memoir or fiction about the Single Momdums of their childhoods and teens.

The big classic in this “genre” is James M. Cain’s famous 1930s novel, Mildred Pierce, about a Mother who works to raise her daughter in a certain style and then the daughter runs off with Mildred’s husband. I think this is the old school Single Mom story. Nowadays I think it might be more appropriate that Mom runs off with the daughter’s boyfriend or husband.

Mona Simpson wrote an incredible book about a young girl and her Mother who move to California in the 1970s in Anywhere But Here.  Was there a movie of this?

Tobias Wolfe wrote a memoir about his boyhood called This Boy’s Life. His Mom meant to bring him to California but somehow the two ended up in Washington. The book tells about the struggles to survive and his awful relationship with his Step-Father. I’ve only seen the movie.  It starred Robert de Niro, Ellen Barkin, and Leonardo di Caprio and was unbelievably depressing.

Two Blogs and an Adventure in Comedy
November 23, 2007, 5:01 am
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Here are a couple of Links that I’ve just found where people are trying to provide information about growing up in Splitsville. These people are gentle. I’m unencumbered.

generationacd.blogspot.com // The writer, Sharon Cole calls people who grew up in the 70’s the Generation ACD. That’s very cute.


This is a really depressing subject to try to write about. I went to a comedy club in New York a few years ago. A comic got up on stage and asked if anyone in the audience was from a divorced family. Only one woman raised her hand. I just sat there mute and I couldn’t raise my hand. I guess others just didn’t want to go there either. I remember feeling a sense of total futility. The comic said it wouldn’t be worth trying his jokes out on us.

How Will This Help Me Raise My Kids?
November 22, 2007, 7:55 pm
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“How will this help me raise my kids?”

This is the question that Divorced Parents use when they hear anyone talking about growing up in a divorced family.  They want everyone know that they can’t handle the guilt of raising kids in a less than perfect environment. Everyone must take care of the Parents’ feelings. The Parents need the help. The kids need to remain silent, repress all feelings in order for the Parent to do his “job.”

My question is: “Why the eff didn’t you ask that question when you had the kids?”

My advice is: Shut Up Parents! Let the kids talk. Encourage it. Otherwise nobody’s going to know what’s going on and how to help them. If you thought you could run another human being through this kind of life style you should have taken up tennis or ping pong or some other sport where a ball bounces back and forth between players really really fast. You need to shut up and listen. It’s nice that you want to be happy and improve your life.  But, if you married an unloving person in the first place you will probably marry an unloving person in the second place. There is a chance that you are just a miserable person or an unrealistic person. That’s ok, we’re all humans. We forgive you. Just let the kids exist too.

Families are secret things. Nobody plays along with that game more than the kids. The whole point for a kid is to fit in and look normal to the outside world. In order to do this, the kid will probably remain silent. Fear does that. Terror works.

I’m not even against Divorce. People make mistakes. Problem is people need to fix their “mistakes” rather than sweep them under the rug like a couple of little rats.

I just can’t believe the Parent’s attitudes, that’s all.

“Hand-Me-Down Blues”
November 22, 2007, 7:30 am
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Here’s an except from a book called Hand-Me-Down Blues:  How to Stop Depression From Spreading in Families by Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D.  The book is about how Depression runs in families, sometimes chemically, sometimes through events and behaviors.  In parts he talks about how Divorce may affect a child’s vulnerability towards Depression.

From p. 76 in a section called “Breakdown of the Family:”

“There has long been a presumed, if not well-documented, link between serious losses (like divorce or death) and later depression.  Is depression inevitable in later life when children are pushed through their parents’ divore?  No, depression is not inevitable–it’s just more likely.  People assume it is the emotional trauma of the divorce itself that echoes throughout the rest of the child’s life, and that may well be the case.  Custody fights, arbitrary and inconsistent visitation schedules, parental inaccessibility both physically and emotionally for all sorts of reason (such as withdrawing because they are healing with their own hurt and anger while also struggling to rebuild their own lives), and other undesirable changes forced on children are traumatic.

“But I think it is the helplessness children feel that is the most debilitating aspect of divorce preceding later depression. Helplessness is a core component of most depressions.  People typically just give up when they are depressed, succumbing to the paralyzing belief ‘Why bother?  Nothing I do will make any difference anyway.'”

Home Alone with Mommy’s BF
November 17, 2007, 6:35 pm
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Here’s a link to an article written by David Crary called “Abuse Risk Seen Worse as Families Change:” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071117/ap_on_re_us/child_abuse.

The article says that a 1996 study found that child abuse rises something like 70 percent in single parent homes due mostly to the fact that Mommy’s Boyfriends don’t connect with the kids and can’t handle them. The problem is raised based on a San Jose case where Mommy, who claimed to also be abused by her BF, colluded in hiding the fact that said BF killed her kid. She helped the guy drive out to Arizona and bury the boy and then kept it secret for months. The Boy’s Father kept trying to see his son so eventually the Mom confessed. For some reason unknown to me the journalists always slant the reporting in favor of the Mother. People are not ready to recognize that many Women simply don’t enjoy being parents, aren’t any good at it. Single parenting is almost always too difficult. Society needs to change somehow to get these people extra support without invading their rights or privacy. It’s anybody’s guess how that can come about.

Still unmentioned are the sociopathic manipulations that Step-Mothers pull on their kids. Cinderella and Snow White aren’t just Fairytales. There is no way in Hell that a silly, ignorant Social Worker will be able to break through those walls, or even see it for that matter.  And even further the effects of how awkward it is for a Child to have to feel at home with strangers and to have to bounce from one household to the other, even when the parents are behaving well.

Here is a quoted list of summaries of studies listed in the article that have studied child abuse in single family homes:

“However, there are many other studies that, taken together, reinforce the concerns. Among the findings:

_Children living in households with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study of Missouri abuse reports published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005.

_Children living in stepfamilies or with single parents are at higher risk of physical or sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents, according to several studies co-authored by David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center.

_Girls whose parents divorce are at significantly higher risk of sexual assault, whether they live with their mother or their father, according to research by Robin Wilson, a family law professor at Washington and Lee University.”

Housing the kids
November 16, 2007, 11:13 pm
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I think I’ll just list articles and books I read.  This is a good start — it’s an article about problems in the Housing Projects in San Francisco, California.  A single Mom wakes up to find that sewer water is spewing into her apartment from the upstairs unit.  It’s coming through the light fixtures and when she goes to check on her son she finds that it’s dropping straight down onto him.  This has happened more than a few times in the last 6 years.  The article compares the Projects to Bangladesh yet Hunter’s Point is stuck right in the middle of the one of the most expensive, progressive cities in the world.  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/16/BASPTCETB.DTL&hw=hunter+point+housing&sn=001&sc=1000

Why Be Wrenching?
November 15, 2007, 5:06 am
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When I was 14 my parents got divorced and my life collapsed into utter Hell. Having been through the requisite “years of psychotherapy” so that I could “Get Over It,” I’m confident in saying that psychology and psychiatry don’t recognize the stress of growing up in a divorced family. I personally think that this is a little like saying that the Holocaust didn’t happen. The Holocaust Survivors didn’t all go nuts, most remained silent and went on with their lives. The Psychologists want 50%  drewlers & screamers before announcing to the World that batting kids back and forth between households like a bunch of ping-pong balls is bad for the kids. The kids can’t afford to complain.  The kids just wait to turn 18 so they move out.

What I’m doing on this blog, “Whiner” that I am, is trying to gather together and study what little literature exists about growing up in a Divorced Family. I’m part of the Baby Boomer generation. At least half of the families in the town where I grew up split during the mid-70s and although I only remember hearing really awful stories from the kids from the divorced families, we’ve all remained strangely mute. Most of my friends in adult life have just “not wanted to go there.” Childhood ends at Divorce. Divorce ends at Age 18 when Child Support stops. Since we lost our parents young we are used to relying on the parasitic service industries like Lawyers and Psychologists and New Age Healers for guidance. Thank God for the X-ers and Y’s who are starting to speak up about what really happened.

I’ve named this blog after “A New Age Healer” who referred to her Boyfriend’s problem son as a “Spoiled Kid from Divorce.” Where does this mean attitude come from? How can people stay so blind to what’s going on in the families? It’s those damn double Christmas presents attracting so much jealousy. Too bad the Normal Kids didn’t have to leave their sobbing, drunk, suicidal mother by herself on Christmas afternoon so that they could go hang out with their drunk Father and Step-Mother on Christmas Night. See how it feels you Normal Kids, those two presents.

I’m an amateur Astrologer and have found a strange connection between the ages that kids are when their parents get divorced and how it often influences their development later on. There are also some other indicators that so far seem to be good predictors of how well the kids will cope. I hope to eventually be able to use this information to help kids who are trying to grow up in these situations. I don’t know how much astrobabble I’ll use here, hopefully not much, but take this as a warning that there may be some reference to planets and astrology. I have noticed that Kids from Divorced Families are pretty hip about Astrology and much more astute about human behavior than the Normal Kids. They also tend to have grown up being used as Family Shrink and Therapist by their parents and are completely burned out on hearing people’s problems and, as a result, aren’t often involved in the Psychology professions very much. I assume this is why there is so little information available out there for the kids.