Spoiled Children of Divorce

Moving On – Tess Damm’s Father

Tess Damm is the Colorado teenager who allowed her boyfriend to murder her Mother.  The teenagers than put the Mother’s body in the car and partied for about a month before neighbors called authorities.  Tess’s Mother was what sounds like a raging alcoholic and her boyfriend, an adopted boy from India, had a split personality.  I talked briefly about Tess Damm a while back and went back to see if I could find any new information about her situation as regards to her parent’s divorce because obviously this was an impossible situation which led to tragedy.

I found an article about Tess’ Father, Michael Damm, who left her Mother, Linda Juergens, when Tess was around 1 1/2 years old.


The Father’s attitude towards his daughter was totally distant.  He said that “he didn’t know those people.”  As is typical in Divorced families the Father can’t handle the stress of maintaining a relationship with the Mother who is totally insane.  And he simply disappears.  I tend to see how this is a practical way to lead one’s life.  Unfortunately, from the child’s point of view this is very destructive.

According to the article, Tess’ parents married on June 29, 1991. Tess was born a month later so obviously she was a “mistake” child.  The Father walked out in September 1992.  He tried to maintain a long distance relationship with his daughter and was given what looks to me like very difficult rules to follow in order to do that.  For example, he had to give 30 days’ notice in order to visit.  Juergens filed for divorce in April, 1999.  That’s a long time to remain separated so I sort of assume that he really was having struggling with trying to maintain connection with his daughter at least.

I wonder if it’s easier if these parents just cut the cord quickly.  The child then doesn’t build up any false hopes and can live with reality much better.   Of course, the best option would have been if he had been given custody since it sounds like he was the more stable parent but who knows?  He may have been as unstable as the Mother.

The Father at the time of the writing is now living in Wisconsin, is remarried and has more children with his current wife.  He talked very coldly about his daughter’s situation which I think is the attitude that a lot of Children of D receive from the missing parent.  The child must suffer the Loss like a Death but also the Rejection of being Unworthy.   The Father said he hadn’t talked to her in 10 years and didn’t intend to reestablish a relationship now.  At any rate, one can see the Father’s coldness being projected into the mind of a daughter who plotted and carried out her own Mother’s death.  He is quoted as saying:

“I have a family, and I’m living and loving life in Wisconsin,” he said.  “I moved out of that situation when (Tess) was about 2.”

He is quoted repeatedly as saying that he has moved on in life.  His Mother, Tess’ Grandmother, was also interviewed as saying that the family had moved on.  Tess really was worth nothing to her family.  Most Children of D don’t kill their parents, but they do share a similar style relationship with one of their parents.

The great philosopher Martin Buber said that the greatest evil in the world comes not from bad deeds but from indifference.

11 Comments so far
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The title of this blog and many of it’s excerpts are insulting and narrow-minded. I resent the “children of divorce” label as it is representative of society’s biases. Many children who also grow up in so-called “intact,” families have criminal behaviors, personality disorders, and “issues” that form them into difficult and unhealthy adults.
Instead of blaming the “divorce,” why not blame the multiple issues unique to every divorce? This could include pre-existing mental illnessess, addictions, emotional abuse, or personality disorders.
My parents were married for 40 years and while their marriage wasn’t perfect, it was decent and I believe I had good role models. Besides having a graduate degree, I believe I am a agood and decent person. Unfortunately, (unbeknownst to me at the time) I married a fraudulent, manipulative person who basically hid his true personality until we got married. He played on my naiveness and trustworthiness. He was a con-artist and what my divorce therapist calls, a “garden variety sociopath,”.
Three therapists into a 10 year marriage, he continued making false accusations that escalated, etc, etc. I could go on and on about the things he did.
My point is that the social belief that my 2 children are going to be “screwed up,” is false and denigrating to people who are divorced and to their children. The truth is that we ALL have issues-regardless of whether or not our parents divorce. I never wanted a divorce and I tried my hardest to keep things together.
I would like to see more blogs about children “of divorce,” that are positive, not denigrating, presumptive, and discriminatory.

Comment by Karen

Hi Karen,

The title of this blog is denigrating. It’s a common label that Children of D have to deal with every day of their lives. I’m simply confronting that truth.

Sorry I can’t sweep things under the rug for you. Have you ever thought that your need to see everything and everybody with rose colored glasses is why you married a “Sociopath” in the first place? They like to sweep the truth under the rug and make it all pretty, that’s why people put up with them.

The truth is your children have a tough road ahead of them. Think about it. If their Father really is a sociopath then they have to grow up knowing that they are 50 percent genetically predisposed to being a sociopath themselves. Therefore, they will never be able to love themselves. Plus, they have to grow up in divorce and will probably never be able to mention how their own feelings for fear that they hurt Mommy’s feelings due to her severe narcissism (which is the other 50 percent of their gene pool).

This blog is written for people who grew up in divorce. You do not belong in that group, therefore, what I write here won’t make any sense to you.

Comment by toothless

Hi there I was in jail with this young lady and i must say that i am very disturbed by what you had to say due to the fact that i know her and i can belive that she is turly sorry for what she did. i am concerned more for you that you cant think of being nice i am not saying that what they did was right or they should be let out but damn give the girl a break

Comment by Ashley

Hi Ashley,

Thank you for your post. If you really do know Tess, I can appreciate your concerns for your friend.

If you had really read the blog entry I believe that you would have realized that I hold both of her parents most responsible for the extreme levels of stress that Tess must have been under which caused her to kill her Mother.

This is a tragic situation and I hope to speak out about it so that others can recognize when they are maxed out emotionally and can use the extra insight (or whatever it is) to remove themselves from difficult situations like this. Unfortunately, kids don’t often have many alternatives.

As I had a violent, alcoholic Mother myself I think I may understand at least part of what Tess was going through. I certainly hopes she is finding some help and guidance as how to live with her actions so that she will live a productive life when she gets out. I wish the best for you as well.

There has since been another murder in California that is very similar. A 14 year old girl and her boyfriend killed her Mother.

The overall idea that growing up in a single parent household is difficult needs to be openly discussed. The parents often discuss their problems but you seldom hear from the kids unless one like Tess goes overboard.

It would be great, of course, if Tess’ Mother had realized that she had problems and had sought help. A parent who helps herself is a great role model. It would also have been great if the Father had made himself available to his daughter, but I suspect that the Mother would have alienated daughter and Father even if he had tried. Tess is a teenager so of course her behavior is suspect. Many kids can rely on their parents to balance their rebellious streaks. Kids can often find hobbies, jobs, or sports to focus their energies outside. My opinion only, of course, but I think that kids at this age need some type of higher minded pursuit to follow than just relationships at this age. It helps to have a goal.

Teenagers tend to be a pain as it is, but living in an environment like the one she was in is probably just too difficult. She would have had serious and destructive scars no matter what.

It’s a difficult situation because the kids and the parents really do love each other. The situation is just too difficult and there is no help for them coming from the outside which is what they really need. From what I remember of school counselors and psychologists is not impressive, even actually a reason to stay silent.

Comment by toothless

You go kill your mom, lay her to rot in your car, buy me a cup of coffee and you can be a good person in my eyes too. Shes a spoiled bitch, who had a great exscuse so ignorant people like you can take her side. “my moms an alcoholiccccc so i had to kill her, even though she raised my ass for 17 years or somthin, wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” cry me a RIVER. THERE ARE NO SITUATIONS THAT GIVE YOU EXSCUSES TO SEEM SANE IF YOU KILL YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD. OR ANY HUMAN BEING……….

Comment by Michael

I’m really happy the Dad has moved on. – NOT. What an absolute inconsiderate, miserable human being. He leaves a 2 year old child to fend for herself. It wasn’t her fault the Mom wouldnt or didn’t allow contact. Go to court, fight for your child every day of your life you selfish moron. I am so angry with his comments that it is very difficult for me to be a Christian right now. Since Daddy can’t, I will pray for your daughter and hope that someday, somehow she can come out whole and happier. God bless you Tess.

Comment by Jane

Thanks for your comment, Jane. I know that society is coming around little by little. Some men are much more involved in their children’s lives than they were 30 years ago. If a man sees a child living with an abusive Mother he might (I say might) step in now and try to remove the child. Rejection and Abandonment by a Father is a pretty common story in our society. There are some stories out there of children who find other role models outside the home in teachers, bosses, etc. One can only hope that they will find something like that to fill in for what they missed.

The custodial parent also needs to take an active role in how their children are being affected by their behavior as well. Tess’ Mother could have paid attention to her own behavior, tried to stop drinking, etc. That’s not an easy thing to face up to, though. It always helps if the parent can get his/her act together so that the child can witness a positive role model who is trying to improve his/her situation. Unfortunately, most people who have been down that road know that you don’t really get it together until you hit rock bottom.

Comment by toothless

This article is overbarring in so many ways,the content of text you used to discribe her situation was unnessesary. You have no right to judge based on articles you have read in-order to gather your information.Those articles contained just as much self based opinions as well as this one. Creating articles over and over off of others creates a long line of opinions relayed as facts. I as well as Ashly know Tess personally, have heard this story many times through long sit downs,as well as read her life story that she wrote. Even the published articles by the news are not up to par on all of the correct information. Tess is a amazing girl regardless of those who differ. Everyone makes mistakes that effect something in the long run,and this particualr mistake served its effects sooner rather than later. Shit happens and there’s nothing you nor anyone else can do to cahnge it no matter how bad the regret is. what matters most is how you deal with the situation in the future.Tess has made mass improvents in bettering her life as well as others. Using her past chain of events to help thoughs who have gone done similar roads in prevention of making a mistake as big as she did. I’ve never met a more impowed younge women in my life. and for most it takes a dramtic situation for one to realize how beautiful life is, and Tess is an amzing demonstration of that. Everyone deserves a second chance, i believe even you can condone to that. She has made outstanding changes in her attitude and behaviors. Given her past mistakes she will grow to help thoughs realize there mistakes earlier on in life before it gets out of control. Wisdom only comes from within, develped by expierence. Tess has wonderful wisdom to share with the world, if only people would give her a spare moment without judgment they will see that for themselves as i have.

she is open and willing to share with those who are willing to listen, so if its any constinlation to you i will provide her address for you after awaiting a message back. If you would like..

Comment by Laci Barclay

I have met this young lady,Tess. I have to say she is a beautiful person, and caring for others. I believe what happened to Tess is a result of poor parenting. Tess now has direction in her life, and deserves a chance to have her life back. No child can be held accountable for not being loved and possibly neglected!!! I say give Tess a chance!!!

Another Mother 🙂

Comment by C.L.

Yeah poor parenting, giving her a roof for her entire life, feeding her and her dead beat boyfriend who oviously didn’t have his own parents to care for him, yeah, talk to me about what you consider bad parenting. the girls a spoiled cold hearted bitch and has no exscuse. you sound ignorant as hell. you aint no mom. your one of this girls sick twisted friends Im sure cause you sound dumb as hell

Comment by Michael

wow so, you people are blaiming “bad parenting” for someone getting killed and laying to rot in their car by their own kid? She didn’t have burn marks.. she wasn’t neglected to the point where she didn’t have a home to live in. I dont give a DAMN how good of a person she made herself look to be to OTHER PEOPLE. SHE KILLED HER OWN MOTHER. Who was LETTING HER AND HER BOYFRIEND live in HER home. SHES AN EVIL, SICK, TWIIISTED HUMAN BEING WHO SHOULD BE SENTENCED TO LIFE. END OF STOREYYY

Comment by Michael

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