Spoiled Children of Divorce

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Barry Manilow

Blockbuster singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is a Child of D.  Manilow’s parents divorced just after he turned 2 years old and he grew up with his Mother and Grandparents in Brooklyn, New York.   Manilow changed his last name to his Mother’s maiden name when he was around 13 years old.  I’m not sure how much of a relationship he had with his Father.

Both parents remarried.  Manilow’s Mother remarried at some point in the late 1950’s.  Manilow would have been in his mid to late teens. Manilow credits his Step-Father with having introduced him to Jazz.

I’m unclear about sibling relationships.  According to a website, Manilow was raised basically as an only child, but had two step-brothers from his Mother’s remarriage.  He possibly has a step-brother and a half-brother through his Father’s remarriage.  I’m not real sure about this information, though.

Below is an except of an interview on the TV show Larry King Live from 2002 in which Manilow desribes his childhood.  (Full transcript of the show is here. //transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/17/1k1.00html. Sorry, I messed up the link thingee).  Manilow had just put out an album called Here at the Mayflower which apparently was based on the apartment building where he and his family (Mother’s side) lived.  It featured two hits  “Turn the Radio Up” and “They Dance.”  Manilow’s music is all about being positive and making people feel good.  “Turn the Radio Up” is about using music to combat misery and worry.

According to Wikipedia, Manilow is Jewish on his Mother’s side and Jewish-Irish on his Father’s side.  His Step-Father is Irish.

KING: Was your childhood tough?

MANILOW: No. I don’t say it was tough. No.

KING: Your parents were divorced?

MANILOW: Parents were divorced. I was raised by my mother and my grandparents and a lot of relatives around this Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mayflower…

KING: Jewish neighborhood?

MANILOW: Jewish neighborhood, Jewish, Puerto Rican. It was very ethnic. I loved it.

KING: But your stepfather though was Irish, right?

MANILOW: Yes. I just saw him. He lives down in…

KING: You close?

MANILOW: Well, we’re not close. He lives in Florida and I don’t. But he was the guy that turned my musical motor on.

KING: Really?

MANILOW: Well, before Willie Murphy (ph) came into my life, I was playing the accordion, and “Have Nagila” and all of the folk songs that my grandparents loved.

KING: Worked at bar mitzvahs?

MANILOW: Well, I should have been so lucky. I wasn’t even up to bar mitzvahs. I was just playing folk songs on the accordion.


MANILOW: You got it. And I wasn’t bad, believe it or not. But that would have been it, had Willie not come into my life.

KING: What did he do?

MANILOW: He came into my life with a stack of albums that turned my musical motor on. He brought a stereo system in that I never had and a stack of albums that had people like Stan Kenton and June Christy and Broadway show music like “The Most Happy Fella” and “Kismet” and “Kiss me, Kate” and on and on. It was a stack of gold.

Link to Article of Saturn Return Cycle and Child Development
December 30, 2009, 2:02 am
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Exemplary Children of Divorce – Raymond Chandler

One of the great old time masters of detective mystery writing, Raymond Chandler, was a Child of D.  Chandler’s Mother was an Irish Immigrant.  His Father was a civil engineer who was alcoholic.  The family moved around quite a bit because the father worked for the railroad.  Dad was absent a great deal of the time and eventually abandoned the family.  Chandler was raised by his Mother.  His uncle supported the pair financially.

I’m not sure when the divorce actually occurred.  Chandler’s Mother took him to Europe for awhile when he was around 11 or 12. Supposedly they took a boat in June, 1900.  Chandler was going through his Jupiter Return at that time.

Since I’ve found multiple examples of kids who go through their parents’ split during or around the time of their Jupiter Return who tend to become successful in Jupiterian Professions like Law, Publishing, Higher Education, Religion, etc. I’m pretty excited to find this prominence in Chandler’s chart.  I’m finding a lot of published writers whose parents split apart during this Return phase at any rate.

Success doesn’t guarantee happiness, of course.  Chandler suffered his own struggle with alcoholism just like his Father.  His Jupiter was in Scorpio (murder, crime, the dark side, detective work) opposing Neptune (escapism, addiction).  The Wikipedia biography on Chandler is really interesting.  He married a woman who was 18 years his senior (Venus c. Saturn-Sun-NN) and it seems that when she died he became despondent and tried to commit suicide.  It sounds like he suffered from serious depression his whole life.

December 17, 2009, 6:57 pm
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I was planning on trying to “give advice” on how to handle the Holidays, posting nice little messages about how people can avoid the uncomfortable family atmospheres of the split family situation, like watching movies together (don’t have to talk). You know, the things that parents like to hear, as if it is something that the kids will like to hear.

Then I remembered how fucking uncomfortable the Holidays were for me.  I couldn’t go out and have fun because someone would feel left out and would get jealous.  My Mother would do the interoggation thing.  My step-mother and step-sister would look for ammo to use against me for later on.  They sort of held close to each other by taking me on as the common enemy.

Cooking is a holiday thing.  It became a battle ground for the women.  Actually, my Mother would get put a turkey in the oven and then have a drink and get psychotic and leave for the bar.  My step-mother, who was a wine drinking tippler would, well, I only remember one episode with a turkey.  She was holding up the neck to show us how it looked like a penus.  And then she would descend into weird little mutterings about how difficult her life had been.  She never said exactly what had happened.  Kids from Intact families never really do have stories.  But later on I just made up stories about how she must have been raped by her father or something and this is why she was turning around and doing it to me on a psychological level.  Anyway, it was really difficult to understand what she was saying because she didn’t enunciate (something about her jaw not working, maybe the ex broke it and then she never went to the doctor), and, of course, she was drunk.  My Mother did enunciate, very well as a matter of fact.  So well that she would show up back at home after the bars closed, sometimes with a guy, sometimes not, and she would scream about how her boyfriend had to spend Christmas with his family and of course she wasn’t included.  My Father…my father was just sitting there in the background.  Eventually he admitted that he was just sitting there wanting to kill himself.

My step-sister and I would try to side step each other.  My step-mother would complain that the “air was so thick you could cut it with a knife.”  Of course she didn’t think that she could be the reason for that.  I think she figured it was a cat-fight thing between two teenage girls.  I do know that she manipulated competition between us in order to deflect the fact that she owed us an apology.  If I did actually play along with my step-mother’s attempts to get along, not only would my Mother get jealous, but my step-sister would as well.

Where was my brother?  I don’t remember.  I do remember my step-brother.  He was sweet.  He started drinking young. He got married when he was 19 to a girl who looked like his mother in order to get even with his mother.  That’s what he said it was about.  Then he turned to God.  Then he opened a store and no doubt sold all my dead relatives’ wedding rings.

I suppose my brother and he were both out with their friends.  As boys, they didn’t have to stick around and cook.  And because our parents didn’t meet through their friends, they didn’t have the same trust issues with friends that my step-sister and I developed.  We didn’t go out with our friends because at that point, or at the early points, we had been each other’s friend.

So, Anger.  Yeah, I’ve got it.  The problem with anger is that it is so difficult to get attached to on a mental level.  You can talk about it but if that does anything, it just stokes the fires.  Once anger attaches to memory it seems there’s no losing it.  And talking just reminds one.  And, of course, it’s a pointless emotion.  I’ve heard healer types say that it can be useful, but those people have always been from Intact families and had eventless childhoods (which they complain about endlessly anyway).  If it’s the type of anger that arises from having been betrayed or abused or neglected or resented, then I don’t think there’s much one can do about it.  One hopes that it will eventually run its course, like fire.  One stays very busy to avoid thinking about it fighting fire with fire.  And then something happens.  A repeat personality of one of the original parents, the inability to communicate with that person on a reasonable level.  And then you are only able to go to a therapist.  Or turn to religion.  We all know that people become therapists because their parents didn’t get along.  They went to college to understand human relationships and then realized that divorce would have provided the answer.  And I agree with that.  I think that very few relationships are “marriage quality” and can last for very long, especially in a society that doesn’t have strong religious beliefs.  And I’m fine with that idea.  But, what these idiots don’t get is that they came to this realization at a later age as they were focusing on their own ability to have a relationship.  A little kid hasn’t hit that level yet.  A very little kid hasn’t hit any level yet with regards to relationships, except that he prefers his Mother and Father, and if he cries when he’s hungry he might get fed and, eventually he has to learn not to wet his pants.   Religion requires the ability to have a belief in something that may or may not exist and to say that it certainly does exist.  When I was a kid I was only aware of the marketing aspect of religion, the proselytizing, the fanaticism.  I’m still pretty much the same but have read a few books and am aware of some points of view about spirituality (and because of that am still mystified by how anyone would find an answer in religion).

As I was 14 I was much older.  I don’t think the Divorce affected my ability to wreck a relationship.  With the personality that I naturally have I think I probably would have done that on my own anyway.  In my case, it just made me not want to try.  Through my parents I saw how much pain one person can cause another.  Kids from Divorce don’t have good role models for large gaps in their childhoods.  If the parents remarry into a good situation then that’s great.  Eventually the kids will fall into place.  The truth is that both of my parents did find better relationships with other people.  My Father loved his wife although the reason remains a mystery to me.  My Mother found a long -term boyfriend but had so many mental problems and addictions that this didn’t work out.

Doubt anybody has read this far.  I’m having the rage thing today so I’m writing here to talk myself down from it.  I was the most complacent kid in the world and I know for sure that my problems with rage are connected with the divorce.  As the kid I had to hold it in.  Probably there is more awareness now than when I was a kid as far as parenting goes.  I hope so.  When I read the comments from the parents on this blog I sort of think that nothing’s changed, the problem is just more widespread because people like me grow up and grew old and had no voice for what happened to us before we had words for it.

Brilliant College Lecture About Marital Discord
December 16, 2009, 4:20 am
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I’ve just discovered the website AcademicEarth.org which is offering video lectures from the best colleges.  The link is one called “Marital Discord.”  It’s a psychology lecture from UCLA.  I flunked my way up the California Coast, jumping from college to college and changing majors I think about 3 or 4 times.  UCLA was my first college so I have a special place in my heart for it.  As a matter of fact, that’s where I went for my first counseling session on my own.  The shrink was a divorced woman who had one son.  Everything about her seemed to be bursting at the seams.  Her clothes were too tight.  The roots in her hair were always a quarter inch too long.  Her fake fingernails were painted bright red and had grown out from her cuticles by about an 1/8″.  She never looked me in the eye; just kept her face pointed down at her clipboard or aimed her eyes at the wall over my head.  I was there to ask her about relationship fears.  Mostly I was trying to decide whether to sleep with my boyfriend.  I didn’t really want to.  Of course, I couldn’t have told her about anything about how my parents had behaved in relationships.  My Step-Mother breaking up my family for the money.  My Mother learning how to be a Call Girl from someone she met in the Mental Hospital after her 3d suicide attempt.  My Father retreating from it all like a big, helpless blob.  The shrink said that generally people make worse mistakes in life by doing nothing.  She didn’t give a second thought to whether one would follow one’s heart I guess.  How much in life should one follow one’s heart, and how much should one restrain one’s heart and needs?

Haven’t watched the lecture, by the way.