Spoiled Children of Divorce

Mom, I’m Home
January 29, 2010, 3:19 am
Filed under: Bad Step-Parent Stories, Good Step-Parent Stories, Uncategorized

In the never-ending comments section of the Stepmothers and Step-daughters blog entry I wrote how many eons ago a Step-Mother just shared how she doesn’t have a problem with her step-daughters. Yay!  Read it.  Also, read Carolyn’s blog because she links to some really positive, helpful blogs right now which are written by Step-Mothers who are also Children of D.  I suspect that Children of D. make much better Step-Parents than Step-Parents from traditional households because they know how it feels to be in the situation and  I’m really glad this is happening.  I sort of wonder if a lot of the behaviors suggested won’t fall on deaf ears, though.  Children of D, for example, grow up knowing what it feels like to feel left out. Telling most people who grew up in Intact Families not to interfere in certain parts of family life is going to be impossible.  One of the problems with Divorce is that it messes with our natural sense of mixing territoriality with our homes and they don’t understand that this is just part of the contract they signed into.

At any rate the Successful Happy Step-Mother commenter says that her step-daughters live with her and her husband.  She gave some really great advice about what works for her as a step-mother.  (I don’t understand why step-parents constantly butt into this blog because it’s clearly not about them, but I suppose I don’t understand why anyone would marry into a step-family without making sure that they knew what they were walking into in the first place.)

I’m trying to believe that all the complaining that the step-mothers do about their roles is a link to figuring out a way to fix the problems that exist in step-families.  The Step-Mothers can hopefully provide insight into the family which the blood relatives can’t see.  Unfortunately, in divorce situations, everyone’s already adjusting to being an outsider in the family as well.

Sadly, I tend to think that most of the Step-Mother complaining is just complaining.  In the situations where the step-mothers are reasonably well balanced emotionally, honest, caring, respectful people (in the situations where they really are that way and not just saying that they are that way) there might be some real information in there.  But over the Internet one can reasonably only assume the worst.

In reality  many women who take on the step-mother role are doing it just to “get a man.”  They are bullies and will make fast work of the husband’s kids.  I grew up with one of those.  I know others who know one or two of those.  I know that there are a lot of overly confident women out ought to be CEOs of large corporations but have to settle for decimating step-children’s lives.

Sadly, like all other adults out in the world right now, I have no real advice for kids growing up in that situation except to focus on what positive, strong people do.  Divorce in families is so alienating that it is raising a great social consciousness in the World which may be just as valuable (or, at least different).  Grasp on to that part of the lessons it offers.

Back to the commenter who has no problem with her live-in step-daughters, what impressed me from a critical point of view was her description of the biological mother because it still manages to fall into that category of step-mother comments that negate the other Mother’s influence in her children’s lives.  The deal here is that the biological mother is not in her children’s life.  The commenter showed some concern for the girls’ welfare that the mother wasn’t there.  She didn’t say why the Mother was absent.

I tend to feel equal amount of annoyance by Step-Mothers who tell me that everyone gets along just fine as the ones who like to point out the flaws of the Mother.  How do they know how the kids feel?  Why don’t they analyze their own flaws?  A kid has enough lessons to learn in order to ask a “real parent” for a ride to a friend’s house.  Imagine how much more difficult it is to ask a “step-Parent” for a ride to a friend’s house.  This is a constant awareness that the “real parent” isn’t there.  And it’s gotta hurt.  It’s made all the worse when there is mental illness, addiction, abuse, or illness involved somehow in the situation because the child is already dealing with difficult situations.

Since this is a blog about Children of Divorce and what affects them it just sort of made me wonder why a Mother wouldn’t be there because I wonder how the two girls will grow up thinking about their Mother and how that will affect their abilities to see themselves, love themselves, and to love others.  In my personal experience I’ve heard the comment “I don’t owe my real Mother anything, my Step-Mother did everything.”

Okay, for one, becoming a single Mother is farking scary.  Nothing is easier for single Women than it is for single Men in this world.  That’s the honest to God truth.  Because of that you would think that women would support each other.  But they don’t.  They tend to attack and use each other.

Is the Mother not there because she hates the child?  (some Mothers really don’t like their kids)

Is the Mother not there because she simply doesn’t like or can’t handle being a Mother?

Did the Mother marry too young?

Is she not there because she has a career and has decided that the Father can provide better care?

Is she mentally ill, alcoholic, addicted, etc?

Does the Mother have a chronic illness?

Is the Mother just irresponsible?

Is she unable to handle the financial burden of raising children?

Can she not handle the tension of passing the kids back and forth between households?

Did the Mother marry an abusive man?

What else?  How different a Child from Divorce’s attitude must be from the Child who grows up in an Intact Family where these questions don’t exist.

I wonder what the best way is for a step-parent to discuss the “other parent.”  I have noticed that Step-Mothers who complain about step-children endlessly seem to never discuss their husbands’ parenting styles.  They do like to discuss the “Real Mother’s” problems, however.

I think that men really don’t know what’s going on between the Step-Mother and Step-Child situation. (Yes, I know, and the police know, that Step-Fathers tend to be very abusive as well, I’m just discussing the Step-Mother thing because they keep flooding my blog).   Women are experts at doing things underhanded.  They survive by pulling this behavior in society.

This is basic tribal stuff.  But, as I said, it doesn’t exist in intact families.  And so it goes that there’s an awful sexism that crops up within step-families between the women.  And it’s interesting that no one really seems to benefit from it (emotionally at least).  The Mother is humiliated by the Other woman.  The daughters are abused and at least are exposed to how two very bad female role models co-exist.  The Step-Mothers complain endlessly and no one really does know if they really are used as doormats or if they are just being bullies.

Boy, I want this to be my last post about step-mothers.  I suspect that most kids are so worried about their own parents during a divorce that they really don’t even want to think about the add-ons.  Most kids from divorce want to talk about their relationships with their real parents.  They do this not only because of love but also because they are trying to find a place to mirror their genetic traits.  This is done through the strong emotional bonds that exist between biological parents and kids.  When they say that step-parents feel strange to them, they aren’t kidding.  Why do people take this so lightly?

Okay so this post is a total ramble.  I’m just totally stuck on the other thing I’m trying to write and am wasting time on this.

Will the Person You Are Marrying Be a Good Step-Parent?
January 26, 2010, 2:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The title of this post is a great question.  Why doesn’t anyone ever ask it before getting married?

And I certainly don’t have the answer. Yesterday I was sitting in a cafe.  It was the middle of the day, Sunday, and there was an exchanging of the kids scene at the table behind me and at the table in front of me.  At the table in front of me a Mother was passing a son off to a Father.  They were civil but it felt very awkward.  No step-parents involved. But, as I said, the vibe was tense.  The conversation went on way too long.  The Father looked like a total loser.  The kid was trying to get his parents to enjoy each other’s company because one always hopes there will be an end to this.  Yadda, yadda, yadda…

A family sat down at the table behind me as well.  The Man walked off to buy the coffees and the woman and the child sat down.  Because it soon became apparent that the woman was the man’s girlfriend I started to listen intently and was amazed at the level of stupidity and selfishness that she was treating the child who was a little girl, maybe 3 years old.  When one sits down with a 3 year old girl who is out for a Sunday afternoon with her Daddy, what does one immediately turn the conversation to as soon as Daddy is out of earshot?  One’s self and one’s security and one’s need to control the relationship, of course.  3 year olds just wanna have fun, after all.

As soon as the man was out of earshot, the woman started talking about herself.  She told the child that she loved the child’s Father very much.  The little girl didn’t say anything.  So, the woman repeated herself and asked the little girl if she understood that she (the woman) loved her Father?

Aren’t little girls supposed to be asked how much they love their Fathers?  That’s kind of what childhood is about, isn’t it?  Again the little girl didn’t say anything and then she got up and ran toward her Father, screaming Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.  How is a little girl supposed to understand that she feels threatened at this point? Why isn’t the strange lady showing any concern for her feelings?  It was really nasty.  If the woman loved her Father, wouldn’t the woman talk about this in front of the Father, not behind his back?  Who can trust a person like that?  Was she trying to get the upper hand?  Do you think?

Do you think?  No, really.  Think about it.

Anyway, this is a clear sign of an example of how Daddy marries a Bitch.  I suppose that Daddy expects the little girl to tell him if something makes her uncomfortable.  But, 3 year olds really don’t have the words to express what they’re feeling, especially when it concerns advanced relationship crap.  After that the little girl was totally out of control and running around screaming in the store.  Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.  She was dressed up in a cute little dress and everyone was no doubt totally annoyed by that awful Spoiled Child of Divorce.  The woman probably spent half the night on a forum for stepmothers who have spoiled manipulative step-daughters.

Nobody seemed to recognize that that 3 year old child had been completely poised and well-behaved before her Father went off to buy the coffees.

E.O. Wilson Talks About His Life During Parents’ Divorce

Sociobiologist, E.O. Wilson, on events surrounding his Parents’ divorce when he was seven:

“Who can say what events formed his own character?  Too many occur in the twilight of early childhood.  The mind lives in half-remembered experiences of uncertain valence, where self-deception twists memory further from truth with every passing year.  But of one event I can be completely sure.  It beggan in the winter of 1937, when my parents, Edward and Inez Freeman Wilson, separated and began divorce proceedings.  Divorce was still unusual at that time and in that part of the country, and there must have been a great deal of gossiping and head-shaking among other family members.  While my parents untangled their lives, they looked for a place that could offer a guarantee of security to a seven-year-old.  They chose the Gulf Coast Military Academy, a private school located on the shore road four miles east of Gulfport, Mississippi.”

Wilson’s Mother takes him to the Military Academy:

“I looked at my military-style cot, the kind you can bounce a coin on when properly made.  I listened to an outline of the daily regimen.  I examined my uniform, patterned after that at West Point.  I shook hands with my roommate, who was inordinately stiff and polite for a seven-year-old.  All dream of languor and boyhood adventure vanished.”

p. 16-17, Chapter 2:  Send Us the Boy, Naturalist by E.O. Wilson.

In the first Chapter there is also discussion but it is seens as an event that is interspersed with Wilson’s beginning interests in the Natural world.  In particular his interest seems to have been triggered by memoy of a jellyfish he sees at an aquarium.  You can sort of see how part of him froze at this age on wonder and how he turned this wonder into his life’s work.

From Page 6:

“There was trouble at home in this season of fantasy.  My parents were ending their marriage that year.  Existence was difficult for them, but not for me, their only child, at least not yet.  I had been placed in the care of a family that boarded one or two boys during months of the summer vacation.  Paradise Beach was paradise truly named for a little boy.  Each morning after breakfast I left the small shorefront house to wander alone in seach of treasures along the strand.  I waded in and out of the dependable warm surf and scrounged for anything I could find in the drift…

“I have no remembrance of the names of the family I stayed with, what they looked like, their ages, or even how may there were.  Most likely they were a married couple and, I am willing to suppose, caring and warmhearted people. They have passed out of my memory, and I have no need to learn their identity.  It was the animals of that place that cast a lasting spell.”

Sounds pretty nice.  But, Wilson goes on to explain later in the chapter how he lost his vision because of lack of parenting.  While out fishing he caught a fish that had a spiny back fin.  One of the spines poked him in the eye. Wilson ignored the pain, the family who was caring for him did nothing about it.

Months later when Wilson was back with his family his eye clouded over. His parents took him to the Doctor who performed what is described as a very traumatic surgery and as a result most of the vision in that eye was lost.  That experience also is described as a key “seed” point in Wilson’s future work.

“I would thereafter celebrate the little things of the world, the animals that can be picked up between thumb and forefinger and brought close for inspection.”

– p. 15

from Chapter 1, “Paradise Beach”

I’ve discussed very briefly Wilson’s life after this.  He spent much of it wondering from caretaker to caretaker, sometimes living with his Mother whose finances were difficult and then living with his Father and Step-Mother.  He says he had a normal boyhood.  And he discusses how he doesn’t remember much of it.

Kind of interesting quote:  “always prone to closing and repeating circles in my life.”  p. 60

CDC Divorce Statistics
January 11, 2010, 6:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tracks statistics for Divorce right alongside the Statistics for Marriage in the United States.

That sounds like a pretty cynical viewpoint of the Institution of Marriage, if you ask my opinion.  At any rate, the numbers seem really low to me.  I think the Pope must be secretly working for the CDC.

It’s interesting that California, the most populated state, sends in statistics for Marriage but not for Divorce.  In California, if this were for any other subject, that would be called “Being in Denial.”  Everyone I’ve ever known who moved to California as a couple ended up getting a divorce.