Spoiled Children of Divorce

Visitation Season
May 27, 2011, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Vacations

I suddenly realized what a stressor Summer Vacation must be for Step-parents. Maybe even more than it is for step-children because step-children at least get to have Summer. Or, at least I think they still do. I know that Summers are different now than they were when I was a kid.

I know Summer is a stressor for normal parents who have to change their schedules, pay for extra child care if they work, etc.  Stay at home parents have to give up their schedules even. I remember my Mother once mentioned how she had observed how happy the Mother’s faces were as they were dropping their kids off for first day of school and of how grumpy the teachers looked.

For a non-custodial step-parent it would be total hell. That parent must face a whole month or whatever space of time, with a strange child or children in the house. That’s annoying and would be a real compromise. I assume that non-custodial step-parents may have been the least aware of what they were walking in to when they married someone with a child. I mean, it really helps to love a kid in order to be involved in the parenting thing. Love is blind and you really have to point a blind eye towards the kinds of crap that kids will drag you in to.

The step-parent, especially if a step-mother, has all kinds of extra work and has to deal with a child who probably doesn’t acknowledge her existence.  The home is usually the woman’s territory.  

From what I read on this and on other blogs, I think that step-mothers don’t really understand how frightening the visit to the strange home is for the child, because the child is either acting very happy to see the other parent or is acting out.  But, that child has just been ripped from his other parent and is in a strange home.  There are loyalty problems. The child has no one to confide in because he or she has witnessed the divorce and knows how fighting goes. Fighting for a child of divorce may end in another break-up. Either way, a Child of Divorce has very little to lose through fighting because he/she is used to loss.

The child has either left a parent who is very sad to let go of him or is relieved to have a month off.  Or both.  And then must face seeing the non-custodial parent who is basically more like an aunt or an uncle and the strange family who he must pretend to be on intimate family terms with.  Plus, it probably is fun.  He probably does get to spend the whole month doing lots of fun activities in order to make up for lost time. 

I won’t go into what it must be like to have to be in a different household because I don’t know.   Since my parents divorced when I was 14 I had real Summers for most of my childhood.  And I spent them with friends. I didn’t have to give a thought to this extra awkwardness and lack of stability. After my parents divorced my friends who I had grown up with pretty much ceased being my friends and I ended up with completely different friends. They stayed in the background in my life and continued on with other kids from intact families.

I probably wouldn’t have minded traveling to another town to visit a parent for a while. It would have been more interesting to be in a new place and I wouldn’t have had to give such a detailed report back to my Mother about places and people she already knew. 

Veterans website for PTSD
May 26, 2011, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Veterans Affairs National CEnter has published a website on how to understand and treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is an app to download for a self treatment program which Children of Divorce can use since we are on our own in trying to deal with the extreme trauma of DIvorce and separate households and bullying step parents. There’s an interesting article on PTSD in the June 2011 issue of More magazine.

you can find more information here: PTSD.va.gov. Sorry I’m still trying to learn how to use apple keyboard so can’t link or italicise,etc.

Basically it sounds like researchers don’t have a clue how to treat. They have found that the sooner a person gets support the better his chances of fighting long term problems. Children in divorce can’t afford treatment and are also not free to speak out about the situation because the parents are already so screwed up. The kids just won’t have exposure to supportive people until after the parents get their acts together which on average takes 2-5 years. Step families take about 7 years to settle down probably because that’s how long it takes for the kids to grow up and move out.

Psychopathic Parents

There are no articles for children on learning how to tell if their parents are psychopaths, but most Children of Divorce know that if their parents get divorced they will inevitably hear one or both parents say that the other parent is a psychopath.  That’s just part of the Divorce Party Chit Chat.  And, of course, one doesn’t need coaching from one’s parents to understand that one’s Stepparents are psychopaths…  And, to be honest, it’s really frightening to be told that you are just like the psychopath….

Anyhoo, another great article from Huffington Post written for spouses to understand exactly what are the DSM qualification for Psychopathology.

I forgot already what the qualities of being a sociopath are.  I think there was something about how they appear normal but have Grandiose attitudes and were bullies as children. They appear normal…..  oh man, it gets so complicated.  And they sound a lot like Bipolar Disorder back in the day when Bipolar Disorder sounded like Bipolar Disorder.

A spouse will be very concerned if he or she suspects that his or her spouse has anti-social tendencies.  Of course the spouse will file for Divorce.  Usually, this has no effect on whether or not the child will go hang out with that spouse for week-ends, or even a month over the Summer.  Or maybe it will.  Maybe the child can no longer visit the ousted parent. I bet psychopaths are better in that regard.  Since they don’t care about anything they will be more likely to not continue with a 10 year custody battle.  Or maybe not.

There’s no advice for children on how to survive those fun week-end visits with Mom or Dad who made everything possible because she or he was a psychopath.  Psychopaths are fun and charming and everyone likes them and generally they are not bossy or aggressive.

So I thought up some questions for 20 years down the line when Canadian Researchers fund some programs to look into this because we all know that Americans couldn’t care less:

How do you get over the low self-esteem which comes from being told that one of your parents is a psychopath?  What are the chances that you can rise above your genetics?  According to the geneticists there is only one physical illness which is determined 100 percent by one’s genetics (it’s the one that Woody Guthrie died from, forget the name).  But, to hear a psychologist talk, mental illness is not as flexible and genetics are the driving force behind all that ails mankind.

How do you find the information about how to not act like a psychopath?  After all, the psychopath doesn’t care that he/she is a psychopath so probably isn’t going to steer you in any sort of direction otherwise.  And, obviously, the parent who claims to be the normal one jumped right into a stupid relationship with the psychopath and will probably do so over and over again so has issues of his/her own.

How do you begin to enjoy the company of Normal people who are so boring, after all?

Should you avoid the psychopathic parent?  Should you hate the psychopathic parent?  How is it possible to love the psychopathic parent?  Do you feel lucky if you don’t look or act like the psychopathic parent?  Do you feel scornful of and superior to your siblings who do?

Should you ask your friends to tell you when you’re acting like a psychopath?  Or will they stop being your friends if they think you or your siblings or your parent is a psychopath?

Should you warn your teachers that you are genetically inclined towards psychopathic behaviors and to keep all sharp objects out of reach of your mean little hands?

What are the statistics that your parents won’t jump right into another marriage right away with a psychopath?  This is cause for great anxiety for a child.

If your psychopathic parent is an addict then will he/she stop being a psychopath in the unlikely events that he/she sobers up?  Or is the addiction just an excuse to hide behind?

How do you deal with being blamed for everything that goes wrong in your psychopath parents’ life?  Or the normal parents’ life for that matter.   Of course, step-parents will blame you for anything and everything because they didn’t marry you, they married your parent and you just came along so shut up and be grateful.

How do you know if only one of your parents is a psychopath?  Maybe the normal parent is actually the true psychopath?

What does it do to your personality and character to have to wonder about this crap over and over again when really you should just be doing chores, doing homework and out playing with your friends and not hiding from parents and worrying about money?

Would you rather have a rich psychopathic parent or a poor, exhausted but normal parent?  Divorced parents don’t really have much time for their kids either way so maybe it doesn’t really matter at all.  Parents have their own lives to live.  They both say they love you more than anything else in the world, isn’t that enough?

Why isn’t anyone protecting you from this shit?

Article About Siblings During Divorce

Here’s a great article from Huffington Post:

“Do Siblings Help Each Other When Parents Divorce?” by Judith Wallerstein.

Childhood Amnesia
May 11, 2011, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

New research out of Canada gives explanations for why childhood memories fade.  They say that traumatic events are almost never remembered.  Or, at least, not consciously.


China and Divorce
May 11, 2011, 1:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The younger generation in China is experiencing a rising divorce rate.  I figure this is because of the increased financial prosperity but also wonder if this is related to the fact that most younger Chinese at this point are only children.  Brings up a lot of interesting and unique concerns.  What’s it like trying to cooperate in a marriage if you are used to being the only one.  The only way to have a sibling in China is through parents’ remarriage.  Is the “only child” law related to each parent or to each marriage?