Spoiled Children of Divorce


Questions They Could Have Asked
October 17, 2011, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Abandonment

Our parents divorces generally occur before we have even had our first date.  Because of our lack of personal experience in relationships we really don’t have a clue what is going on, yet we are observing very advanced levels of human relationship.  I think that some kids can genuinely ignore what is going on with their parents.  Some get totally involved in it.

Modern psychologists say that babies are capable of understanding pretty advanced versions of human relationship from very young ages.  Obviously, they don’t have the words to express what is going on, but they also don’t have the experience.

Splitting a family up is an extremely complex act.  It’s not just about a relationship falling apart and usually involves extreme shifts in every aspect of life.

So I thought up a list of questions that I thought I would have enjoyed being asked at any time during all those god damned years of expensive therapy.  The first list was just a stream of consciousness rambling of questions that came to mind.  The second list was more clinical and thorough:  I tried to ask questions from subjects as shown in the 12 houses of the horoscope.  This is a great start because it could spark some creative thought about which area of life was most affected. Each house not only represents a certain area of life but also a certain set of emotional reactions and mental processes.  Teachers probably just look at test scores.  Parents probably look at behavior.  I truly don’t know what therapists look at other than the clock and their own reflection in the window.

At any rate, I preferred my Stream of consciousness list because it’s easier for me to read. I repeat some stuff because I’m writing straight into the WordPress typewriter and you can only see about 10 lines at a time.  The repeats don’t bother me. Since nobody ever asked these questions I feel I have the right to go over them again and again if I want.

Here it is.

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How old were you when your parents divorced?

Which parent left?

Did that parent improve his/her life in the divorce?

How did the other parent react?

How long did it take for each parent to get over the divorce?  Did they ever get over it?

What’s the angriest memory you have of your parents going through the divorce?

Did everyone cry a lot?

Did their fighting increase or decrease?

Was it sudden or unexpected?

Do you have very clear memories of that time?

Did you feel betrayed or ignored?

Were you relieved?

Were lies uncovered about your parents’ relationships?

Was one of the parents having an affair?

Did it shock you to find out that a parent was having an affair?

Did you feel like you had to provide support for the rejected parent?

Do feelings of shock play a large part in your adult life?

Did the rejected parent go through years of trying to get his or her self esteem back?

What were you doing during that time?

Was mental illness, drugs or alcohol involved in your parents’ behaviors?

Did your parents blame you for their misery?

Did you feel like you needed to fix your parents?

Did you try to help your parents?  What was their reaction?  Did they reject your help or did they use you beyond what you probably should have been expected to?

Did your parents fight during and after the divorce, or did they fight less?

Have they ever stopped fighting?

What are Holidays and Special Occasions like now?  What was the worst Holiday you ever spent?

How long did the divorce proceedings take?

Did you have to go to court?  Did it make you feel important?

How old were your parents?

How old were your siblings?

What was your birth order at the time?

Which of your siblings (you included) is most screwed up because of the divorce?

Do you know how to fix that sibling?
Up to that point what kind of a kid were you?

Up to that point what kind of a family did you have?

Up to that point what was your Mother like?

Up to that point what was your Father like?

Which parent do you take after?

Which parent do each of your birth siblings take after?

Do you worry that you remind the parent that you don’t take after of the parent who you do take after? Does that parent ever mention this when he/she is upset with you?

Who did you live with?

Did both parents stay in your life?

Did you live with a custodial parent and see the other parent once in a while?

Did you switch back and forth between households alot?

Did you move from one house to another when things got too intense?

Did you live with a relative or stay at a boarding school for a while?  Did that make you feel rejected or inferior?

Did you stay in your same house or move?  Did you move a lot?  Do you move a lot as an adult?

Did you stay in your same town or did you leave?

What type of neighborhood did you live in when your parents divorced?  Urban, suburban, small town, etc.

Did this change?

What type of home did you live in?  Apartment rental, condo rental, condo own, house rental, house own, etc.

Did this change?

What was the general ambiance in your home before the divorce?

What was the general ambiance in your home(s) during the divorce?

What was the general ambiance in your home(s) after the divorce?

Are your parents happier now?

Did your parents ever ask you how you felt?  Would you have had an answer?

How often did you see your non-custodial parent?

Did your household chores change?

Did you have pets?  Did they stay with you?

Who were your friends when your family split up?  Did you have a best friend?  Did you hang out in a group?

Who were your friends when the divorce was final?

Did they ask you about your family?  Did they feel sorry for you?  Did you avoid talking about it so they wouldn’t feel sorry for you?

Who was your teacher when your family split up?

What grade were you in?

Did you ever avoid discussing what was going on at home because you knew Social Services would be called?

What kinds of things did people say to you about your parents divorce which bothered or hurt you?

What kinds of hobbies did you have when your parents split up?

Did you develop special interests or talents as a way of escaping what was going on at home?

Did your grades at school change?

Did you go through a rebellious phase?  If so at what age?  Did your relationships with your parents change during that time?  You became closer to one over the other or something like that?

Did you suffer any mental or emotional problems?

What type of relationship did your parents have?  Did they repeat that relationship with new spouses or did they fix the problems?

How old were they during the divorce?

What type of work did your parents do?

Did financial status change?

Did you have a dead beat dad?

Did financial status change if a parent remarried?

Did you worry more about money?

Did you help your parents shop for food?

Did you listen to your parents talk about their problems?  Did you sit in your room in order to avoid listening to the problems?

Do you enjoy listening to people talk about their problems as an adult?

Did you help your parents make major decisions?

How are you at making decisions as an adult?

Did you become closer to each parent or more distant?

Did your Mother date?

Did she involve you in getting ready for dates, answering phones, opening door, discussing boyfriends?

How was she around your own dates?

Do you feel that your attitude towards dating was changed in any way as a result of being exposed to your parents’ relationships?

Of your Mother’s boyfriends who did you like the most?  Did your Mother marry this person?  If not, did you feel a loss when the person disappeared?

If your Mother remarried, what age were you?  What was your first impression of your Mother’s husband?  Did you bond with him?  Did you resent his interference?  Could you rely on him as a Father?  Did your Biological Father get along with step-father?

Describe your relationship with your step-father.  What do you like most?  What do you like least?  What role did he play in your life?

Did your Mother divorce your step-father?

Did your Mother marry and divorce multiple times?  What memories stand out about your Mother’s boyfriends?

If your Father remarried, what age were you?  What was your first improession of your Father’s wife?  Did you bond with her?  Did you resent her interference?  Could you rely on her as a Mother?  Did your Biological Mother get along with step-mother?

Describe your relationship with your step-mother.  What do you like most?  What do you like least?  What role did she play in your life?

Did your Father divorce your step-mother?

Did anyone blame you for their marital problems in their new marriages?

Which of your parents is most supportive?

If something goes wrong in your life who can you call?

Did you act out?  How did your families react to this?  Did you see a therapist?  Were you medicated?  Did you change homes?  Did you play off their guilt?  Did you wish that they felt guilt?

Did either or any (step parents included) parent use you in order to get back at the other parent?  Did you feel useful because of this, or used?

Did you have step-siblings?  Did you feel comfortable around them?  What was your birth order by age when compared with your step-siblings?

How old were you when you went on your first date?

How old were you when you first had sex?

Were you comfortable with your parents’ sex lives?

Are you comfortable with your own sex life?

Do you trust people?

Do you bond really easily with people and then regret it?

Do you look for family in your friends?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Do you value human relationships?

Do you fear close relationships?

Do you feel safe in relationships?

Do you feel like you know how a relationship will end even before it’s begun?

Do you put yourself in unsafe  places and with unsafe people?

Did your family eat meals together before the divorce?

Did your family eat meals together after the divorce?

Did your diet change by quality or type after the divorce?

Who prepared the meals?

Do you like to cook?

Do you eat healthy food now as an adult?

What was your general mood before the divorce?

What was your general mood after the divorce?

How did you do in school before the divorce?

How did you do in school after the divorce?

If there was a change, did anyone do anything about it?

Did both parents work?  Did they like their jobs?

Do they show interest in your work and career?

Did you follow in a parents’ footsteps in career? or in relationships?  or in health habits?  or in a child raising?

Do you handle angry feelings well?

Do you find it easy to say “No.”

Do you find it easy to reject people from your life?

Do you handle feelings of jealousy well?

Do you feel that both your parents are happier or unhappier after the divorce?  Mother?  Father?

Do you feel that both of your parents have a better life after the divorce?  Mother?  Father?  How is the life better or worse?

Do you secretly wish that they hadn’t divorced?

Did either parent remarry?

What age were you when your Mother and Father remarried?

How long had they known your step-parent before they married?

If you didn’t like your step-parent, did you say anything about it or did you just get moody because you knew you were powerless over the situation?

If you didn’t like your step-parent, would your parent have changed his/her mind about the marriage?  Would you have wanted him/her to?

As an adult, are you comfortable discussing your parents’ divorce?

As an adult, does anyone ever ask you what it was like growing up in divorce?  If they do, how do you feel about answering?  Do they only ask because they are going through a divorce themselves and trying to figure out what to do with the kids?

How was Discipline handled in your family before the divorce?  Which parent did the disciplining?

How was Discipline handled in your families after the divorce?  Did your parents agree with each other?

Are you often accused of being manipulative by people because you grew up in divorce?

Do your parents still fight with each other?

Are Holidays always hell?

What type of family member were you before the divorce?

What type of family do you wish you had?  Do you ever think about this?

What type of marriage did your parents have?

What type of divorce did your parents have?  Did it happen suddenly?   Did you expect it?

Did you side with one of your parents over the other?  Did you feel guilty about that?

Which parent do you most take after?

Did your parents compare you to the parent they were divorcing?

Do you feel that for a time you were parenting your parents?

Did you feel embarassed by the divorce?

Was there violence in the home before the divorce?

Was there violence in the home after the divorce?  More or less than before?

Do you feel that your parents were better off because of the divorce?

Do you feel that your siblings were better off because of the divorce?

Do you feel that you are better off because of the divorce?

If you can remember, How long do you feel it took for your parents to get over the divorce and move on?  Were they eventually happier?

Do you feel like you are on the sidelines watching other people live their lives?

Are you proud that you don’t come from a normal household?

Did your parents date?  Did you mind watching your parents date?  Did you like giving relationship advice?

Did your parents remarry?  If so, how many times?  Were each of the marriages/divorce different?

Do you feel that you were exposed to your parents’ sex lives too  dramatically in any way?

Are you comfortable with your own sex life?

Did your parents involve you in helping them to make decisions?

Do you have trouble making decisions as an adult?

Do you feel that you are better off or worse off because of your parents’ divorce?  Or pretty much the same?

Did both parents stay in your life as much as you wanted?

Who was your major caretaker?

Did housing change?  better or worse?

Did financial status change?  better or worse?

Did your diet change?  better or worse?

Do you like to live by a schedule?

Do you like complicated family relationships?

Do you like coming from an unorthodox family?

Did your relationship with siblings change?  Did they become closer or more distant?  Have they changed as an adult?

Did you have any changes in health during the divorce?

Did you go through any major traumas of your own such as major accidents, loss of friend through death, health problems?  What did each parent do?  Did they work together or continue to fight?  Did one take over complete control?  Did one feel rejected and disappear?

Do you fear relationships as a result of your parents’ divorce?  More cautious?  More impulsive?  More cynical?

Do you wish you had run away?

Did any relatives, neighbors, mentors, adult friends of the family ever ask you how you were doing?

Were you sent away for a while?

Do you compare yourself to people who come from intact families and wonder what the hell they are complaining about?

If you are an adult do you feel you have any residual emotional problems directly related to the divorce?

Did your parents remarry?  This leads to lots of new questions.  Were you given enough time to adjust to the new parent/kids or were you ignored or rushed?  Did you like/dislike new parent?  Did new parent like/dislike you?  Did housing change?

Did your relationship with your Mother change?  Do you remember?

Did your relationship with your Father change?  Do you remember?

What are your best memories from childhood?

What are your worst memories from childhood?

Do you hate schedules?

Do you wish you had acted differently as a child?

Do you think you would have turned out pretty much the same if your parents hadn’t divorced?

Do you feel that your parents tried to help you through the difficult times?

Did you go to college?

Did you finish?

Did your siblings go to college and finish?

Do you eat regular meals as an adult?

Do you trust people?

Did your parents date?  If they didn’t, did that bother you?  If they did, did that bother you?

If others ask about your parents divorce do you answer?

Have you experienced death of a parent as well?

Who took care of the parent at that point?

Were you disinherited or cut out of a will because of dynamics from step-families and divorce?


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is a great blog. I hope it gets the attenion it deserves. There is far too little said on the subject of divorce from the point of view of the children involved. Your blog also provides valuable insight into the (ahem) shortcomings of the psychotherapy racket.

Comment by Allen

Thank you Allen. Thanks for visiting.

Comment by wristwatch




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