Spoiled Children of Divorce


“Being Flynn”

A couple of months ago I saw a really incredible but disturbing movie called Being Flynn.  It’s based on the real life story of a son who works in a homeless shelter and reconnects with his Father who comes in for help.  Robert DeNiro plays the Father and Julianne Moore plays the Mother.  Paul Dano plays the son.   Don’t know what he looks like in other roles but here he actually looks like someone who comes from divorce.  His posture, his attitude.  I stated before that I think that people from divorce generally have much different personalities from people who aren’t from divorce but never really thought that I attribute a certain type of physical look.

The original book on which the movie based is written by Nick Flynn and was originally titled Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.  Sorry, I’m very behind on my reading.  Flynn’s Mother committed suicide so his early life was extremely difficult.  Did I find his birth date?  Probably.  The astrology will be pretty interesting, if not beyond understanding.

Interesting website for the movie here.  Although this is a great movie I don’t recommend seeing it if you’re going through a difficult phase and especially if you’ve ever had to deal with suicide or homelessness or have known anyone who has.

Oh yeah, although I haven’t finished it, I really like the style of Flynn’s writing.



Banning the “D” Word

Okay this is too much.  I thought that New Yorkers were intelligent.   I thought they liked to talk about stuff.  I thought that it was only the Man-Childs and Baby-Womans of the California Dreamin’ crowd who couldn’t put up with the feelings of real live children.

But, no Edna, the New York City Schools have decided to join the herd.  For religious reasons.

CNN reports that the public school systems in New York are planning on banning the word “Divorce” from all school tests.

For one, as any Child of Divorce knows, talking about one’s parents’ divorce is simply not done.  People can’t handle the info.  Shrinks especially. Except when discussing how those kids are so spoiled, they get everything they want, you know, because of the guilt.

For two, and this is because of “For one”, the word Divorce probably doesn’t exist on the tests in the first place because Children of Divorce probably didn’t graduate from College and so did not write the tests.

The kids now have my express permission to write “The Death of my Parents’ Marriage” in stead of Divorce as answers on all of their written tests.  When the teacher wants to discuss your suicidal feelings please write “The Death of my Parents’ Marriage destroyed my desire to live because I now know that the Love that they profess for me is a shallow and transitory thing and could change on a dime if I screw up in any way.  I may even have to pay alimony if I complain.”

Maybe Divorce is more Scorpio than Uranian.  You put it in that clump along with other House 8 social secrets that nobody can talk about.  Namely:  Sex, Death and Taxes.  Rather:  Daddy’s Girlfriends’ Big Boobs; Mommy’s Alcoholism, Depression and Early Death from Destructive Lifestyle choices;  Tax Deduction #1 and Tax Deduction #2; the School Administrators’ deep and darkest desires to silence all feelings except their own. And the biggest of all:  “Power Trips.”

Not only is “Divorce” the big elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, but, so are the kids.  They’re just kids.  They’ll get over it.  Don’t let them ever, ever talk about it, at least.

The words on the list of 50 banned words are said to be “Loaded.”  Loaded, as in guns?  Read the article and be prepared to drop your jaw wide open in disbelief.  Here’s the paragraph which explains why “Divorce” can’t be allowed.

Halloween may suggest paganism; divorce may conjure up uneasy feelings for children in the midst of a divorce within their family. One phrase that may surprise many, the term “Rock ‘n’ Roll” was on the “avoid” list.



Death vs. Divorce
February 6, 2012, 12:17 am
Filed under: Abandonment, Adolescence, Authority, Blame, Death of a Parent, Denial, Guilt, Leaving the "Nest"

Which is worse? Death of a parent?  Or Divorce?  The experts have said that the latter is, but the psych community is working hard to say that’s not true.  So, some courts mandate parenting classes and we’re all hoping that kids these days aren’t going through what we went through.

There’s a book published by the Hospice Foundation of America called Living with Grief: Children and Adolescents (edited by Kenneth J. Doka and Amy S. Tucci).  The parts I’ve read are really excellent, as is probably everything that Hospice does. It’s a thick book.  There are 420 pages in here.  This is obviously a very well researched subject. Growing up in Divorce is not.  You can’t talk about how screwed up the kid is when both parents are still alive I guess.

I went through both of these experiences, Death and Divorce, and I have to say that both were bad, but the problems associated with the Divorce were far worse.  I suppose one of the big differences is the sense that Choice is involved.  There is no choice with Death.  It is decided for you by a higher sense of life.  There is always the feeling that Choice is involved in Divorce.  So, if it turns out that the Divorce causes pain, then it seems to be a form of abuse that the parent inflicts on the child.  In probably most Divorce there is the sense that not only is the pain extreme, but that it never ends.  With each family function the old crap comes up.  With each adult relationship the old crap comes up.  I suspect that it is very helpful experience for raising your own children while going through a divorce because you already know what kills them the most.

Maybe things have changed during the last 5 years or so, but during my first therapy sessions years ago I was told that Divorce is a lot like Death.  It’s loss.  You grieve it and then you move on.  I never understood what they were talking about.  I hadn’t lost either of my parents.  I was attached to them like a ball and chain and was reminded of that a lot.

Then during my last therapy sessions about 6 years ago I was told that growing up in Divorce has nothing to do with anything an adult experiences later on in life.  The Psychiatrist warned me that she herself was divorced and a single Mother and that we probably wouldn’t do the talkie talk.  She sent me to someone who worked with angry teenage kids.  I was in my early 40s.  This person treated me with a barrage  of  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in which everything I said was argued with in order to show me how illogical all of my thinking was.  I believe this technique is called “Reframing” but may be misinformed about that.  Kids from split families spend most of their home life doing reframing.  At any rate,  the therapist went on a 3 week vacation and I noticed how my anxiety levels had abated.  So I quit therapy for good.  I’m not any better but at least I don’t have to reframe my life into a lie each week.

So, I picked up this hospice book on grieving in order to see how the nice people care for the young. The only decent therapy I ever had was the grief group I went to after my parents died (run by a religious person, not a therapist) and browsed through it and noticed that I don’t think that grieving a parent through death is much at all like grieving the loss which comes from divorce.

Maybe this is obvious to everyone out there.  I’m just going to chat my way through some of what I read.  I am hoping for more definitions and maybe some clarifications.  (Mostly this post has become way too long.)

On page 146 of Living With Grief, there’s a section called “How can I help a child build skills to cope with the death?”  Coping seems to be the only thing that any parent going through a divorce has asked me about.  How can I help get the kids through this so they won’t be totally screwed up?  Then they describe how screwed up the ex- is, that they are BiPolar but on meds so couldn’t possibly still have a problem, and I can’t say another word.

That only happens occasionally, most parents purse their lips and change the subject.  Usually this reminds them to start talking about themselves.  They aren’t’ going to revisit that awful time of their lives.  Life is too short.

Anyhow, coping skills are always a great place to start with learning how to deal with any change in life.  You can’t argue with that.  So, how to cope with Death while in childhood?  Can we use techniques and insights thusly gained to learn how cope with Divorce during childhood?

The book says that Death is about permanent Loss.  A grieving child will never see that parent again.  How to help the child cope?

Divorce, as I said before is not permanent loss of a person.  Divorce is weird in this way because you never know if the child will ever see one of the parents again.  Parents come.  And Parents Go.  It’s not part of the plan, but after 20 or 30 years that’s what one will observe through hindsight.

Parents going through divorce are sometimes escaping wildly damaging marriages.  most often they are escaping boredom.  How do we lump these two sets of family types into one category of reaction?  We don’t.   What we seem to do is to ignore how different the situations are.

Divorce can be said to be permanent loss, but permanent loss of what? One or both parents may emotionally cave and decide that parenting isn’t for them.  A relative may take over.  Or both parents may fight over custody for the child during the rest of the child’s childhood.  Or, most often, one parent will recede and even disappear from the child’s life.  Both parents may stick around and work with each other and share the child back and forth weekly.  I say, if you think that your shared dog can not stand this much change in habit then how can your child handle it but what do I know?

Each situation will differ.  There’s so much to lose here, and yet, nothing really is lost.  The parent who disappears may reappear later on in the child’s life. This is a completely different emotional trauma from the initial divorce but brings all the feelings of betrayal, abandonment, rejection and mistrust straight to the fore.

The child of divorce has to completely separate his life between being a child of a marriage and being a child of two different people.  There is a huge difference there.  That’s a mighty big mental task for such a little person. Actually, it’s probably more difficult for a teenager or an adult because they will have experienced the parents as a single unit, such as it was.  The teenager will probably internalize the fears with a level of anger that will be confused with teenage angst and might never be able to break free from them.  A teenager whose parent has just died will at least have neighbors visiting for a couple of days who are wishing him well.  I can’t go beyond understanding anything else in that situation.

Then, there is the parental dating.  And then there are the parental remarriages.  The parent may have a whole new family in which he/she hasn’t made the same mistakes.  That’s great, but where does it leave the rejected child from the previous marriage?  I think I mentioned before about listening to the famous writer speak about being the child from the second marriage.  In public, in front of an adoring audience, she taunted and belittled her half siblings for not being able to drop their old wounds after all these years.  That’s sensible in a way, especially if you aren’t the one who endured your entire childhood in the rejected, poverty stricken 1st family.

These ideas might never occur to a person from an intact family, but they are probably in the back of the mind of the child who has to deal with such situations.  Maybe not.  We’ll never know.  Children of Divorce are a silent, practical crowd.

There certainly is loss of stability in home life.  Divorce tosses the child around from house to house.  From date night to date night.  Scheduling nightmare.  Lost keys.  Little suitcases printed with dinosaurs.  Sleeping in guest rooms.  The child will develop a defense with the outside world in making things look okay.  May act out in order to expose their feelings to the outside world which refuses to look. The child is either stoic and wants to appear as if there is a stable home, or that he doesn’t care that there isn’t, or that it’s fun to visit Mom in rehab.  When you visit Mom in rehab you know something that the other kids at school don’t know.  Children are mostly happy.  Childhood is mostly about play.  There is a natural coping within most humans, especially in children.  Usually the child who is better at avoidance and denial will succeed through this part of his life.  He will learn to be loveable.  The child will still have a home, but maybe he will have a lesser home.  He can’t complain because you can’t complain if your life depends on it.  Hell, some children will have two homes and will be called spoiled for that amazing experience.

There is loss of finances and loss of social standing.   Single Mothers are shunned by married women who don’t want to worry about having their husbands stolen.  This is true if through death or through divorce so there is a similarity here between the two versions of Loss.  They may be considered needy by the neighbors and friends.  They usually don’t make as much money as men and work at jobs that are unrewarding.  So they struggle with self esteem in the way that most Mothers from Intact families do.  Single Fathers, when sober, are generally embraced by neighbors, etc.  their wages are higher, often they have higher self esteem because they have rewarding social life.  Today they have custody of their kids more often.  Sometimes they do this because it’s cheaper than paying Child Support.   I think that’s a great thing especially when there’s no step-mother anxiety.

With all this exposure to parents who celebrate how much Choice they have, Children of Divorce have much more freedom that Children from Intact families do.  They can do a lot of stuff at home and no one will question it.  They have a lot more privacy as well because no one is paying quite as much attention.

There might be loss of a sibling if that sibling goes to live with the other parent.  Often the siblings become closer as a way of maintaining some semblance of real family.  Often this can fall apart later on in life when dealing with death of the parents.

Children of Divorce tend to have much more intimate relationships with their parents.  They have to be confidantes.  They have to help with housework and shopping.  Then there may be loss of privacy and intimacy if the parent remarries without letting the child adapt to the new strangers he/she will be living with.   The child knows he/she doesn’t come first, or even second.

There is loss of childhood as a child is witness to all sorts of adult issues.  I remember reading somewhere about a study (I mentioned it somewhere on this blog) about how people tend to take their first marriage seriously, and after that they are much more concerned with finding people who they share similar tastes in pleasure activities with.  So maybe this means that they will play with the children more.  Or maybe it is just intrusion into the child’s secret, magical world of play.

There may be loss of friends.  The child may become a burden on the neighbors or friends’ families who try to take him in.  The child may become withdrawn and isolated.  Or the child may just stay out with his friends late at night, or by himself.

There might not be as much food in the refrigerator.  And there might not be someone at home to cook it.  That’s a loss. This would occur with death as well.  There is definitely a need for study of nutrition in this regard. Food can become a big part of Loss in a family.  There is no grief ritual about bringing food to a divorced parent.

I suppose that Divorce is more like a backward version of Death.  In most cases, you appear diseased to the outside world after the event, rather than before it.

I remember reading a story in Stephanie Stall’s book The Love They Lost about a boy who felt that he didn’t suffer as much from the divorce because his Mother was determined to keep the family (sans dad) together by maintaining meal time every night.  It so happened he would have been going through his first progressed Lunar Opposition.  Moon  represents Mother and Food and Eating so I suppose that this was a great way to help a child of that level of age development in particular.   He was getting what he needed at the time so he held no deep resentments.  It would be good for him to try to protect himself from some sort of unconscious backlash during his progressed Lunar Returns either way.

The book says that a hard part of the  Grief process is dealing with Loss of Control over events in life. Obviously children who naturally need to be in control will struggle more than those who go with the flow.  So, I suppose that it’s important to look for particular personality needs of each individual child.  Little control freaks may grow up to be super control freaks.  Or they just may not be able to handle taking risks later on at all.

Death, unless caused by murder, is nobody’s fault, of course.  In Divorce, blame shoots out all over the place.  Divorce is the parents’ fault and they must learn to live with this.  If they don’t, of course, they will blame each other and the kids.  Children going through 1st Saturn Return Cycle transits will probably internalize this stuff more.  Perhaps also children going through Venus Return transits as well.

With divorce there is also loss of control over the actual event but probably it is felt just as much over people and relationships.  If you learn nothing else from divorce you learn that you have no idea what is really going on in someone else’s mind.  From the kids’ point of view,  there might be a strong desire to get the parents back together by acting out.  This is natural.

The child can try to separate a parent from a step-parent by acting out and manipulating.  This will happen to the child who has lost a parent.  Children of Divorce often have twice as many parental units going at the same time which makes for a more complicated situation.  And, of course, step-parents will often do their share of acting out.  For some reason, the divorced parent never seems to be the reactive one in these relationships which is something that I can’t figure an explanation for.  And that’s definitely another story.  And, of course, all the blame is put on the child eventually, especially in the teenage years.  The parents, those of the Second and Third Marriages who are seeking pleasure in relationships rather than sacrifice (serious stuff and no fun at all), are stuck in their own teenage years will project this on to the child.

I don’t understand how remarried parents stand back from this and watch their child writhing in emotional pain without ever seeking an explanation.  Just let the kid ride it out.  Often, I suspect, all it would take would be a couple of honest comments such as, “I’m sorry.” and “I’m trying to include you in my quest for the perfect life and I guess I misjudged how you would feel about that.”  and “I hope to work with your other bio parent in order to lessen the stress which has been caused for you.”   But, parental guilt and authoritarian impatience is an amazing thing, especially when it is so bound up with one’s love life and own selfish needs.

The Hospice book on grief  talks about Intervention.  It says that no children will suffer from therapy or intervention in trying to deal with loss from death.I believe that the Hospice grief counseling I received was either free or inexpensive.  Therapy for divorce is freakishly expensive and, in my experience, hurts.  And, if you can’t express yourself then you must not be feeling anything.  You will simply have more deja vu experiences in relationships when you are older than your peers.  “I feel like I’ve been through this before….”

In grief counseling, according to the book, it is probably best to try to focus on “At Risk children”.  There is discussion about how some children will react immediately and some won’t react for years. So determining who is At Risk is difficult.

I’m not sure if therapists try to determine which children might be more At Risk than others in Divorces.  By the time a kid seeks help it’s probably too late anyway.  The Astrology seems to show clearly how a child might be at risk.  If you divorce during your child’s first prog. Moon and Saturn squares and oppositions you are putting that child at high risk.  Moon and Saturn directly affect the parenting and home life expression from the child’s point of view.  You can make up by making sure that the child receives some semblance of what these planets rule, such as the case about the boy whose Mother insisted on maintaining mealtime.  Moon and Saturn can lapse into depression and emotional problems and deep insecurities about how to deal with failure and success.  If you divorce during the Jupiter transit cycles the child may act out and then seem okay.  Jupiter is the planet of optimism and expansion.  He’s sort of the connector energy between the playfulness of childhood and the optimistic adult who looks forward to what’s next.  On the flip side, Jupiter internalizes anxiety like nobody’s business.  It will put up a convincing facade.  It will express by overdoing or having unrealistic expectations.

In the end, maybe Linguistics is the best way to determine how a child will react to a divorce.  How can a 3 year old who is exposed to Daddy’s jealous girlfriend, truly focus on this issue until she is much older and has been through a few divorces herself? How does she find the words to express how she felt when Step-Mom did her first catty put down?  How does a teenager who is exposed to a Father’s rejection because he’s got a new family, how does that teenager absorb that into the self esteem issues that teenagers are going through both physically and socially?  Perhaps there is a way to understand how a 3 year old with a 3 year old’s understanding of relationships and limited vocabulary be able to process what its parents are doing.  Maybe there is a way to calculate vocabulary and grammar skills of the 3 year old and balance with vocabulary and grammar skills, along with life experience of the 32 year old parent along with the levels of the 25 year old jealous girlfriend and come up with a sum of what exactly is going on in the child’s head and to understand typical emotional fallout for such trauma.  Ridiculous?  I agree.

At any rate, grief therapists say to let the child know that the death is not his fault. This is a strong component in divorce therapy as well.  I’ve personally found that it may only apply to a very limited amount of children.  The 2 year old who seem to really need to hear it (they are just finishing up returns of planets Mars and Venus who are responsible for relationships matters).  Older children will probably side with one parent and blame the other parent.  He or she will know who is shirking responsibility.  Won’t understand the whole story behind everything, but will know where someone is messing up.  Teenagers are critical of their parents.  It’s part of the individuation process.  Where does all this extra blame stuff have a place to go then?

Blame and Guilt is such a big and obvious problem in Divorce families and Step-Families that I’m not even going to go there with that idea.  Parents will in the end blame the kids if the kids cause problems.

The grief book says that helping a child to maintain self esteem after a death is important.  At this point interactions with family members can be negative because everyone is going through the loss.  Parenting can be harsh for a while.  Counselors are advised to deal with this issue through the technique of “re-framing.”  You say things like “Things may be bad now, but they will get better.”  Haha.  Again, I don’t think that this will work for divorce.  Kids going through Divorce are doing pretty much nothing but “Reframing.”  Look at things from Mommy’s point of view.  Look at things from Daddy’s point of view.  Grandma?  GrandPa?  Older brother?  Little sister?  Reframe.  Reframe.  Reframe. Everyone is seeing things from a completely different perspective.  Most are looking at their lives from angles that they themselves have never looked at them before.  We just have to get through this adjustment period where we’re all in shock.  Are we all happy now?

Tell that to a kid who has to cope with a depressed mother who is committing suicide everything 3 months.  Parental suicide is a huge second rejection for the child who realizes that he’s not worth sticking around for.

Divorce for most children of divorce is all about turning 18 and getting out of the house.  Many of the children of divorce just want to have simple lives.  Love for many of them is an extremely complex neurological overload.  They know that Love isn’t permanent.  Their parents don’t love each other.  Their parents could stop loving them at any moment.  They might do things to test the parents in that case.  Probably they don’t.  They may need more reassurance.  They may become obnoxious if given too much reassurance because most humans do.  Often they have to think of their parents’ love on very flexible terms.  Their status within family will have to change over and over again with each new relationship the parents get in to.   This last one is similar to children who have lost a parent from death.  But, those children will still have only one family unit.

In divorce,  often the parents use their kids.  Actually this seems to be addressed by most experts.  But, who in divorce can afford to seek the advice of experts?  A single parent, though, is going to end up using the child as a substitute friend, shrink, housecleaner, cook, parent, etc.  Kids will play along.  Actually, if they sense that this is play maybe it really won’t hurt them as much.  Breaking away from these relationships is extremely difficult for young adults.  Because of the divorce it is often handled the same way as the divorce was.  The removal will be more like a cold hearted rejection that involves guilt and worry rather than opportunity to move out and into one’s own life.

Kids might be aware that their friends’ lives are a bit easier or simpler.   Everything is chaotic and or becomes a scheduling nightmare.  Divorce home life is simply not as easy as their friends’.  Probably the odd behavior is a good thing.  A life lesson on how to cope.

Children of Divorce might benefit, however, by having a very close and intimate relationship with a parent.  This may or may not be healthy, but is generally considered unhealthy by outsiders.

The grief book discusses briefly how children in various stages of Child Development react to death.  Most of the research is from the 1990s.  According to researchers Speece and Brent, whoever they are, there are 4 components to understanding grief:

Universality:  The idea that death is inevitable and happens to everyone.

Nonfunctionality:  The idea that all life functions cease at death.

Irreversibility:  The idea that when things die they do not come back to life.

Causality:  Ability to understand objective and biological causes.

Looking at this one can easily see how different Divorce is from Death.

The authors say that young children understand Universality and Causality.  Interesting that Nonfunctionality isnt’ part of the deal, but perhaps children have a naturally religious point of view.  Maybe I wrote down the notes wrong.

But in terms of applying this Grief therapy to a Divorce situation it really shows some interesting stuff.  Most of these show that children are concerned with the physical understanding of Death.  How the body works and why the person isn’t there anymore.  Universality and Causality have nothing to do with dealing with Loss through Divorce because nobody dies.  Nonfunctionality can be argued by anyone who believes in reincarnation which supposedly children are very good at understanding.  (Ian Stevenson’s research).

The big one that I suppose Children of Divorce have to deal with is Irreversality.  Some kids have known all along that their parents should get divorced so they don’t spend the next 5 years hoping their parents will get back together.  But many live with the hope that the parents will get back together again.  Usually the parent who gets dumped is living with this wish as well.  I knew someone whose parents divorced and remarried three times so sometimes this is based in reality.  I remember asking my Father to come back and being shocked that he just simply said No.  He left overnight and that was that.  (He had been having an affair for a while though so he had known what was coming on, if anyone ever knows that type of thing for sure).  His parents had divorced when he was a teenager but had gotten back together again.  He said that life was a lot better during the time when they were separated.

So death of relationships is nothing like death of the physical body.   At any rate, one can see how different it is to not look at loss through Divorce in terms of grief therapy having to do with death.

According to this research, younger children are more likely to feel watched by deceased parents.  They are also more expressive than older children with their feelings of grief.

Older children are more likely to talk to their friends about death.  I wonder how this works out with Children of Divorce.  I personally remember not being able to talk about the Divorce.  I remember some kids telling me how it was without asking.  Each child is going to experience this on a personal level.

The book also discusses gender differences in how children react to loss from death.  This seems very different from how they react in divorce just from my own personal observation.  Girls who grieve death are said to have social and relationship anxiety and boys are said to Act out.  In divorce I wonder if these roles aren’t divorced more often.  I think that the girls might act out more.  One would hope that this is a boon for the feminist movement, but I sort of think it happens most often because of competition and control issues with female parents, both biological mother and step-mothers.  Boys in divorce are definitely more inward and sensitive thinking.  I’ve always thought that was a good thing because I like thoughtful men.  But, that’s probably why their suicide rates are so high.  They compare themselves with other boys who are encouraged to be aggressive and self centered.  They may feel that they have to fill in for their Father’s absence and take care of the women in the family.   I suspect it makes them more desirable with authority figures, but may hurt in their ability for leadership roles as they don’t project strong authority stances.

Wow, this turned out a lot longer than it should be.



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.

***********

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?



Bad Children of Divorce – Anders Behring Breivik

On July 22 Norway was attacked by one of its own citizens, a 32-year old man named Anders Behring Breivik. Sad to say, that Anders Behring Breivik is a Child of Divorce.

Breivik’s parents divorced when he was 1 year old (source: Wikipedia). According to my Astrological Study this means that Breivik would have been influenced by and perhaps stuck in the energy of his first Solar Return. In his case this is particularly so because the other two planetary returns that occur around this time, Mercury and Venus, happened early in Breivik’s life, before his first Birthday. The Sun represents the Ego, Creativity, Children, Drama, Wanting to be in the limelight and in a leadership role. There is a 33 year cycle related to Solar Return charts in which the Sun returns to the native’s original house in his birth chart. I don’t have a birth time for Breivik so can’t say which house that would be but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the 12th House because this guy is going to start out his new Solar Return cycle in jail.

I wrote about a similar set-up of planetary cycles in celebrity charts of actors Marilyn Monroe and Andy Griffith. I talked about how, among the many differences between these two people, it is remarkable that they both became famous actors. Sun is related to wanting to be in the limelight. When Mercury and Venus both complete their first returns before the solar Return a child is blessed with early understandings of what both of those planets represent. I’ve talked about this a lot in the earlier posts. In short form, Mercury possibly represents communications and brain development of fine motor skills. Venus represents attachments to objects and people and development of memory and self worth through those attachments. The difference between how Marilyn Monroe and Andy Griffith handled their fame is, I subjecture, that Monroe suffered through her parents’ divorce during those years. Griffith also had a very difficult childhood and literally slept in a chest of drawers with relatives, but his parents stayed together and eventually provided him with a stable childhood. So, one can perhaps wonder if a child going through such fast transits in the first year is perhaps not more aware than other babies of what is going on. Mercury is directly related to the the nervous system and anxiety and Venus is related, as I said, to feeling loveable and feeling that one can love others.

Breivik has about 6 half or step siblings (check). I don’t have information about his biological parents’ remarriages/relationships but that will perhaps come out in time.

It appears that Breivik’s relationships with both parents are exceptional. He lived with his Mother up until a few months ago. Perhaps that’s not abnormal in Norway but in the U.S. it’s weird.

Breivik’s Father has had nothing to do with him since he moved to France in 1995 when Breivik was 16 years old. One can perhaps assume that the relationship with Breivik’s Mother became extremely dependent because his relationship with his Father involved the extreme rejection which is common among Children of Divorce. In Astrology, the 10th House, Saturn and Capricorn rule the Father and how one handles authoritarian figures. When an individual does not receive Paternal Attention, whether from a parent or someone else, one can possibly take out one’s anger on the Government which holds the parallel role in society that the traditional Fatherly role holds within the family.

Breivik is an Aquarius Sun and Aquarius is the sign most known for rebellion against these traditional roles. Aquarius has a natural sense of society as a whole and often doesn’t have easy access to expression of simple feelings of the earlier signs. Often, but not always of course, they are the kids who pass through the divorce without seeming to have any needs. I’ve discussed how I think that Aquarius is the sign probably most connected with Divorce. And Children of Divorce might be ruled by the sign of Virgo as Virgo is practical and service oriented and opposite Pisces, the ruler of Orphans, the sign which most kids of divorce get lumped in with (erroneously).

Without a birth time we can’t place the position of Breivik’s natal Moon (either in Leo or Virgo), but the noontime chart shows a conjunction with natal Saturn Retrograde in Virgo. Moon shows the family influence and the Mother so this is an important element. Either way, Breivik would have been born just after a Full Moon. If he has a Leo Sun this emphasizes his need to be in the spotlight and to lead in some way. If the Moon is in Virgo and in conjunction with Saturn Rx in Virgo, this combination with the Aquarius Sun shows emotional coldness. It also shows that the traditional parental roles were mixed up and not clearly viewed as separate influences. Unfortunately, I’ve sort of stopped work on my research of charts of famous Children of divorce because of computer hacking and theft of a lot of my papers and depression which came after all that happened. I do remember that the one signature which stood out for planetary placements in the charts that I looked at was the absence of Saturn in Virgo children from Divorce who become famous. All the other planetary placements by sign were represented in the 135 or so charts that I looked at except Saturn in Virgo. The insecurities of this placement seemed to really stand out as a signature for lack of self esteem. This would be especially difficult in a child who is stuck in a Sun aspect which needs to stand out in some way in order to shine. This is especially important to look at right now as Saturn just passed through that sign and many young children have it in their charts.

Progressed Moon generally has its first return at Age 27-28 and transiting Saturn has its first return at around Age 28-29.

The Progressed Lunar Return can be best used as a time of internal reflection in which one focuses on one’s emotional needs as a basis for going forth in life as an adult. One can feel like a loser or feel picked on in this phase, especially if life so far has been full of setbacks and unsafe relationships. The Moon relates to the Mother and the home life. After the individual goes through this internal phase, he then completes a cyclic phase which expresses to the external social world through the Saturn Return.

Breivik’s Father, an economist of some sort, says that he wishes his son had committed suicide because of what he had done. Thanks Dad. (I guess he’s describing the bottom line here on an investment he rejected long ago.)

It would be great if the Father had instead said “I wish that I had been a decent Father for my son so that this wouldn’t have happened,” but, of course, we’re all dreaming when we wish for comments like those to come out of the mouths of narcissistic parents. How many kids’ hearts could at least find peace if only their parents would admit that they had not provided the proper childhood? Maybe just one, well-timed, sincere assessment, clearly stated “I’m sorry and I want to try harder in the future.” Instead, the Father here, in my view, has affirmed that he is a total a-hole and will remain so until the day he dies.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Meanwhile, in an interview with Swedish tabloid Expressen, the suspect’s father said he was ashamed and disgusted by his son’s acts and wished he had committed suicide.

“I don’t feel like his father,” said former diplomat Jens David Breivik from his secluded home in southern France. “How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was OK? He should have taken his own life too. That’s what he should have done.”

Breivik said he first learned the news of his son’s attacks from media websites. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was totally paralyzing and I couldn’t really understand it.”

“I will have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. People will always link me with him,” he said.

Jens David Breivik said he had severed all contact with his son in 1995 when the latter was 16.

It’s very clear to me what the problem with Dad is here, but I know that many parents and people from intact families will remain flummoxed for years to come. The Father’s attitude couldn’t be more of a negative Saturnian comment, at any rate. Judgement, Blame, Coldness, Harsh Lessons, Conditional Love, Intolerance, Guilt. At least the Father is now eternally released from having to mention his first born son in his will and I suspect that’s all that counts to this guy.

Apparently, son Anders Breivik sees himself as having defended the country. His motive was to kill the Prime Minister of Norway and the youths who are learning to follow his liberal doctrines which include embracing immigration of Muslims into Norwegian society.

I believe that Norway was having a National Holiday on July 22, so the Prime Minister was working from home instead of coming into the office. So he survived the bombing of his offices and the surrounding areas. Breivik then attacked a political youth camp for kids who belong to the Prime Minister’s party. I’m too American to think that kids could learn to be liberal politicians at a youth camp, I’m just more into Arts and Crafts and the word “camp” brings up negative imagery especially when related to Politics and Religion. But I certainly don’t want to be seen as taking sides with Breivik. And, I also think that Summer Camp is a great way for kids from Divorce to get away from their parents.

I’ve discussed in previous posts how the men who started the “Minutemen” group on the Southwest Borders of the United States grew up in divorce and that I figured that this is somehow an expression of wanting to fix what was broken in childhood. It would make sense if Children of Divorce are much more likely to want to defend their country than kids from stable, intact homes. It is extremely difficult to listen to the chronic complaining and neediness of the immigrants when one’s own life if pretty difficult, especially with the new immigrants who are not particularly talented or special or in need of help.

Hope to look at the early planetary cycles in Breivik’s chart at the time of his parents’ divorce to see if it somehow plays out in his later life. Venus was moving very fast during his first year. Rejection would hurt a Venusian more than anyone except maybe a Lunar type. And a baby is pretty much nothing but a bunch of lunar types until the end of his first year when he completes the Solar, Mercurial and Venusian cycles. It is interesting that Brevick’s Father rejected him when he was 16 years old as that is a Sun-Venus cycle in some people’s charts. It is also half the age that Anders is now. Venus rules the signs of Taurus and Libra. In the sign of Taurus is rules Money, Voice, and Self Worth. In Libra it rules Marriage, one on one partnerships, Open Enemies, and need for Balance and Harmony.

Sun-Mercury-Mars in Aquarius squaring Uranus in Scorpio and trining Pluto in Libra and sextiling Neptune in Sagittarius
Neptune in Sagittarius squaring Virgo/Pisces NN’s
Venus in Capricorn trining Saturn in Virgo, maybe Moon in Virgo
Jupiter unaspected 1 Leo (to major planets), Lead Planet in Locomotive Chart Shape
Grand Earth Trine: Venus in Capricorn trine Saturn/MOon? in Virgo trine Chiron (Dick Cheney is Aquarius with Grand Earth Trine)



Mother Drives Her Children Into the Hudson River
April 16, 2011, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Abandonment, filicide, Mentally Ill parents, Murder, Suicide, Violence

A 25-year old mother of 4 in New York drove herself and her children into the Hudson River.  Her 10-year old son escaped his Mother’s clutches, but she drowned along with his 3 younger siblings.  According to the surviving son his Mother was expressing regrets as the van she was driving sank into the water and was wishing that she could be saved.  In the article which is linked to it sounds as if the Mother was upset about the relationship with the children’s father.  I’m unclear about her relationship with the Father.  There was a story about how he allowed one of the children to run around in the street naked in the middle of the night.  She had had locks changed on the doors twice in the last 6 months.

There’s an interesting article about how common it is for Mothers to kill their children called “Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think.”  The article talks about the role of mental illness in the situation but also the fact that the mothers are simply isolated emotionally and socially.  “So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup.”  This is a really great article and I thank the person who wrote it.  Since statistics don’t distinguish between Mothers, Fathers and Step-fathers (no mention of Step-Mothers?), an expert is quoted as saying that it is thought that a Mother kills her own child ever 3 days (in the U.S.? I know this is accepted practice in traditional Asian cultures).

The thing is to remember that this Mother was over stressed and that at the last minute she was showing regrets about the choice she had made.

For the first year of my parent’s divorce my Mother tried to commit suicide 3 times and at times she was threatening to kill me as well.  She never actually did try to kill me, but I became anorexic as a way of trying not to have any needs which would upset her. And I have gone through serious suicidal phases ever since. So, I tend to notice when one of these stories hits the news.

The information is often repressed because of society’s needs to think that Mothers never fail in their duties to love their children.  The article explains how often Mothers think that they are doing what’s best for their children by killing them.

I have sort of forgotten the exact reasons why my Mother said that she would have to kill me.  I sometimes think that it was because she knew that I would never be able to trust anyone after having been betrayed by both my Father and my best friend.  But, I think the real reason was financial and just the fact that she didn’t want to be burdened by having a kid around since the marriage was over.  She had been raised by a single woman as her Father had died.  I don’t think in all her rants that she ever discussed how perhaps it would be difficult for me to function after being kept awake all night listening to this stuff.  In the morning she would claim that she didn’t remember a thing (unless it was one of the nights when I lost it and started screaming).

Needless to say I feel so sorry for the young boy and hope that he can find a safe environment to grow up in where he will find love and support.  It sounds like he has great survival skills and hopefully he will be able to trust people.

I hope that this woman’s soul and those of her children will rest in peace.  And I hope that social networks can be formed for single mothers to gain the support and help they need.  There are so many concerns in these cases.  Financial, Legal, Self Esteem, Retraining regarding partnership mistakes, Help with Career, Help with Housework and raising children.  And, of course, lack of time to devote to improving all these areas of life.  I’m pretty certain that women can’t expect other married women to help them.

Mothers who have to take care of their children really need so much help.  In the end the “help” my Mother received were 2 1-week stints in mental hospitals.  She received a diagnosis and some pills and was taught a new career choice which proved adequate income. A Call Girl taught her how to go into a bar and turn tricks on those days when money was coming up a bit short.   Mental Hospitals expose vulnerable people not only to pills that only help to sedate and humiliate them but also to connections with even sicker people who share survival skills are a bit lacking.  I sort of wonder what goes on in the nurses and doctors’ minds.  Don’t they see that this stuff goes on?  Hospitals for mental illness are just as infectious for disease as hospitals for physical illness.



Advice From the Radio Lawyer

Wonders never cease!  If I’m driving in the middle of the day, I listen to a radio talk show with a lawyer named Lem Tillem whenever I can.  Today I heard good and sensitive advice coming from this guy regarding what I suspect is a Child of Divorce. Actually I don’t know if she was from divorce.  I only know that she is from a blended family and has a step-father. The Big D Word was left out of the conversation.  It could have been Divorce.  Generally it’s ok to mention Death but who knows?

The messed up supposed Child of Divorce who was the topic of conversation is all grown up with two children and a divorce of her own and emotionally and mentally has completely relapsed to fetal position.  Actually she sounds like she’s got some anger issues as well (what do the DSM’ers call this?  Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder?)  The Grown Child’s Mother generously had offered to let her stay in a spare house rent free if she would only pay the utilities and keep the place up but the daughter has let even that small part of the bargain go to hell.  The Mother is calling in to Tillem’s talk show in order to figure out how to evict her daughter from the house.  Tillem’s response to the Mother totally shocked me.  He said things like:

She’s obviously not dealing with a full deck of cards and she’s your daughter so you can’t throw her out.  (There was no answer from the Mother who was obviously shocked.  We had all just wanted to hear which form she is supposed to fill out).

Tillem had to repeat

She’s your daughter.  If it were my own kids I wouldn’t throw them out.  (Still no answer)

then he had to repeat

She’s your daughter.  Those are your grandchildren.

then he started to ask about the situation, why does a Mother want to throw her own sick daughter and her two kids out on to the street?  He  said something like

Is your husband your daughter’s father?

I wasn’t even wondering about this and everyone knows I love a pity party.  But, wow, was I caught off guard.  It probably went right over the Mother’s head.  Because God knows the Divorce (if is was a Divorce) probably happened 20 or 30 years ago.

The woman answers that the husband is the step-father.   And so the rest of the story starts to fall in line.  Blended Family stuff.  She’s worried about Spoiled Children of Divorce stuff maybe?  Tillem suggested that the Mother go into therapy in order to understand why she would throw her own screwed up daughter out on to the street when the daughter obviously is so out of it that she can’t even pay a phone bill.  It didn’t seem to sink in with the Mother.   We got to hear that there are 5 children total and that the incapacitated daughter would not be given any special treatment in a will regarding staying in the house if the mother were to die today.  So, if the Mother were dead, the daughter would be thrown out on to the street anyway.  And that’s probably why the daughter doesn’t give a shit in the first place.  She knows she’s not worth a poo.  (There rarely is enough love to go around in normal families, but in blended families it becomes a joke)

This is valuable Real Estate we’re talking about here, after all.  Not grown children who are falling apart because in addition to going through her own divorce she is reliving the one she went through and never received help in getting through when she was a kid?  In Divorce, everyone knows that everyone’s on their own.  Screw ups can be replaced.  (Actually, I really do feel shocked and left out when I see those news interviews of people who have just lost their homes and all their belongings to floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.  Because they say things like, Thank God we all have each other.  That sort of thankfulness doesn’t often belong in divorced homes because everyone’s such a burden).

Anyway, Tillem did not say something like, have you ever thought of going over to the house once a week in order to help your daughter deal with things so that she might be able to heal out of this rough patch? For example, have you ever thought of just adding an extra hand rather than your criticisms and threats?  Does that take too much time for your new blended family/husband?

The daughter is acting like a jerk, admittedly.  But Tillem was able to discern between a spoiled brat and a person who needs help and is not loved.  He doesn’t say to 5150 her which is the natural advice of the psychologists.  He tells the Mother to just suck up her own miseries and to keep a roof over her family and to call him back in a year.  If the Mother were to drop her business sense and to just stand by this kid for a year, probably the woman would spring back to life within that time.   Okay, it may take a few years of graduated withdrawal.  I don’t know.  It wasn’t the daughter who had called in.  It would take some selflessness on the Mother’s part, of course  ….  and she has moved on with her own life so why can’t her grown daughter just do the same?

Funny, how the individuality of each child seems to be of no concern to biological parents in blended families.  Only thing that matters is that it all looks like a group photo.

Anyway, Thanks Lem Tillem.  He never had to really mention any of the horror words.  He just mentioned the Parent-Child bond and the helping the person in need thing.  That was awesome.