Spoiled Children of Divorce


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.



Parents as Sex Traders

When your parents divorce, often your relationship with both of them changes.  Whereas, previously, you may have been closest to your Father, you may become closer to your Mother after the divorce.  Then there are the stories of the child who becomes so difficult and unmanageable under care of one parent, he/she has to change households and has to go live with the other parent.  And then there’s the story which I just saw last night on TV…

Saw a very frightening show last night on Sex Trafficking.  The United States has grown one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Sex Trafficking capital of the World.  Sorry I can’t remember the name of the show, was wanting to link to it.  I think it was on MSNBC.  Am certain I will repeat some inaccurate details here in trying to describe the situation.

A young girl in the Bay Area was repeatedly raped by her Father from the age of 3 onwards.  At the Age of 8 years old her Father began to pimp her in order to make enough money for the family to buy a house.  The parents divorced when she was a teen and at that time the Mother, needing money, began to pimp the girl.

So, there you go, horror stories beyond anything most of us can imagine.  Her parents are immigrants who follow beliefs that daughters can be treated this way.  I grew up with what I think are pretty conservative values for women’s place in the world.  I’ve discussed my own situation, no sexual abuse, so I’m not saying that this happens only in Asian families.  This is a problem for female children overall in dysfunctional families.

The whole time growing up, this girl maintained a straight A average in school and played on her Soccer team.  She was very close to a teacher, I believe her old Soccer coach.  This young woman then managed to get in to UC Berkeley where she began therapy in order to try to make sense out of her life.  I believe she said that she is now around 25 years old and has stopped talking with her parents since she was around 20 years old.  Her strength is incredible.  She is speaking out in order to help others who might be in this same situation.

The parents were interviewed on the show and didn’t admit to anything.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Michael Bowen

Was wondering if the current Occupy Wall Street phenomenon is a product of Children of Divorce.  Are most of those people from Divorce or from Intact families.  Sorry, had to ask, nobody else could care less.  And  I guess we’ll never know.

I read that it was initially created by 2 ad executive guys up in Canada with a poster of a ballerina dancing on a Bull.  Of course, there was already a desire set in motion by the overthrow of Dictators of the Middle East beginning with Egypt.  That’s all the information I care to research on that topic.

Since I’m probably too old to understand what’s going on out there I did begin to look up a couple of wiki articles about the Flower Child movement.  Interesting that so many of the Arab Dictators held power for about 40 years which means that they came into power right as the U.S. was giving its power up to the hippies.

Most of the Hippies were probably from Intact families just because they grew up in the “ideal homes” of the 50s and because they were rebelling against their boring, stable childhoods full of irritable people.  That’s just my take on things, of course, which may diverge from reality.  I think this because Children of Divorce don’t really need to question authority much. We probably weren’t raised by authoritarians (and that’s a good thing, especially if you don’t mind feeling a little unsafe).

What I did notice is that one of the initiators of the Flower Power movement was a painter named Michael Bowen.  Details of Bowen’s childhood on Wikipedia and other sites say that his father was a rich dentist in Beverly Hills.  So Bowen was from an affluent family.  Another stand out detail said that his Mother’s lover was a gangster who was responsible for bringing Bowen to San Francisco for the first time when he was a kid.

There is no mention of parental divorce in Michael Bowen’s biographies, but a biography on his Father’s obituary says that he had divorced Bowen’s Mother in 1944.  This means that Bowen would have been about 7 or 8 years old when his parent’s divorced.

Michael Bowen’s obituary also says that he died of complications from childhood polio.  There’s no mention of having been sick as a child in the biographies.  Children with serious illnesses and who are from divorce probably don’t want to attract much attention to their neediness because they know they won’t get their needs met if they become a burden.  At any rate, it looks as if the LSD fixed whatever ailed him.

Michael Bowen’s parents seem to have been some pretty wild characters so it makes sense that Bowen grew up to not only be an artist but also to have created the first gathering of the Flower Children in San Francisco.  His Father had worked for a gangster in Chicago before becoming a dentist.  When he moved to Los Angeles he met Bing Crosby and became the Dentist who started capping all the Movie Stars’ teeth.  He is said to have created “The Hollywood Smile.”

Michael Bowen’s Mother, Grace, dated the gangster, Benjamin Bugsy Siegel who built the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

So, this family was responsible for a whole lot of what the West Coast became famous for if any or all of this information is anywhere near accurate.

The first Love In or Be-In happened on Jan. 14, 1967.  It appears that Bowen made it through a good art school so perhaps he finished college.  I don’t know if he had siblings.  Bowen married 3 times and had two sons and two daughters.



“May die 2day”

Taboo subject here.  Even more forbidden than trying to seek help about how to deal with abusive step-parents.

This article is about a Mother who couldn’t get food stamps to feed her 2 children.  During an almost 7 hour stand off at the Welfare Office in Laredo, Texas, Rachel Grimmer’s 12-year old daughter posted a few frightening messages on her Facebook account about what she was going through as Mommy waves her gun around in despair.  At one point, she says she’s bored.  Guess perhaps she grew up listening to threatening rants.

At around midnight the Mother shot her two children, the 12 year old daughter and the 10 year old son in the head.  They have survived but are both in critical condition.  Ms. Grimmer then shot and killed herself.  I guess the welfare office supervisor wasn’t harmed.

Obviously, the Social Worker could have used some training.  He’s obviously telling lies all over the place about what was done to help.  And there are obviously some racial issues going on here.

The kid in this situation doesn’t ask for help, probably would resist it if it were offered, and it won’t be offered anyway because family, friends, and psychoblabbers  can’t stand the drama or even actually are amused by it.

The article tries to make sense out of the relationship between this family and the welfare system and it can’t.  It’s so unbelievable it sounds like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

This brings up a lot of issues.  But, for right now,  I pray that those kids will recover.

Here’s a good article from Australia about Filicide.  That’s people who kill their children.  Talks about connection with Divorce.  And the tendency for everyone around, friends, family, therapists, etc., to go into denial, or at least do nothing.   The grandmother wrote back on Facebook to her granddaughter that she was “there for you.”   She could have at least told the kid to take her brother and go hide or to fake a convulsion to distract the adults.

“Mental Health, Filicide, Parental Separation and Divorce:  The need for early intervention and a better coordinated approach.” by Dr. Daniell Tyson and Prof. Thea Brown.

EDIT added December 28, 2011:  Both of Rachel Grimmer’s children died within 2 days of the shooting.  May they Rest in Peace.



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)



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?