Spoiled Children of Divorce

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey is considered one of Louis “Leakey’s Angels.” Louis Leakey was a famous Archaeologist who encouraged 3 women to work with primates in order to understand their behaviors. These women include Jane Goodall who works with Chimpanzees and Birute Galdikas who works with Orangutans and Dian Fossey who worked with Gorillas. Of these women it’s Dian Fossey who was the Child of Divorce. (I have since realized that Jane Goodall is from Divorce as well and have added a post for her).  Although these women seem to have an innate understanding of animals that few possess it would be understandable that Children of Divorce would turn to animals to compensate for the simple, unconditional love and understanding that’s lacking in their own lives. Unfortunately, pets are often considered too much of a burden in single parent households.

Fossey was born in San Francisco, California in 1932. I’m not sure about this but I think her parents divorced when she was around 4 years old. Her Mother remarried a year later when Dian was five. Fossey was emotionally closest to her Father but he was a sailor in the Navy and left after the Divorce. She wasn’t close to her Mother or Step-Father, a building contractor who made her eat in the kitchen with the servants. She loved animals but wasn’t allowed to have any after her one Goldfish died. Opposing her Step-Father’s wishes that she go to secretarial school, Fossey first went to school to become a Veterinarian but switched to Occupational Therapy. She worked at a Hospital for a while and eventually met Louis Leakey who helped her to go on to earn a Ph.d. in Zoology at Cambridge University and to work with the Gorillas.

Fossey had a complicated love life and was considered an eccentric personality by some. She seems to have been caught up by all kinds of political problems with the Tourist Industry and with Poachers in Africa. She was murdered on Dec. 26, 1985 in Rwanda. No one knows for sure who her murder may have been. Fossey left her estate to a fund to protect the Gorillas but her Mother contested the will and won.

Dian Fossey was the 1st human to have friendly contact with a gorilla and the first to study the Mountain Gorillas long term. Her autobiography Gorillas in the Mist was made into a movie. Farley Mowat wrote a book about her called Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey in which he explores reasons for her death.

From Wikipedia:

Dian Fossey is interred at a site in Rwanda that she herself had constructed for her dead gorilla friends. She believed that all beings had the same rights and that they needed to be treated with the same respect as humans. She was buried in the gorilla graveyard next to Digit, who was killed and beheaded in 1978, and near many gorillas killed by poachers.

Nixzmary Brown’s Step Father Found Guilty
March 19, 2008, 12:27 am
Filed under: Bad Step-Parent Stories, Mentally Ill parents, Nutrition

A Step Father in New York was convicted for the murder of his 7 year old stepdaughter, Nixzmary Brown.  The little girl was repeatedly abused and tortured.  She weighed 36 pounds and was finally killed for having stolen some yogurt from the refrigerator.  Nixzmary’s Mother did nothing to help. The Mother was seeing a psychiatrist so mental illness has been acknowledged.

Here’s a link to a site where somebody wrote about the case from Nixzmary’s point of view.  It’s absolutely heart breaking:  http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/1-14-2006-86384.asp.

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner is author of the book The Art of Happyness which was made into an excellent movie starring Will Smith.

Gardner is an extremely successful Stockbroker and Motivational Speaker. He has written about his troubled childhood, his failed marriage, his bout with homelessness while holding onto his son. Everything was working against him. But he was accepted into a prestigious training program in a stockbroker program which led to his eventual incredible success owning his own Stock Brokerage firm. His story is pretty unbelievable and Gardner is now working to share his attitudes and survival skills with others in order to inspire them.

I’m listening to the audiobook version of his book which I highly recommend. It’s really interesting how these super successful people’s attitudes towards their experiences are just slightly different from the rest of us.

Gardner was the product of a relationship that his Mother had with a married man. He rarely saw his own Father growing up. His Mother married a highly abusive man so the entire family was subjected to an abusive step-father. This man reported Gardner’s Mother for defrauding Welfare when she threatened to leave him. This landed her in jail and Gardner and his older sister into Foster Homes for about 3 years. I’m not clear about his age (listening to audiobook so details fly on by) at this point; I think he was around 2 or 3 years old. His Mother still didn’t Divorce his step-father but had two more kids with the guy. He hit her once with a 2×4 which landed her in the hospital. Gardner witnessed this. Then his Mother tried to kill the stepfather by burning the house down with him in it. She went to jail again.

It’s interesting to focus on Gardner’s descriptions of these scenes to see what kind of a mindset can survive this. You can see this in how he describes his stepfather.

For one, he’s open and honest about the behavior. (In my family everyone literally “forget” what had happened. Well, alcohol helps with that. I “survived” by keeping a clear idea of what was going on and then, later on, I couldn’t handle my rage.) For example, instead of describing his Step-Father as a Monster like I probably would have, Gardner describes him as a Turbulent Weather System who would storm in and out of the house aiming his rifle at whatever he was angry with. I like how much more impersonal it is to think of a Weather System rather than a Being. You can kill a Monster, or subdue it, or at least think you can imagine that you can. A weather system must be allowed to exist. Another example, Gardner says that his step-father was actually “His University” on how not to behave. Gardner knew by living with this man that he must learn to be literate, must never abuse anyone, must never drink to excess. So, at a very young age, he was able to find guidance from this “Reverse Role Model.” And it appears that he held onto those goals. (I think that I just developed other unhealthy obsessions and traits. They were like my parents’, but different. Instead of Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex I became Anorexic.)

When Gardner’s Mother “disappeared” again when he was 8 years old (went to jail for burning the house down); he and his older sister lived with an Aunt and Uncle. He was never told what was going on and gives an excellent description of how he never knew what to expect from life from minute to minute. His closest relative was his Sister and his Aunt and Uncle put her in Detention when she was 12 years old. Gardner didn’t have a clue why.

Another thing, Gardner is a real stickler for proper writing and grammar.  “Happyness” in the title is from an episode where he became angry about the mispelling.  As I’m pretty sloppy in this area it’s really difficult to actually write this.  I just hate to edit.

Sweaty Betty
February 20, 2008, 5:25 am
Filed under: Alcoholism, Bad Step-Parent Stories, money, Stepfamilies, Uncategorized, Violence

My Mother called my Step Mother “Betty Boobs” and this is the name that I also called her in all conversations during my High School years. A few years ago I ran into one of my Mother’s old friends and she started barking and laughing remember how your Mother called her “Betty Boobs” because she had those big … (hands held out in cupped fashion)? Har Har.

My Step Mother sipped white wine all day, kept up her tan, and had a helmet head of hair which she had blown out once a week. Her shirts were unbuttoned to advertise her cleavage and when she was really drunk she bragged in a horrid Southern drawl about her high IQ and her long long legs

My Step Mother had been my best friends’ mother and our parents met through us and then broke up both of their marriages. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before and don’t want to go over it again in a previous blog. I just need to say that the wives of a Country Club had kicked her out for going after their husbands and so she was hanging around with my Mother a lot. My Mother had told me beforehand that she didn’t like my friend’s Mother and was uncomfortable having her spend so much time at our house when she came to pick up my friend after school. Looking back, of course, it would have been great if I could have just dumped the friend but where I grew up, honest to God, it was really difficult to find a girlfriend whose Mother would bother to be so generous in giving her rides. Most Mothers were heavily sedated and complained endlessly about doing anything for their kids. My Whino StepMother, ever on the look out for a husband, would drive to Hell and back for her daughter if she figured it would lead to more money.

After my Father died, I renamed my Stepmother “Sweaty Betty.” My name for came years after the divorce but was based on one night when I was staying with my Father and Sweaty at their first condominium together for an over night stay. At some point under the moonlight, Sweaty crawled into the room where I was sleeping. Sweaty was crawling naked on all fours and glistening in the dark. She was delusional from alcohol and she slowly crawled up to the closet door, whimpered and begged to be let in. No one inside the closet would open the door for her so eventually she crawled away and passed out in bed next to my Father. I stayed silent. It was bizarre but I was used to bizarre. I told my Mother of course who drilled the crap out of me whenever I came home. My Mother told my Father who answered my Mother that Betty sometimes does that.

I tried to feel compassion for Sweaty, God knows she expected it, but it was sort of like feeling compassion for Hitler or Mussolini. Whatever the behavior was about she wasn’t forthcoming with any explanations (if there were any explanations). She simply liked to refer to herself as a Victim. In short, she didn’t care what she did to others. It’s one of those things where you have to decide if it’s about a person’s character or about a person’s past traumas and I pretty much decided that Sweaty had a bad character.

My Father died when I was in my early 30s and I’ve haven’t seen Sweaty since. It’s really been a lovely improvement in my life. She was like a huge human version of a slimy slug who wanted everything you had no matter what it was. She was the only one of my parents to go through detox so she eventually sobered up, the slime maybe dried up a bit, but her character never improved. That’s the problem with alcohol. You’re still stuck with yourself after you sober up. Sweaty just became vigilant about blaming everyone else for everything she had done to them. She got all my Father’s money, had the will written 6 months before he died, and Sweaty has no doubt moved on to bigger Projects kind of like a guy who gets away with rape.

Which brings us to her insatiability. She was Scylla, Charybdis, & Circe all wrapped in one.

Until she sobered up, Sweaty slept with as many of my Father’s friends as she could. I heard this directly from one of my Father’s friends. Sweaty also slept with one of her son’s high school buddies on the floor of the living room. Every time I see one of these School teachers getting caught for this now don’t think it doesn’t cross my mind that I could have had her reported. Everyone knew about this but nobody said anything about it. My stepbrother went through a violent phase where he wrecked cars and drank a lot. Everyone said that he was acting out because of his age and was spoiled. In college he married a girl he said just to get even with his Mother. They divorced immediately. He eventually married another woman who he found God with. Last time I talked to him, at my Father’s funeral, he said he didn’t understand why people at his church were so mean. I wanted to ask him if the Jesus in his Church liked Big Tits.

There was something wrong with the way Betty spoke and this was probably the single worst thing about her. You simply couldn’t understand what she was saying. It was exhausting. And it just didn’t seem interesting. Usually her jokes were disgustingly sexual. Her whiney voice would wince down to nothing but Southern drawl. She couldn’t open her jaw due to some problem either because her first husband had broken it or there was a problem with the glands in her neck.

When Sweaty ate she would push a huge chunk of Steak into her mouth and swallow it whole. As a teenager this was basically my introduction to unenthusiastic sex. After that Sweaty would have to excuse herself and she would go throw up in the bathroom. The White Wine triggered her gag reflex really bad. Eventually she realized that she hadn’t been able to keep down a whole meal in 3 years and the Doctor told her she had a year to live so she went to Detox.

Sweaty and my Father fought like cats and dogs. I never stayed in their house with them again so I never witnessed it but I saw the injuries next day. My Father’s generation beat their wives silly so this was considered acceptable. Or at least that’s my understanding of it. In the morning Sweaty and my Father would have scratched arms and legs, sometimes one of them would have a black eye and they would wear their sunglasses and go for lunch somewhere outside so they could keep the sunglasses on. My step-sister said it was all my Father’s fault.

Once I called Sweaty a Slut at the dinner table and she didn’t answer. It wasn’t like her not to deny her own behavior and if you’re going to break up somebody’s family that has a couple of teenage kids you ought to be prepared for this but I knew there would be revenge down the line. In her head Sweaty was from the South and she respected her elders, I suspect that she had let her Father rape her for example. At my Father’s Funeral he grabbed my ass. I have to admit, I absolutely hate White Southerners.

Sweaty once gave me a lecture on why I should be kind which was kind of odd because everyone else at that point except my two Mothers generally remarked on my kind, docile personality. Sweaty wasn’t concerned about her own lack of kindness, only mine. She got the vapors a lot, was allergic to everything, and couldn’t go out for the dwindling amounts of gross dinners that my Father and I had on ocassion.

Sweaty sharing her wisdom about how I ought to be was part of the tension of having these weekly dinners with my Father and her which comes from growing up with Divorce. Of course in the background at those dinners I knew that if my Mother were at home she would either be grinding her teeth from the rejection or out getting drunk. I would come home to a cross examination. What did Sweaty wear? Was it expensive? Who bought it? What did she order? Did she eat it? I never said anything kind because I honestly didn’t observe anything to be kind about. Either way, the dinners would lead to a 2 or 3 day binge of screaming and crying and running into walls. Although Sweaty claimed to be highly psychic and to know what everyone was thinking she never understood what her presence in my life cost me.

Backwarding again, the aforementioned “Slut” information had inputted nicely, and, although steeped in reality, and it all came back to me. Really, it would have come back even if I hadn’t said it. How is it that drunks don’t remember anything that they say but they always remember everything that you say? I actually remember the Slut moment as a highly regrettable but shining star moment of my adolescence. The first time I got to use the word “Slut” it was about a real one. How many girls can say that?

Years later, I almost told my father about how Sweaty slept with her son’s high school friend on the living room floor. I almost did but then didn’t because he was old and it would hurt him. But I threatened to. I had traveled for my Birthday to see them and the whole trip involved driving Sweaty from one store to the next so she could shop. Then she was asking for advice on how to get along with her daughter. Up until that point Sweaty didn’t know I knew about the boy fuck so it really took her by surprise. Coils of smoke poofed out from under her coiffed Barbie head.

But Sweaty excelled at responding to surprise. She was born for it. This was like a really good poker game for her. She knew the next move was all about tactics. She waited for my Father to go to the Bathroom, her head spun around like an out of control exorcism, and she told me that she would make things Hell for me and my Brother. At that point we were probably 18 or 20 years into the game so this was just funny to watch. It was the highlight moment after years of hearing every adult my parents age say “You’re not going to get anything from your Father because…” She did manage to clear her throat so her drawl peeled out in the form of genuine words, succint and absolutely bitchy. She actually enunciated!

What baby wants, baby gets and that’s the truth. Sweaty had to wait until my Father was lying jaundiced in an ICU after his lung surgery went wrong. He still hadn’t rewritten the Will. I walked in and she was yelling at him over the will. I can’t watch Soap Operas to this day because of the reality and truth that they preach. Sweaty saw me, jerked, straighted her face and turned away to play with the curtain. My Father was bright yellow and couldn’t speak or move from the neck down. His eyes were just following her around the room.

The Doctors put him completely under the next day and said that he probably wouldn’t make it out of the coma, his lung just wouldn’t breathe on its own. So Sweaty hired another Doctor from another hospital. “They work better if you pit one against the other,” she said. She and the other Doctor went into the first Doctor’s office at night and snooped around his office. Somehow they found an article saying that steroids would fix my Father’s condition. The Steroids worked. It was a Miracle. She never bragged about saving my Father’s life but she did brag about getting the Doctors to perform. Sweaty had finally found a positive outlet for her ruthlessness.

Once my Father was up and running, Sweaty ran him into the Lawyer’s office and had the Will rewritten. Then they took off to Hawaii for a couple of months. And then she brought my Father back to the Hospital where he languished on a ventilator for 2 more months, unwilling to die. When the insurance ran out we unplugged him. He had only 1/3 of one lung left to breathe with and his feet were curled under from being bed-ridden.

There was the Funeral. Her Father’s hand on my Ass. She absconded with everything, even my Great-Grandmother’s Wedding Rings. It took her 20 years, but she did it.

And that’s the tale, or at least part of the tale, of my Stepmother, Sweaty Betty.

Are Worldbeaters from Divorced Families?

This is a really quick survey on something I started to wonder about while browsing through the Biography Section in the Public Library for Children of D. I noticed that a whole lot of successful people come from families where the Father was an abusive Tyrant. I suppose this is useful exposure to have for behaviors that will ensure success in the World. But, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to explain this clearly, I think also that often Divorce comes as a reaction to one parent trying to get away from Tyranical behaviors of the other parent. So, this is the good side of Divorce. Not accepting Tyrannical behaviors in society. Neither George Bush nor Dick Cheney are Child of D, perhaps a good reason why they don’t understand the wonders of habeus corpus.

I’ve used 3 websites to come up with lists of Tyrants and Dictators and kept the lists to 20th Century and current dictators because Divorce wasn’t common before then. There isn’t much discussion about childhood matters for some of these guys so more research is needed. The kids from the big Divorce Boom in the 70s and 80s still aren’t in power so it’s difficult to know how they will lead. It certainly is nice to think that possibly one of the good products of Divorce is the eradication of Tyranny from the World. Low self-esteem can work wonders in deflating the more willful and big-ego’ed of us. (I know all about that, let me tell ya). Astrologically speaking, there is a big transit coming up which is associated with Tyrannical behaviors and will be the first test for this generation.

This is the list along with the ones who I can determine experienced Divorce from the list at http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/tyrants.htm):

  • Mao Zedong
  • Adolf Hitler – illegitimate, bad childhood, parents together
  • Josif Stalin – Mother promiscuous, Paternity questionable, Father abusive and rarely around
  • Chiang Kai-shek (China) – Father died Age 2
  • Enver Pasha (Turkey) – Father died
  • Hirohito (Japan)
  • Ho Chi Minh (North Vietnam)
  • Kim Il Sung (North Vietnam) – Father was Ho Chi Minh
  • Vladimir Lenin (USSR) – Father died Age 16
  • Leopold II (Belgium)
  • Nicholas II (Russia)
  • Pol Pot (Cambodia)
  • Saddam Hussein (Iraq) – Father abandoned family 6 months before Saddam was born, 13 year old brother died around time of birth also; sent to live with Uncle until Age 3; Mother remarried and stepfather abusive, 3 half brothers; ran away Age 10 and lived with Uncle and relatives for rest of childhood.
  • Tojo Hideki (Japan)
  • Wilhelm II (Germany)
  • Yahya Khan (Pakistan)

Here also is Parade Magazine’s list of Dictators of the Current World from 2006:


  • Omar al-Bashir (Darfur)
  • Kim Jong-Il (North Korea)
  • Than Shwe (Burma)
  • Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) – Father abandonned family 1934, Age 10
  • Islan Karimov (Uzbekistan) – grew up in orphanage
  • Hu Jintao (China) – Mother died Age 7, raised by Aunt
  • King Abdullah (Saudi Arabia) – Father multiple wives
  • Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenistan) – grew up in orphanage, Father killed WWII, rest of family killed in earthquake
  • Seyed Ali Khamane’i (Iran)
  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial New Guinea)

This list adds 10 more names (http://www.lkwdpl.org/schools/horacemann/dictators/).

Among these are:

  • Aleksandr Lukashenko (Belarus) – Mother was unmarried
  • Fidel Castro (Cuba) – illegitimate child of Father’s maid

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is one of the top poets in the United States. She wrote about her 1st 18 years (I won’t call it a childhood) in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Angelou’s parents divorced when she was 3 years old. She was sent with her 4 year old brother alone by train to live with their father’s Mother. When she was Age 8, her Father sent the children back to live with their Mother and StepFather. The Stepfather raped Angelou. She told her brother who relayed the message and subsequently the Stepfather spent a day in jail. Days after being released he was found beaten to death and Angelou felt so responsible for his death that she remained mute for the next 5 years. She spent more time with her Grandmother and then living back and forth with both parents. At one point she lived homeless for a month with other children. She gave birth to her son 3 weeks after graduating from High School.

And she was the first Black female Streetcar Conductor in San Francisco.

Please look up some quotes of Maya Angelou’s.  They are very inspiring.  This is from http://www.brainyquotes.com:

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.

The Kids’ Reaction to Your New Date
January 16, 2008, 5:59 pm
Filed under: Bad Step-Parent Stories, Parents and their Dates, Uncategorized

The Girlfriend with the laquered claw fingernails, the Boyfriend with the buttcrack.

If you think you know what’s good for your kids, then think again. A recent study at the University of Sheffield, wherever the hell that is, found that kids don’t like Clowns; the older kids are even afraid of them (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080116/od_nm/clowns_odd_dc).

…all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.

“As adults we make assumptions about what works for children,” said Penny Curtis, a senior lecturer in research at the university.

“We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.