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.



Parasite v. Host

Bad mood. Walking through library. Books on carts that need to be shelved. I see the word “Parasite” and immediately think of my step-family.

The Art of Being a Parasite by Claude Combes.

Reading on I find that this is probably the best study on understanding the politics of blended families. Within these families there are Winners and Losers. You win not by working hard and building a following and doing chores and finishing homework and setting the table, but by discerning where the richness is and just moving in on it with a fantasitic degree of ruthlessness. Whichever bloodline can gang up on and humiliate the other one wins. There’s the Conqueror family and the Conquered family. The Step-Mother always knows she’s right

(isn’t that just so bizarre how they all say that? It must be how women get their rocks off, maybe the battle for the husband is the lure, destroying another woman’s kids is the ultimate sexual turn-on)

Wondrous. Remember, your family loves you and will always be there for you? Stranger Danger applies to everyone except Mommy and Daddy’s dates? Here’s another crap fact about growing up in Divorce.

Chapter 8 Parasites in Time and Space

The Art of Being a Parasite by Claude Combes

From this same Chapter is an explanation of what types of hosts are most likely to attract parasites. The author reminds us that these do not always apply, so you still have to watch your back even if you’re all clear in these departments. The author is using Fish and Sealife as an example but I think the ideas can pretty easily transfer over to Host and Parasite Family Structures.

So, you may be more likely to attract and have your blood/home/parent/security/inheritance siphoned if:

1. You spend a lot of time in many different places (large area range v. small area range).

2. You are extroverted and spend a lot of time within a large community. Writer calls this “gregarious.” Parasites are less likely to cling to solitary fish.

3. You live in the depths like a mollusc. Don’t cling to rocks. Rolling stones gather no moss.

4. You are migrating. I see this a lot in California which has a Divorce rate so high the CDC doesn’t bother to include it in its statistics. People come out to California as a couple and almost always split up.

5. Writer calls this one: “Species richness of the phylum.” Wow, can’t say I understand the jargon. I guess this means that you are more likely to attract a parasite from someone you are similar to because parasites enjoy a particular diet. If you hang out with people who you are like you are more likely to pick up a parasite because parasites like to feed off of hosts which are similar. If you are wealthy and you hang out with wealthy people you already know that you will attract parasites. Makes sense.

6. Size. Large hosts attract more parasites because there is more area to attach to. Well, I became anorexic, so don’t know if this is very true on a physical level. The parasitic step-host family kept siphoning. I did learn that it’s not worth being successful because you have to always be on guard about the crap that shows up on your doorstep looking for dinner.

From pages 209-210, Aging Anorexias from Divorce know that even if you stopped eating as a result of your parents’ divorce that the Host family with keep right on chomping away. There’s gristle on your bones, after all, marrow inside for making soup, and compost to be made with what is left. Since food becomes scarce growing up in divorce, everyone for himself. And regular meals become an emotional burden of trying not to ask each other how they’re doing because that’s going to lead to long stories about greed, betrayal, rejection, lawyer and shrink visits, money and asshole boyfriends who disappear at Christmas. Plus, all those “I have it worse than you ever will” comments.

“Parasites “circulate” in the ecosystem. Some follow simple routes and others complex ones through life cycles in which unrelated hosts follow one another. One interesting and still poorly studied aspect of parasitology consists of reconstructing such routes in order to acquire key knowledge about the functioning of the ecosystem itself. The strategy is, if you tell me who parasitizes you, I will tell you whom you eat.”

Haven’t read the entire book, of course. But, it looks as if the author, Claude Combes, likes parasites. They keep the whole eco-system moving. They toss your half baked family into your step-mother’s complaining arms. Is this really how the human species evolves? Sounds a little bit like the bubonic plague to me.



NurtureSchtick
January 30, 2011, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Books

I’m sort of sitting here limp like a wet noodle with shock.  I pulled a book off the library shelf called  NurtureShock is written by authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman.  It’s very new.  Very trendy.  Published in 2009.  It’s about modern child rearing.

Author Po Bronson was born in 1964.  If he didn’t experience Divorce as a child then at least half of his friends did.  Half of the people he works with did.  Bronson’s certainly not aware of Divorce as it affects children.

The bio on the back flap of the cover says that Bronson lives in San Francisco, California with his wife and two children.  As I’ve said before California is the most heavily populated state in the United States with probably the highest Divorce rate.  Yet, the CDC hasn’t included Divorce rates for California with the National Statistics since the early 1980s.  And that pretty much explains why people think that the Divorce rate has leveled off.  As a matter of fact, while  trying to find out what the Divorce rate for California might actually be, I went through the Wikipedia entries for all the counties in California to pull up household statistics county by county.  All but two of the counties in California include a paragraph on Statistics about households in the counties.  Not about divorce specifically, but about how many households have children.  Some mention single parents, some don’t.  San Francisco is one of the two counties which doesn’t mention any of this.  As they say:  Zip, Zero, Nadda.  San Francisco have the lowest child per household of any county in California.  I think about 15 percent of the households have a kid knocking around in the cupboards somewhere.  Go to Castro Street on Halloween and you’ll see how true this statistic is.  Bronson’s kids have Bronson’s friends for playmates.

The subjects that are written about in the book are really entertaining so I guess the idea for the book was drummed up while Bronson was in a fallow period of figuring out what to write about next. He’s a best-selling writer and was probably contracted to spit this thing out.

There’s a Chapter on how kids these days get 1 hour less sleep a day than they did 30 years ago.   That will be an interesting read.  I’m expecting to read some physics about how this occurs because of some sort of lightbulb radiation.  Anxiety over Mommy who’s crying in the next room drunk off her ass won’t be included as one of the reasons.  I’m absolutely sure of that.

There’s a chapter on how white parents don’t talk about race with their children.  Huh?  Wull, that’s news to me.  Bronson, of course, is talking about how White People living in either Pacific Heights or Telegraph Hill don’t talk about race with their children.  That’s because the public school systems in San Francisco are so bad that rich White Parents put their kids in exclusive private schools where minority kids only go if they are super geniuses on scholarship.  I guess in this chapter I’ll just replace the word  “Race” with the word  “Divorce” to understand the way that White People parent use denial in their parenting procedures. We must remember that only 15 percent of adults in San Francisco even have children.  And, if making less than $100,000 per year, these people are most likely Hispanic.  Poor whites and blacks have moved over to the East Bay.

Big Chapter on Siblings.  Wonder if Step-Siblings will be mentioned.  Half siblings?  The Birth Order lecture but without the re-Birth Order of Step Families and Half Families?  That’s to be expected.  Maybe I’ll be surprised?   This is a book about shock, after all.

“Divorce” isn’t mentioned in the Table of Contents.  “Divorce” isn’t listed in the index.  This is a book about Modern Child Psychology?  “Hey Mom  I’m, I’m, I’m Where’s Home?  Call me later, Mom, I’ll be at the neighbors’.”

http://www.nurtureshock.com/

Okay, Okay, I’m negative and mean and suffer from Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder (teehee).  And I’m really, really frustrated and totally freaked out by this.  And I haven’t read the book yet.  I’m just speculating. (but, really folks, how can people be so damn dumb?)



Fresh Air Interview: The Memory Palace

Writer and Artist Mira Bartok is interviewed by Terry Gross on the NPR program Fresh Air about a memoir she has written called The Memory Palace.

I’m assuming that Mira Bartok is a Child of Divorce but the Big D is never mentioned in the interview.  Mira’s relationship with her Father is briefly mentioned to say that he left the family when she was 4 years old and Mira moved with her Sister and her Mother into their Grandparents’ house.  Her Mother, an accompalished pianist, suffered from schizophrenia and her Grandfather seems to also have some sort of mental illness.  Both Mother and Grandfather were violent.  Mira and her Sister have both achieved success in life working in the humanities.

The blurb which drew me to the interview said that Mira began to understand her Mother’s illness better after suffering traumatic brain injury when a Truck hit her when she was 40.  She suffers from memory problems, both short and long term.

The interview with Terry Gross mostly discusses what it must be like to have a mentally ill family member who ends up homeless because their behavior is impossible to treat.  I wish there had been discussion about how it might be different to be the child of a mentally ill parent as I feel that sets up a different relationship dynamic than for a parent to deal with a mentally ill child.  It’s much easier to get a child into treatment than it is for a child because the parent is used to giving the commands rather than receiving them.

At one point Bartok says something like (not an exact quote most likely):

“We (she and her sister) needed to be safe and we needed for someone to keep her safe.”

I think that this is what parenting is all about and I think it is a huge problem for Children of Divorce, whether we want to say it or not.  The parents think that if they assure the child that he’s loved that this is enough.  But, then, the child marries a new partner and does nothing to protect the child from entering into the new relationship at his own emotional speed.  Since Bartok is probably around the same age that I am I know that girls of our generation were rarely considered “safe” when left alone.  Probably this is less so now but I don’t have a clue.

Bartok’s Grandfather died at some point, not sure what age she was at that point.  She placed her Grandmother into an eldercare program in 1989 and her Mother’s situation deteriorated very quickly after that.  By 1990 she was homeless.  There is great discussion here about how and why Bartok couldn’t take care of her Mother and didn’t talk to her for 17 years.  Her Mother lived to be more than 80 years old and the homeless shelter where she had lived for a few years before her death is named after her.

Am really interested to read this book.  Guess I’m jumping the gun by writing about it right now.  Wonder what it must be like to have memory problems and to be trying patch up such a difficult upbringing at the same time.

 



Book About Spoiled Children
September 7, 2010, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Astrology stuff, Books

Have been mindlessly perusing a book I found in the library called Raising a Happy, Unspoiled Child:  How Parents Can be Both Firm and Loving and Help Their Baby Develop Into a Secure and Well-Adjusted Child by Burton L. White.  Kind of strange that the author who specializes in child development of up to 3 years old doesn’t seem to discuss divorce, meaning that he doesn’t seem to be aware of ALL THE SPOILED CHILDREN OF DIVORCE WHO ARE PLAGUING THE WORLD THIS VERY MINUTE!!!

Okay, Okay, calming down, inhale, exhale.

At any rate, babies begin to start crying With INTENTION at age 5 1/2 months.  And so, if Mom and Dad fall for that the kid will be a totally demanding mess for the rest of his/her life.

Hmmm, 5 1/2 months by Astrological Cycle standards.  Is there any way to associate these with why a baby would suddenly understand that he can intentionally make demands?  That would be around the time of the first Mercury and Venus oppositions (oppositions, relationships, balance) and the first Mars square (challenges).  Venus is probably the planet associated most with being spoiled through rulership of money and possessions, anything sugar coated.  Venus through Libra rulership can feel incomplete as a person, and, in an undeveloped state, will always be looking outside him or herself for Happiness.  (Venus rules the Feminine principle).  Mars is the planet associated with going ahead and doing what one wants regardless of what others think (the Masculine principle).  Mercury is the Trickster.  I wonder if it’s Mercury’s cleverness that is associated most with “Intention.”

At any rate, the writer tells parents how to decipher a real cry from an intentional one.  I have noticed that as someone who doesn’t have children I tend to assume that all children are crying intentionally just to be a pain in the ass.  I think this is probably true of how most step-mothers approach step-parenting.

The really interesting thing about Burton L. White’s work is that he separates the phases of development by the Jupiter Cycle.  He says that if you handle the first two years correctly your kid will be happy and easy going (Jupiterian words) by the Age of 3.  Then he says that Age 6, around time of first Jupiter Opposition, there’s another phase of development in which “Spoiled” will come up.  Basically, Jupiter’s negative side is that he overdoes everything.  Jupiter doesn’t handle restraints and barriers very well.  Often it’s really fun when Jupiter is overdoing things because generally he does it with fun and flair.  When you say that a person is acting “Full of Himself” often you are sort of describing his Jupiter side.  Jupiterians tend to be Charmers.  In adulthood I suspect that it’s more the Saturnians who are spoiled as adults.  Saturn will demand things left and right and it’s much more complicated a situation to deal with on an emotional level because Saturn tends to rule depression and feelings of failure and compensation.  I’m dragging my feet writing about the Saturn cycle at this point.

As I’ve said before, Childhood as described by the Astrological Cycles is described by the Inner Planets.  It seems to end at around the time of the first Jupiter Return which occurs around Age 11.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Rick Moody

Interesting NPR radio show (http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201009021000)  that I again heard only a portion of while driving in the car.  Writer Rick Moody is promoting his new book and discusses his other books.  The Ice Storm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ice_Storm_%28film%29) was made into a movie so there was a humorous chat about that.  He says that he wrote the book in response to the “Rabbit” series of books written by John Cheever.  I haven’t read the books myself because I read a couple of short stories by Cheever and I didn’t like his tone.  He comes across as the over-privileged, superiority-complex-ed White Guy standing in the room at parties very smug in his attitudes about everyone else, and especially the daughters.

And it’s interesting that Moody says that The Ice Storm is written as a sort of kids’ revenge story on the parents because they reflect that awful 1960s and 70s disregard that parents had for their children.  That’s exactly what I remembered from the stories.  Growing up,  I know that most kids were afraid of their parents.  Certainly these are the parents who created the Divorce Boom.  This was the beginning of the great experiments in relationships.  Families got thrown in as an afterthought and I think that new families moving into the divorce and step-family thing sort of think these were happy times.

So, I had to look up The Ice Storm.  As usual, haven’t read it.  I saw the movie and I do remember being stressed out by it, but all I can really remember is the theater I saw it in.  No offense to Rick Moody.  I sort of stop reading novels after my Father died for some reason.  I really enjoyed listening to the NPR show today and highly recommend it.

So, of course, I was curious to see if Rick Moody is a Child of Divorce.  Found this in an interview on a blog about him (The Black Veil which is referred to is a memoir that Moody wrote – a reviewer called him something like the worst writer alive, probably just got offended because he said that the divorce hurt him):

Moody’s biography can seem a little conventional. Born in 1961, he lived in a scatter plot of Connecticut towns until, at 15, he headed off to boarding school. Amid this, Moody’s parents divorced — ”We were the first in the neighborhood to achieve that milestone,” he would write in The Black Veil — and his problems began in earnest.

Those problems included marijuana, hash, quaaludes, PCP, LSD, cocaine, speed and heroin, in addition to copious amounts of alcohol and “bad jags of promiscuity” (The Black Veil, again). Moody still managed to get into Brown University (he studied with John Hawkes and Angela Carter) and to get closer to his dream of becoming a writer (he attempted his first novel at 11). He earned an M.F.A. from Columbia University and got a job at a prestigious New York publisher, but his life, physically and emotionally, was no longer on a sustainable track.