Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Children of Divorce – Elon Musk

The numbers of Children of Divorce who are included on Time Magazine’s 100 People of the Year Lists has gone up. I forgot the exact count, maybe 11 to 13. Plus about 5 more people who grew up in a single parent family where the parents never married. I couldn’t find out information on about 20 of the people on the list so I’m not taking these numbers too seriously. What I’m really happy about is the quality of the Children of Divorce on this list because many included are probably not really very impressive leaders in my opinion.

Elon Musk is one of the super impressive ones. Musk is a visionary who takes big risks like creating car company Tesla and turning space travel into a tourist industry. He must have watched a lot of “The Jetsons” when he was a kid. Actually I think he was busy doing other stuff. According to Wikipedia Musk read a lot. Became interested in computing at at 10. That’s just a year after his parents’ divorce so maybe have a lot of time to himself contributed to this. Must taught himself programming at Age 12.

According to this article from BusinessInsider, Musk describes his childhood as “excruciating.” He grew up in South Africa. His Mother was a Model from Canada and his Father was an Electromechanical engineer. His parents divorced in 1980 so Musk would have been around 9 at that time. After two years he lived exclusively with his Father. He says that this was a mistake and that his Father was emotionally abusive. They are currently estranged. According to People Magazine Musk’s Father had a child with his step-daughter who is, of course, his step-daughter, but is also 40 years younger. His Father calls Elon a spoiled child…..ah, hahahahahahahahahaha. How appropriate for a Child of Divorce. What a lovely man, and how many of these idiots are out there?

Musk’s Mother is the covergirl of a company. She talks about how she created the entrepreneurial spirit in her children in this Businessinsider article.

Musk is the oldest of 3 children in his first family, a brother and sister. He also has a half-brother and half-sister.

Musk was also deeply affected by bullying at school. During one episode he had to be hospitalized. He was knocked unconscious when some boys threw him down a concrete stairwell.

The Month that Musk turned 18 he got out of dodge and moved to Canada where he was able to get a passport because his Mother was Canadian. He finished two Bachelors degrees in Physics and Economics and then moved to California to get a Ph.d at Stanford. But dropped out after 2 days in order to start businesses. He partnered with his brother for his first business (funded at least in part by hs Mother) and has since started a series of successful companies such as PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, the space rocket company.

According to Wikipedia Musk has been married and divorced three times, but the last two were to the same woman. He had 6 children with his first wife, but the first baby died of SIDs after 10 weeks.

According to this article in SiliconBeat someone got onto Musk’s Twitter account and asked him if he is Bipolar so he may have some issues. Musk answered “yeah” but qualifies that as not clinical.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler is a 20th Century detective novel writer written in a “hard-boiled style.” Some of the titles were The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, and The Long Good-Bye. One might expect that a writer would discuss his childhood a bit but in the book Raymond Chandler Speaking (Gardner and Walker, p.20) he gives two liners to each parent.

His father: “My father was a graduate of Penn, a civil engineer. Divorced when I was seven…Never saw my father again.”

His Mother: “My Mother soon after returned to England to live with her mother and manage the house, and of course I went with her.”

Chandler grew up in Chicago until he was 7 years old. His Father worked for the railroads and was drunk most of the time. Chandler wrote that he was “found drunk if he was found at all.” (Hiney, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography, p. 4).

Chandler’s Mother was born in Ireland and they moved to Ireland to live with family after his Father disappeared for the last time. They had lost their house and were living in a hotel where the boy caught Scarlett Fever. Chandler’s Mother never talked about his Father again.

Chandler said that he had wished his Mother had remarried in London. “I know that my mother had affairs — she wa a very beautiful woman– and the only thing that I felt to be wrong was that she refused to marry again for fear a step-father would not treat me kindly, since my father was such a swine.” (Honey, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography, p. 10)

Chandler had generous relatives and grew up in Britain. He and his Mother returned to the United States. He worked at several professions, getting fired for drinking himself. He didn’t write his first story until 1933 at Age 45. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published when he was 51.

Chandler fell in love with the step-mother of a friend who was 18 years his senior. His Mother forbade the relationship so Chandler didn’t marry Cissy until after her death. When his wife died in 1954 Chandler attempted suicide.

Chandler died in 1959 of pneumonia which was brought on by alcoholism.



People in Their 40s Most Delinquent on Student Loans…Related to Divorce in Childhood?
July 20, 2012, 11:45 pm
Filed under: College Drop Out, Long Term Fallout, money, poverty

A Huffington Post article describes how people in their 40s currently have higher delinquency rates on their student loans than other age groups.

These people would be born between 1963 and 1973.  This means they were born at the peak of the Divorce Boom.  I wonder if any studies will ever be made which try to see if these defaults could be connected with long term fall out from growing up in divorce.

People who grew up in divorce have a higher drop out rate from college.  There could be multiple reasons for this the most obvious is because of money.  They may have to enter or re-enter college later on in life when they are already burdened with other responsibilities.

In addition there could be historical social/financial factors involved. There were recessions around 1973, 1981 and 1990 so maybe this generation just grew up with an extra weakened immunity to financial problems during their childhoods.  Divorce would have compounded the problems for them personally.  Kids going through their parents’ divorce often suddenly plummet into poverty in the years after the divorce.  I ‘ve discussed this before.  I even mentioned a study a while back that found that even a 1 month length of time living below the poverty line can cause serious damage to a child.

They may actually be at the age that their parents were when they divorced so are repeating the same behaviors on a subconscious level.

Perhaps the younger generations won’t suffer the same problems.  Times are special now because of the extended Recession/Depression.  I’d like to say that society has a more sophisticated attitude towards shielding kids from their parents’ life style choices, but I know on a personal level that this is not the reality.  Psychiatry seems to have turned to creating actual weaponry for the government through “Non Violent” tortures and interrogations, so is even less interested in helping kids from divorce than it was before.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Oliver Stone

It’s amazing how many Children of Divorce, the guys at any rate, grew up to become famous movie Directors.

This morning I was listening to the NPR radio station in my area and heard a very interesting interview with Oliver Stone.  He was talking about his life as well as his movies.  And Michael Krasney, the interviewer actually asked him to speak about his parents’ divorce. (awesome!, and of course Stone couldn’t really find the words to discuss it.)

Stone was born into comfort in New York and Connecticut. His Father was a stockbroker.  Wikipedia says that his parents divorced when Stone was 15 because his Father tended to end up having affairs with family friends.  Stone had a strong relationship with his  father, but his Mother was absent much of the time.  In the interview Stone says that he was sent to boarding school when he was 14 and this in connection with the divorce was a time of great loss.  Can’t remember his exact words because I was driving while listening to the interview.

I suppose that growing up in divorce trauma not only gives one a heightened of how to tell a story emotionally but to have an extra layer of understanding about human motivations.  One also has the freedom, in a sense, to devote one’s time to something outside of family and relationships.  Movie sets probably become like little families that disperse quickly.

Stone graduated from the boarding school and was accepted at Yale but dropped out after a year.  According to one article he decided to reinvent himself and went to Asia.  Religion appears to have played a big part in Stone’s life.  His Father was Jewish, his Mother was Catholic and they decided to raise him Episcopalian.  That’s nuts of course.  Stone has studied Buddhism for most of his adult life.

Stone fought in the Vietnam War and has made 3 movies about this experience.  The most famous is Platoon.

It seems to be a very positive survival step when Children of Divorce decide to completely reinvent themselves soon after leaving home around Age 18 or 19.  Changing one’s name, throwing one’s self into a career (one that doesn’t require College), seeking out a new religion and a better way of life than one has been brought up in is a big potential gift that one can take from this upbringing. Uranus rules Divorce so those who can enjoy Uranian lifestyles perhaps do better than those who don’t.

In the interview, Stone talks about his problems with addiction and his mental health issues as an adult.

He discusses the motives behind choosing many of the themes for his movies.  One can sense that being a witness to the reality behind one’s parents’ wedded bliss can really trigger the seeker in all of us.   Stone  seeks to find the real truth.  Political fraud.  Violence.  What really happens in history outside what one reads from textbooks and news reports.  Okay, okay, and there’s a lot of dramatization, exaggeration, and conspiracy theory there.  And those last reasons are what sell his movies.

Stone is on his third marriage.  He has two sons from his second marriage and has a daughter with his third and current wife.  Stone himself was an only child.



“Blue Valentine”

Saw the movie Blue Valentine this week-end, a movie about a married couple whose relationship is falling apart.  They have one daughter.  The story is about the struggle to stay together together, the shock of not being able to make it work.  There is one child, a daughter.  The movie unfolds in a series of flashbacks which shows both why the relationship came together and why it fell apart. The deciding scene takes place in a creepy motel room called “The Future Room” in which one can see that there is no future here.  The acting, by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, is really incredible.

I don’t think I’m going to say more, except to say that the husband is from a divorce background.  One can see his Child of D personality as he is abnormally sensitive to other peoples’ feelings but also can’t put his life in forward gear.  This is dragging his wife down.  Gosling’s characters’ Mother left the family when he was 10 and was never seen again.  He didn’t finish college and and has worked in low paying jobs his whole life, maintaining a light hearted personality while dragging his life down with obsessive smoking and drinking.  He has no ambition to do anything in his life, and has no connections with the past.  He is portrayed in all kinds of mercurial relationships with home and house.  First he works as a mover, unpacking an old man’s belongings in the old folks home with uncharacteristic care.  Then he works as a house painter, delighting in seeing other people so happy with the improvements he can make in their homes.  Meanwhile, his own inability to find his own passion for living is what destroys his family.

Michelle Williams’ character is surrounded by family, although not necessarily a happy harmonious family.  I couldn’t tell if her parents were divorced.  She is mostly connected with her grandmother.  Williams’ character works as a nurse.   Gosling’s character met her just at the moment when she became pregnant from a bad boyfriend and rushed in to making a family with her.

Kind of interesting how in the final scene I felt a tinge of relief as they moved on, even though it was pretty clear that Gosling’s character was probably going to just get worse.   Of course, the last scene shows the daughter being ripped from her father, and, quickly recovering.

Maybe someday there will be a realistic movie about how she deals with her Mother’s second marriage.

No.  Wait.  Here we go:     Brady Bunch Theme Song.

Here’s a review.

Imdb



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Liza Lou

Biographies of Modern Artists are difficult to come by.  Artists speak through their work first and if they’re successful a biographer comes along and explains the life experience from which the art springs.  I was really pleased to find that Artist Liza Lou is from a divorced family.  Lou is an American Artist who makes unbelievably beautiful sculptures which are covered in tiny beads.  She became famous for her life-size portrayal of a modern american kitchen which sparkles and gleams.  It’s a feminist commentary.  It’s also interesting that she chose to show an idealized version of something related to home.

Lou’s childhood seems very strange.  Her parents were bohemian artists living in New York until they found God and became Born Again Christians and moved to the suburbs.  Lou’s Father seems to have gone off the deep-end.  She has performed a piece about his abuse.  Lou has a sister.  I don’t know what age she was when her parents divorced.  She is said to be still close to her Mother.

Excellent article (with pictures) here.

From the article:

“Liza’s work is an imitation of life, where nothing is real,” says her Paris gallerist, Thaddaeus Ropac. “At the same time, it’s so present that it can be very frightening.” According to art historian and critic Robert Pincus-Witten, it offers a unique synthesis of issues deriving from conceptualism, Pop art and feminism. “There’s that ambiguity between the extremely luxurious and the politically terrifying,” he says.

You don’t have to dig very deeply into Lou’s personal history to find the wellsprings for her works’ conflicting themes. Her parents lived determinedly bohemian lives in Manhattan until 1965, when they attended a revival meeting and became born-again Christians. After burning all of their books and artworks, including Roy Lichtenstein paintings that were gifts from the artist, they moved to Minnesota, where they worked for various fundamentalist churches. Lou and her sister grew up watching exorcisms and speaking in tongues.

At a certain point in her teens, Lou began to question some of the tales she’d been told: Did King David really speak to her mother in the hospital after Lou was born, to explain that the baby was a blessing unto this world? (Today, although not exactly an atheist, Lou says she isn’t a believer, either: “Certain things have to line up for me in terms of logic.”) In 1989 she took a summer trip to Europe, and in the cathedrals of Florence and Venice, she experienced revelations, though they had less to do with Jesus than with mosaics and Byzantine domes. “As an American kid who grew up in the suburbs—postmodern churches with plastic chairs and all that crap—it was totally transforming to be in a place that took hundreds of years to make,” Lou says. “That blew me away.”



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Edgar Allen Poe

“Once upon a midnight dreary”

was written by a Child of D.  I suppose it makes sense…

Last week’s New Yorker magazine published an article about Poe’s life called “The Humbug” written by Jill Lepore.

(http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2009/04/27/090427crat_atlarge_lepore)

Edgar Allen Poe was born to an actress.  A year after he was born his Father left.  Two years after Poe was born his Mother died.  Poe and his siblings were separated and Poe was raised by a wealthy merchant and his wife.  He was never adopted by these people.  It seems that wild swings in financial fortunes and power plays dominated the household of Poe’s childhood and  Poe was out on his own by the time he was 17. 

He also had drinking and gambling problems from very early on. Financially strapped, Poe joined the military for a while and then attended West Point.  He wrote for money. It seems he moved around a lot.  His love life seems equally difficult.  The women in his life seemed to have suffered illnesses and to have passed away.  At age 27 Poe married his 13 year old cousin.  The marriage lasted about 12 years before Virginia, his wife, died of tuberculosis.  Poe died at Age 40.

Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe