Spoiled Children of Divorce


Memoirs About Growing Up in Divorce

For some reason I suddenly became aware that there are several memoirs written by Children of Divorce. Just in case you need company during the Holidays…

(I haven’t read any of them yet)

Susan Thomas
In Spite of Everything

Clair Dederer
Poser

Mark Crandall
Eulogy of Childhood Memories

Amanda Stern
Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life



Sarah Colonna and Father’s Day Cards

Just heard comedian Sarah Colonna’s special called I Can’t Feel My Legs on Amazon Prime. Hope it’s ok to quote or paraphrase a part of her skit. I can’t write that fast and can’t read some of it. Awesome that the audience claps when she cracks a joke about having 2 dads. It might be safe to assume that she is a Child of Divorce but can’t say for sure. You don’t hear very many jokes about extended family stuff. A long time ago I was at a Comedy night and the comedian took a poll of the audience looking for Children of Divorce to see if it was worth it to crack Divorce jokes. He decided against. Only one girl raised her hand.

“I hate single grocery shopping because I’m not home a lot. I’m not in town a lot so I only buy a quick few things when I’m out at the grocery store.

I guess I need to make a list. Because if you make a list then you can look at what all your items altogether might look like to someone else when they’re in the basket.

Here’s an example. I was grocery shopping this (unknown word, can’t read my writing) in June which will make sense in a second. I was grocery shopping and had everything on the conveyor belt and there were two guys, early 30s and they were staring at me. ‘Oh here we go. Can’t even go to the grocery store anymore.’ I was bending over. Then I realize they’re not looking at me. They’re looking at the conveyor belt.

And that’s when I became painfully aware of what was on there. I had 2 bottles of vodka, you know, with the handle, the kind with the handle, tampons, skittles. I was hungry. And two Father’s Day cards (laughter & clapping). It’s like, O My God! Look at that girl with her period, her drinking problem, and all those Dads!!!”



Bullying and Step-Families

With all the mention of Bullying in the news I don’t think I’ve ever heard mention of how this happens in Step-Families. Unlike schoolyard bullying, bullying at home by step-parents is never addressed by the biological parents. They will sit back and watch it happen. The Teachers at school will sit back and watch it happen. Psychologists never do anything for anyone so I suppose I should not have mentioned them in the first place. The options are either for the child to ask to live with the other parent or another relative like a Grandparent or to tell a teacher so that Social Services will remove him/her from the home. All I can say, speaking from experience, is: do it.

If a child is bullied by a family like this he/she will be marked to be bullied later on in life. In family a child can’t escape this type of irrational behavior.



Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is an unwanted diagnosis. Therapists dread treating it. If you want to know more about it you can google the endless entries on the web. It’s kind of like being trapped in a kid’s mind as an adult because the personalities swing back and forth between hot and cold feelings very quickly. There is a fear of abandonment, a lot of self injury and suicidality. Sound like Child of Divorce issues?

While looking up well-known people who struggle with this disorder I found that a huge percentage come from divorced families. I also noticed that children who are diagnosed as Borderline have step-parents which could indicate they are victims of stressful homes.

Here’s is an article which says that Children of Divorce are more vulnerable to Borderline Personality Disorder. Here is a quote from the article on research from back in 1996:

JoelParis(1994,1996)suggested that biologicalvulnerabilityis necessarybutnot sufficient to cause BPD. Varying psychological factors can precipitate BPD inthe presence of biological vulnerability. Paris maintained that the impact of socialdisintegration and rapid social change, such as breakdown of the traditional familyand changing social norms, are nonspecific risk factors in the etiology of BPD.Cross-cultural studies reveal the possibility that structured traditional societiesdiminish the emergence of this disorder.

(PDF) Children At-Risk for Borderline…. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257827646_Children_At-Risk_for_Borderline_Personality_Disorder [accessed Jul 22 2018].

I wonder if this is one of those psychological diseases which could be deactivated if the therapist could actually talk about divorce. It really doesn’t take much. If you’ve read about how the ACE study brought remarkable results for adults who had traumatic childhoods, you will understand that often the practitioner just has to mention the problem, maybe fake concern, maybe add a couple of knowledgeable details. But, denial is the reality of growing up with leftover divorce trauma.



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.



Borderline Personality Disorder Among Children of Divorce

Borderline Personality Disorder is an unwanted diagnosis. Therapists dread it because they say it’s not treatable. If you want to know more about it you can google the google. It sounds like being trapped in a kid’s mind as an adult because there is a problem with emotional regulation. The person’s moods swing back and forth between hot and cold feelings very quickly. There is a fear of abandonment, self injury and suicidality. While looking up well-known people who struggle with this disorder I found that a huge percentage come from divorced families.

Here’s is a list of famous people I’ve found who may be Borderline along with whether they are from Divorce:

Amy Winehouse – parents divorced
Pete Doherty –
Britney Spears – parents divorced
Courtney Love – parents divorced
Lindsey Lohan – parents divorced
Princess Diana – parents divorced
Angelina Jolie – parents divorced
Marilyn Monroe – parents divorced, maybe never married
Darrel Hammond –
Scott Levy –
Brand Marshall – parents married Age 3, divorced age 6
Anais Nin – parents divorced Age 2
Ernest Hemingway –
Elon Musk? – parents divorced

This is an interesting list. I’m not sure if these are real diagnoses since they are from off the internet. Borderline Personality Disorder is said to be a predominantly female illness but it looks from this list that it could be a predominantly male illness since the male examples may not come from divorce. That’s interesting because psychological studies have generally commented on how boys suffer the most from Divorce. (Scott Levy only lists his Father in his biography so he may be from divorce.) The Diagnosis isn’t made until after the child turns 18.

PTSD diagnosis can’t be made from Death or Divorce but there is now a trauma from childhood diagnosis which might take over these diagnosis. The ACE study includes loss of a parent through death or divorce.

Therapists seem to agree that childhood trauma is a major influence.

Here’s is an article which says that Children of Divorce are more vulnerable to Borderline Personality Disorder. Here is a quote from the article on research from back in 1996:

JoelParis(1994,1996)suggested that biologicalvulnerabilityis necessarybutnot sufficient to cause BPD. Varying psychological factors can precipitate BPD inthe presence of biological vulnerability. Paris maintained that the impact of socialdisintegration and rapid social change, such as breakdown of the traditional familyand changing social norms, are nonspecific risk factors in the etiology of BPD.Cross-cultural studies reveal the possibility that structured traditional societies diminish the emergence of this disorder.

(PDF) Children At-Risk for Borderline…. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257827646_Children_At-Risk_for_Borderline_Personality_Disorder [accessed Jul 22 2018].

A child going through a divorce can be observing Borderline type of behavior from the parents and so the behavior may be from the stress of coping with that.

Don’t have the link anymore but I think there is a Psychology Today article about the divorce rate and Borderline Personality Disorders. I may not be remembering this correctly so don’t quote me. Borderlines are less likely to marry in the first place, have the same divorce rates, when they do divorce they are less likely to remarry.



Complex PTSD as a result of Divorce

Dealing with parents who are blaming you for everything, probably even dealing with parents who blame each other for everything, can lead to later psychological problems which are now being labelled “Complex PTSD.” A child who regularly experiences this along with alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, mental illness, poverty, neglect, unreliability, blame, suicide, etc. etc. could develop Complex PTSD. Here is an article which discusses Learned Helplessness which is one symptom associated with complex-PTSD. The author does not recognize fallout from divorce. They never do. Get used to it. She connects it to feeling shame. Learned helplessness can result from trying to get your parents to stop arguing, witnessing domestic violence, trying to convince a parent to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, probably even waiting to be picked up from school if the parent is chronically late and the other kids have all left. It seems there are some studies about this for parents who go through divorce, especially the ones who divorce a Narcissist. I guess kids who are left to fend for themselves with a Narcissistic parent. A psychologist will not gloss over the fact that you had a narcissistic parent. A great Huffington Post article explains what this means. The writer Craig Malkin describes 8 problems which children of narcissistic parents face: 1. Chronic self-blame 2. Echoism 3. Insecure attachment 4. Need-panic 5. Fierce independence 6. Parentified child 7. Extreme narcissism 8. PTSD.

Psych researchers are picking through various talked about problems and trying to identify whether struggle s a child of divorce is dealing with is related to the divorce or whether it is related to the actual problem. Don’t have a link, but one study found that certain stress symptoms are related to being a child of an alcoholic rather than a child of divorce. I don’t think the study looked at children who experienced death of a parent or whose parents never married to compare. Maybe they have at the research level.

I’ve discussed the ACE Study before. The Huffington Post wrote a great 4-part article on the ACE Study. If interested try looking there. It’s a huge study of employed, functional people who developed chronic illness later in life. It found a direct link between chronic illness and multiple stressors in the life. There are more stressors than included in the study. All a Doctor has to do is to question the patient about the 9 stressors involved and then patients will have remarkably fewer problems with the illness. Something like a 30 percent reduction of office visits.