Spoiled Children of Divorce


“A Separation”

The 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Film was given to a movie made in Iran.  It’s called “A Separation.”  It’s also a movie about Divorce, but the Hollywood film scene thinks it’s a movie about a couple struggling to make a better life for themselves in a different country. 

Anyway, this isn’t another immigration story with a happy ending. Unless you want to move to Iran because artists and intellectuals there are capable of expressing deep thoughts.  The IMDb database describes it as:

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.

If that’s what the U.S. viewer thinks this is the story he’s going to see he’s in for a rude awakening, especially if he’s a divorced parent.  Or, at least I think he might get an awakening.   Divorced parents are pretty stubborn people.  Hollywood certainly didn’t get it.  If it had it certainly wouldn’t have given an award to it.

So, during the first scene you see the couple explaining their divorce to a judge.  They both give their arguments.  Things get tense, the judge has to tell them to shut up a couple of times and then they file for the divorce which the wife wants and the husband doesn’t want.  They have a 12-year old daughter who wants to stay at home with the father and grandfather. 

The Mother goes to live with her parents and the Father is faced with having to hire someone to stay with his Father all day long.  He hires someone who is not comfortable with the job.  Things get worse and worse and the caretaker ends up leaving the grandfather in the house alone tied to the bed.  This leads to the Father coming home and getting really angry and shoving her out the door.   Pregnant, she falls and suffers a miscarriage.  The Father is taken into court for murdering the unborn child and the dirty laundry and guilt/innocence of everyone involved gets aired.

Where things get interesting from a Child of Divorce’s point of view is seeing the divorce through the 12-year old daughter’s eyes, of course.  Through all the emotional traumas both the parents’ flaws come to the forefront.  One can see that they are both good people and loving parents. One can also begin to see why they don’t get along.  One can also see that they can’t discuss the other’s flaws with each other.  And while they can’t talk to each other they can easily tell the daughter what they are thinking and feeling.  She then relays the message because, as a 12 year old she is trying to figure the whole situation out herself.  The flaws sort of seem like trivial differences.  The daughter can see the games that men and women play with each other long before she learns about this from her own relationships as is natural. 

The daughter’s presence was strongly felt throughout, but I realized that her point of view was never shown until somebody asked her a question and the camera stayed on her face and she just stared off blankly not saying anything.  There it was.  The amazing silence!

After that I was emotionally involved with her.  Divorce is an extremely emotional experience about relationship failure, but during divorce people don’t think about feelings or relationships, they talk and they talk and they think it will all be okay once the papers are signed.  They are intent only on the action of splitting, even if it means splitting the kid in half.   The way the movie handles the silences and the communications is unbelievably brilliant.   The last scene brings an extreme emotional shock which brings this idea of Silence and the impossible feelings that exist within Divorced families. 

 What was even more shocking was to be watching the movie in a theater in California with mostly older couples.  California being the Divorce capital of the world, I can only assume there were some couples were working on second and third marriages in that room.  Either way, the air in the room was thick when I walked out, and, nobody was talking.  I hadn’t felt that in a long time because my parents have been dead a long time.  It would always lead to my step-mother making a weird sucking sound in her throat and to my Mother havin to go out and get drunk.  My Father would act as if the family were normal.  It involved guilt and denial and blame.  I always knew that life would be easier if I just avoided talking at those points.



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.



Sister Sledge 1979
February 1, 2011, 2:23 am
Filed under: creativity, Feminist Attitude, siblings, Songs

We Are Family.

Get the Ringtone.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Barbara Billingsly

Everyone knows that Beaver Cleaver’s Mom was a saccharin sweet dream of a mom who couldn’t possibly exist in real life.   She was always at home in the kitchen cheerfully cleaning and cooking while wearing legendary pearl necklace and high heels.  But, was the actress behind the Icon of Everyone’s Favorite TV Mom drawing from her own life or creating an idealistic vision of how Mom’s should act?

It’s really amazing how far from that life was the life of the actress who play June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver.  Not only was Barbara Billingsly divorced with two sons of her own, but she was also a Child of Divorce herself.  She was also a Step-Mother. Billingsly’s real life had nothing to do with her famous TV character.

Barbara Billingsly was born Dec. 22, 1915 in Los Angeles, CA to a policeman and his first wife.  She had one older sister.  Billingsly’s parents divorced before her 4th Birthday according to Wikipedia.  Other sources say that they divorced when she was an infant.  Billingsly’s Father remarried.

As already stated, Billingsly had two sons of her own with her first husband.  She remarried two more times after that.  Her second husband passed away in 1956 a year before Leave It To Beaver debuted on TV.  Billingsly then married her third husband in 1959 and gained step-children through that marriage.

Leave It To Beaver aired  between 1957 and 1963 and is still playing in re-runs.

Billingsly passed away last week on October 16 (2010) at the age of 94.  I send my condolences to her friends and family and the entire TV viewing community.  That show was a classic.

The astrology of Billingsly’s chart is extremely interesting.  With regards to cycles, she was one of the few who not only made it to her Uranus Return, but she made it to her Pluto opposition.  In her case, both cyclic transits are significant.  Billingsly’s natal Uranus is in its own sign of Aquarius and in conjunction with her North Node (Destiny).  This aspect is unaspected by major aspect to the planets in her chart which means that it took on a life of its own.  Uranus/Aquarius is associated with Hopes and Wishes but also with Technology.  People who are comfortable with new technologies will often have a strong Uranian element in their chart.

Billingsly’s natal Sun was on the last degree of independent Sagittarius and was opposing Pluto 3 Cancer in her natal chart.  Astrology buffs will realize that she had recently gone through a major passage of Pluto over that degree.  While Pluto is often associated with Death it usually indicates a spiritual death of some kind, not a physical death unless the 4th house (end of life) and 12th House (chronic disease) are also involved.

Billingsly’s natal Moon, sign of the Mother, can’t be placed exactly because I don’t have a time of birth to draw up her chart with.  But it will definitely be in its own sign of Cancer.  It is possibly also in conjunction with natal Saturn in Cancer Rx which shows a difficult childhood and complicated parental role models.

Billingsly’s natal Mars is in Leo, sign of acting and drama.  It went retrograde by progression when she was around 10 years old so it remained in Leo for her entire life.  It stationed directly around 2003 or 2004. Since Mars is the sign which rules young boys it is interesting how Billingsly became typecast in her profession as the ideal Mother of two boys.

Billingsly’s portrayal of the ideal on screen female of her generation is also shown in her natal chart.  She has an opposition of Venus (women, arts) to Neptune (film, tv, idealism, the arts) in her chart.  Venus is in the sign of Capricorn which shows that she expresses her female side best through her career and by taking charge (not exactly the typical Mom, really).  Neptune is in the sign of Leo, sign of acting.  This combination can also show a marriage that is affected by alcoholism or addiction.



Kids Who Move Around A Lot

I’m trying to read what is considered a classic book on child rearing, the name of which I can’t really remember, something on Nurturing?  It’s written by a woman who says that kids will turn out the way they turn out whether they have good parenting or not.  It tests the Nature v. Nurture theories in order to let the parents off the hook.  Needless to say it’s been a bestseller.

The book is highly praised by Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Pinker so it has to be good.  And it’s fun to read, the writer lists all kinds of interesting studies and has a strong voice/attitude.  And then I start to get hot-headed about the stupid Children of D comments.  Watching the dance around talking about growing up in a split household is so unbelievably unbelievable.  The writer, can’t remember her name, will get it at some point, talks about a lot of the same studies that Paul Ekman talked about in his book, but from the point of view of the modern woman who is free to do as she pleases in life in order to pursue her happiness.  She does discuss Divorce, about maybe 30 pages worth in a book that’s about 400 pages long.  In those pages there is the stupid argument about the study that says that kids who grow up in Divorce are more screwed up than the kids who suffer the death of a parent.  She, the writer, rebutts that idea saying  it would surely be a whole lot worse to have had a parent who died of AIDS than to have have divorced parents.  What is the ratio of kids who had a parent who died of AIDS to the kids who are growing up in Divorce?  I’ve never met someone whose parent died of AIDS so I really can’t say.  So, a lot of the arguments are unbelievably immature and silly. A kid from a divorced family whose parent dies of AIDS has to go through the whole process by himself without the support of a healthy family to share the experience with.  Now, there’s something to feel bad about.

The writer says these things sort of in the same obnoxious tone that I say stupid things so it doesn’t bother me all that much (but I will point out that they are stupid arguments).

What does bother me is that all the arguments about how Divorce isn’t a difficult situation for a kid to grow up are stuck in the Chapter on Dysfunctional Families.

For one, when you are growing up in Divorce you are not necessarily growing up in a dysfunctional family. You might be growing up in two dysfunctional families.  You might be growing up in two functional families but you are strangers with half of the members in each and don’t really feel like you belong anywhere.  It is highly likely that you are growing up in one normal family and one dysfunctional family, depending on which parent enters a 12 step program (or not, their preference).  And the members of the normal family will constantly discuss how abnormal the member of your dysfunctional family are, but they acknowledge that they can do nothing to help you with that problem which makes you totally hate functional people who are generally very self-involved and concerned about their own self-preservation.  And, anyway, the only people who really view themselves as being functional are the shrinks, of course, and we all know how far from reality that is.

So, at any rate, the writer of the book on nurturing, or how we don’t need nurturing, says that one of the real problems for children, the thing that really does cause stress for a child is moving around a lot.  It turns out that the writer’s family moved around a lot and she’s set up the entire tone of the book around her own experience and needs.  She doesn’t discuss packing suitcases or traveling on airplanes alone so I don’t know how much she really did move around as a child.  I mean, by some kids’ standards, she probably had a pretty stable environment.  I mean,  a lot can happen inside the silverware drawer in one parent’s house during the week that you are at the other parent’s house.

So, folks, there are studies out there that say that kids who move around a lot during childhood are more stressed out than kids who don’t move around a lot.  Does this sound like something that many kids from divorce go through?  Why can’t the writer and her buds make this mental leap?  How difficult is it really to connect the dots here?  I know, I know, talking about how divorce wrecks the kids is a marketer’s nightmare.

You know, it really doesn’t matter as long as the CDC refuses to add California to their Divorce Statistics.  How can you claim to have any statistics at all about Divorce in the U.S. if you don’t include the most populated state, the State where everyone moves to and divorces a year later in order to find themselves?  The housing in California is so expensive and tight that many kids from Divorce live in the closet in their Mothers’ apartments for the first two years after the divorce.  Is this cozy?  Why yes, it must be.  That’s why Mommy’s going to school to become a shrink.  So she can help others to not feel guilty about making their kids live in the closet too and then if everyone’s doing it it must be right.  Right?