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.



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.



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.



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.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Meghan Markel

American Actress, Meghan Markel is engaged to marry Prince Harry of England in May. Both are Children of Divorce. Meghan was six years old when her parents split. Harry was eleven when his parents split and twelve when his Mother died.

Marriage can be a complicated event for Children of Divorce. All events are more complicated because there are so many more people to think about. Meghan’s Father lives in Mexico and will walk her down the aisle. Meghan didn’t invite many members of her Mother’s extended family. Some gave some really insulting interviews right after the announcement. Yahoo article here.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Mark Manson

Here’s an except blogger Mark Manson wrote about his parents’ divorce in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Completely different from my own experience. Manson writes a blog giving dating advice and has published an article called “It’s not our parents’ fault” which doesn’t discuss Divorce at all.

from pp. 52-55

“And just when I had finally cleaned up my act and turned in my assignments and learned the value of good clerical responsibility, my parents decided to get divorced.

“I tell you all of this only to point out that my adolescence sucked donkey balls. I lost all of my friends, my community, my legal rights, and my family within the span of about nine months. My Therapist in my twenties would later call this ‘some real traumatic shit,’ and I would spend the next decade-and- change working on unraveling it and becoming less of a self-absorbed, entitled little prick.

“The problem with my home life back then was not all of the horrible things that were said or done; rather, it was all of the horrible things that needed to be said and done but weren’t. My family stonewalls the way Warren Buffet makes money or Janna Jameson fucks: we’re champions at it. The house could have been burning down around us and it would have been met with, ‘Oh no, everything’s fine. A tad warm in here, perhaps–but really, everything’s fine.’

“When my parents got divorced, there were no broken dishes, no slammed doors, no screaming arguments about who fucked whom. Once they had reassured my brother and me that it wasn’t our fault, we had a Q&A session — yes you read that right — about the logistics of the new living arrangement. Not a tear was shed. Not a voice was raised. The closest peek my brother and I got into our parents’ unraveling emotional lives was hearing, ‘Nobody cheated on anybody.’ Oh, that’s nice. It was a tad warm in the room, but really, everything was fine.

….

“When ‘real traumatic shit’ like this happens in our lives, we begin to unconsciously feel as though we have problems that we’re incapable of ever solving. And this assume inability to solve our problems causes us to feel miserable and helpless.

“But it also causes something else to happen. If we have problems that are unsolvable, our unconscious figures that we’re either uniquely special or uniquely defective in some way. That we’re somehow unlike everyone else and that the rules must be different for us.

“Put simply: we become entitled.

“The pain from my adolescence led me down a road of entitlement that lasted through much of my early adulthood.

….

“My trauma had revolved around intimacy and acceptance, so I felt a constant need to overcompensate, to proe to myself that I was loved and accepted at all times. And as a result, I soon took to chasing women the same way a cocaine addict takes to a snowman made out of cocaine: I made sweet love to it, and then promptly suffocated myself in it.

“I became a player–an immature, selfish, albeit sometimes charming player. And I strung up a long series of superficial and unhealthy relationships for the better part of a decade.

“I was often unemployed, living on friends’ couches or with my mom, drinking way more than I should have been, alienating a number of friends–and when I did meet a woman I really like, my self-absorption quickly torpedoed everything.



Estate Planning Help for Families of Divorce

Lawyers just do as they are told. If a ten times divorced rich guy shows up at the office and wants to leave all his money to his 3d wife and her hamster, the lawyer will write up the will that way. Rich people tend to love money and power, maybe just money. Often they don’t like their kids as much. Some people are just in denial that they’ll ever die. And, of course, there are hundreds of other stories about why children of divorce don’t receive an inheritance. Love is generally not equated with Loyalty in Divorced families the way it is in intact families.

After a divorced parent dies the grieving process for a Child of Divorce will also be different. A Will is a parent’s last words to his/her child. If there are no possessions or money this won’t be an issue. But, if no inheritance, no love, point blank. So the grieving process will bring up all the old crap from the divorce days/years/decades along with the current grieving process for a parent. Divorce is War. This is one of the many fall-outs from War usually decades after the War. Therapists don’t give a rats ass about the whole process because most therapists are 1) from intact families and 2) divorced themselves and so defensive that they will not worry themselves over this.

So, here is a start. The reviews are mixed and don’t really give much information about whether these books really are friendly to the kids. Different States have different rules and I don’t know if the books cover this. That’s why my Father maintained residency in Washington rather than California even though he had homes in both and had lived in Washington only a few years and had died in California. He wrote his will in Washington and it could have been contested in California.

Estate Planning for the Blended Family by L. Paul Hood Jr. and Emily Bouchard. (2012)

and

Estate Planning for Blended Families by Richard E. Barnes (NOLO Press, 2009)