Spoiled Children of Divorce


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)



Parents as Sex Traders

When your parents divorce, often your relationship with both of them changes.  Whereas, previously, you may have been closest to your Father, you may become closer to your Mother after the divorce.  Then there are the stories of the child who becomes so difficult and unmanageable under care of one parent, he/she has to change households and has to go live with the other parent.  And then there’s the story which I just saw last night on TV…

Saw a very frightening show last night on Sex Trafficking.  The United States has grown one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Sex Trafficking capital of the World.  Sorry I can’t remember the name of the show, was wanting to link to it.  I think it was on MSNBC.  Am certain I will repeat some inaccurate details here in trying to describe the situation.

A young girl in the Bay Area was repeatedly raped by her Father from the age of 3 onwards.  At the Age of 8 years old her Father began to pimp her in order to make enough money for the family to buy a house.  The parents divorced when she was a teen and at that time the Mother, needing money, began to pimp the girl.

So, there you go, horror stories beyond anything most of us can imagine.  Her parents are immigrants who follow beliefs that daughters can be treated this way.  I grew up with what I think are pretty conservative values for women’s place in the world.  I’ve discussed my own situation, no sexual abuse, so I’m not saying that this happens only in Asian families.  This is a problem for female children overall in dysfunctional families.

The whole time growing up, this girl maintained a straight A average in school and played on her Soccer team.  She was very close to a teacher, I believe her old Soccer coach.  This young woman then managed to get in to UC Berkeley where she began therapy in order to try to make sense out of her life.  I believe she said that she is now around 25 years old and has stopped talking with her parents since she was around 20 years old.  Her strength is incredible.  She is speaking out in order to help others who might be in this same situation.

The parents were interviewed on the show and didn’t admit to anything.



“May die 2day”

Taboo subject here.  Even more forbidden than trying to seek help about how to deal with abusive step-parents.

This article is about a Mother who couldn’t get food stamps to feed her 2 children.  During an almost 7 hour stand off at the Welfare Office in Laredo, Texas, Rachel Grimmer’s 12-year old daughter posted a few frightening messages on her Facebook account about what she was going through as Mommy waves her gun around in despair.  At one point, she says she’s bored.  Guess perhaps she grew up listening to threatening rants.

At around midnight the Mother shot her two children, the 12 year old daughter and the 10 year old son in the head.  They have survived but are both in critical condition.  Ms. Grimmer then shot and killed herself.  I guess the welfare office supervisor wasn’t harmed.

Obviously, the Social Worker could have used some training.  He’s obviously telling lies all over the place about what was done to help.  And there are obviously some racial issues going on here.

The kid in this situation doesn’t ask for help, probably would resist it if it were offered, and it won’t be offered anyway because family, friends, and psychoblabbers  can’t stand the drama or even actually are amused by it.

The article tries to make sense out of the relationship between this family and the welfare system and it can’t.  It’s so unbelievable it sounds like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

This brings up a lot of issues.  But, for right now,  I pray that those kids will recover.

Here’s a good article from Australia about Filicide.  That’s people who kill their children.  Talks about connection with Divorce.  And the tendency for everyone around, friends, family, therapists, etc., to go into denial, or at least do nothing.   The grandmother wrote back on Facebook to her granddaughter that she was “there for you.”   She could have at least told the kid to take her brother and go hide or to fake a convulsion to distract the adults.

“Mental Health, Filicide, Parental Separation and Divorce:  The need for early intervention and a better coordinated approach.” by Dr. Daniell Tyson and Prof. Thea Brown.

EDIT added December 28, 2011:  Both of Rachel Grimmer’s children died within 2 days of the shooting.  May they Rest in Peace.



Advice From the Radio Lawyer

Wonders never cease!  If I’m driving in the middle of the day, I listen to a radio talk show with a lawyer named Lem Tillem whenever I can.  Today I heard good and sensitive advice coming from this guy regarding what I suspect is a Child of Divorce. Actually I don’t know if she was from divorce.  I only know that she is from a blended family and has a step-father. The Big D Word was left out of the conversation.  It could have been Divorce.  Generally it’s ok to mention Death but who knows?

The messed up supposed Child of Divorce who was the topic of conversation is all grown up with two children and a divorce of her own and emotionally and mentally has completely relapsed to fetal position.  Actually she sounds like she’s got some anger issues as well (what do the DSM’ers call this?  Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder?)  The Grown Child’s Mother generously had offered to let her stay in a spare house rent free if she would only pay the utilities and keep the place up but the daughter has let even that small part of the bargain go to hell.  The Mother is calling in to Tillem’s talk show in order to figure out how to evict her daughter from the house.  Tillem’s response to the Mother totally shocked me.  He said things like:

She’s obviously not dealing with a full deck of cards and she’s your daughter so you can’t throw her out.  (There was no answer from the Mother who was obviously shocked.  We had all just wanted to hear which form she is supposed to fill out).

Tillem had to repeat

She’s your daughter.  If it were my own kids I wouldn’t throw them out.  (Still no answer)

then he had to repeat

She’s your daughter.  Those are your grandchildren.

then he started to ask about the situation, why does a Mother want to throw her own sick daughter and her two kids out on to the street?  He  said something like

Is your husband your daughter’s father?

I wasn’t even wondering about this and everyone knows I love a pity party.  But, wow, was I caught off guard.  It probably went right over the Mother’s head.  Because God knows the Divorce (if is was a Divorce) probably happened 20 or 30 years ago.

The woman answers that the husband is the step-father.   And so the rest of the story starts to fall in line.  Blended Family stuff.  She’s worried about Spoiled Children of Divorce stuff maybe?  Tillem suggested that the Mother go into therapy in order to understand why she would throw her own screwed up daughter out on to the street when the daughter obviously is so out of it that she can’t even pay a phone bill.  It didn’t seem to sink in with the Mother.   We got to hear that there are 5 children total and that the incapacitated daughter would not be given any special treatment in a will regarding staying in the house if the mother were to die today.  So, if the Mother were dead, the daughter would be thrown out on to the street anyway.  And that’s probably why the daughter doesn’t give a shit in the first place.  She knows she’s not worth a poo.  (There rarely is enough love to go around in normal families, but in blended families it becomes a joke)

This is valuable Real Estate we’re talking about here, after all.  Not grown children who are falling apart because in addition to going through her own divorce she is reliving the one she went through and never received help in getting through when she was a kid?  In Divorce, everyone knows that everyone’s on their own.  Screw ups can be replaced.  (Actually, I really do feel shocked and left out when I see those news interviews of people who have just lost their homes and all their belongings to floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.  Because they say things like, Thank God we all have each other.  That sort of thankfulness doesn’t often belong in divorced homes because everyone’s such a burden).

Anyway, Tillem did not say something like, have you ever thought of going over to the house once a week in order to help your daughter deal with things so that she might be able to heal out of this rough patch? For example, have you ever thought of just adding an extra hand rather than your criticisms and threats?  Does that take too much time for your new blended family/husband?

The daughter is acting like a jerk, admittedly.  But Tillem was able to discern between a spoiled brat and a person who needs help and is not loved.  He doesn’t say to 5150 her which is the natural advice of the psychologists.  He tells the Mother to just suck up her own miseries and to keep a roof over her family and to call him back in a year.  If the Mother were to drop her business sense and to just stand by this kid for a year, probably the woman would spring back to life within that time.   Okay, it may take a few years of graduated withdrawal.  I don’t know.  It wasn’t the daughter who had called in.  It would take some selflessness on the Mother’s part, of course  ….  and she has moved on with her own life so why can’t her grown daughter just do the same?

Funny, how the individuality of each child seems to be of no concern to biological parents in blended families.  Only thing that matters is that it all looks like a group photo.

Anyway, Thanks Lem Tillem.  He never had to really mention any of the horror words.  He just mentioned the Parent-Child bond and the helping the person in need thing.  That was awesome.



NPR Show on Step-Families

This wasn’t the best Talk of the Nation show that I’ve ever listened to on NPR radio, but, at least they’re trying.

Neal Conan interviews Brenda Ockun of Stepmom magazine and Andrew Cherlin, writer of The Marriage-Go-Round.  The point of the show is to market blended families to the public by saying that the word “Step” creates a negative stigma that needs to be dropped.  Both interviewees represent the Step-Parents’ points of view and were honestly trying to discuss how difficult the situation can be. Ockun seemed sort of nervous to be interviewed but speaks from a pretty honest point of view.  Cherlin said that it typically takes 7 years for a blended family to get used to each other.  If he had said, wow, that’s a huge chunk of your kids’ or your partners’ kids’ childhoods to screw up, isn’t it?  I would have felt that he was being fair.  As it is, I felt that this old school of narcissistic attitudes towards families is still as abusive (in a passive aggressive way, of course) as it always was.  Beating the square peg into the round hole kind of thing.

The callers who phoned in seemed to represent a wide variety of situations.  I don’t remember any bio Mothers calling in, which is telling.

Two phone calls came in from children who had grown up in blended families.  The first was a guy who said that as an adult he avoids his step-family (alcohol).  The second was a woman who tried to honestly describe her situation with her step- or half-siblings who came from an earlier marriage of one or more parents.  Interviewer Conan somehow twisted the situation around to get her to admit that she manipulated her parents into giving her stuff.  It was weird, actually seemed blatantly sexist because he waited to pick on the female, but typical of how NPR has aged out of progressive thinking.  That old Spoiled child thing.  Makes me feel grumpy.  Wish they had said that it’s important for the parents to have at least a year of counseling/education before committing their kids to the misery.

There were no distinctions made about the difference between blended families that come from death of a parent as opposed to blended families that come from divorce.  But, they really didn’t discuss Divorce at all.  Isn’t that weird?  As I said, it was a bad interview.  And I think that people are trying to heal people without trying to looking at what’s ailing them.  Do most parents really think of their children as household pets?



Warren Buffett’s Advice for Success in Life

A Yahoo/Huffington Post article and video of Warren Buffett giving advice for his success in life.

This is a great introduction to my next phase of development post which, in my opinion, represents the most difficult age/phase for a child going through a traumatic event like a divorce because it mixes up the idea of what the Moon and Saturn represent in Astrology.  In a very basic phrasing, the Moon represents Unconditional Love and Saturn represents Condtional Love.  Both are essential for well being in the world, of course.  Kids who receive nothing but unconditional love from their parents without the setting of boundaries and conditions often have problems with drugs/alcohol/crime, etc.

But, Buffett says here that he feels the greatest gift his Father gave him was Unconditional Love, the feeling that he could always have something to come back to.  The way that these two elements blend in a person’s life is very important to watch.  Saturn represents setting Goals and achievement.  But, Saturn is often called the Taskmaster and the Devil because the lessons he sets for us are often to difficult for us to succeed in.  There is often a lack of feeling or tolerance which turns into a fear of failure.  A child who has to try to deal with Saturn without also having use of the riches of the Moon won’t be able to pick himself up and move on in life after a failure.  There has to be that sense of trust which occurs deep down in the unconscious.  And the Moon is the unconscious (Saturn calls it insanity, but that’s because Saturn is a jerk).

So, Divorce represents the ideas of Venus, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune in a person’s life.  Obviously not represented by the Moon and Saturn which are the basic building blocks of what an individual needs to get ahead in the world.  If the parents don’t function the way they ought to, then the step-parents are going to be extra evil.  If the child doesn’t develop that feeling deep down in his soul that he can have something to fall back on that will catch him, he will probably never take risks needed to get ahead. The “Happy” that is associated with Venus, the Sun and Uranus, doesn’t happen unless the Moon and Saturn are deeply secure within a person.  That’s where the parents who divorce are screwing up.

Buffett’s advice is also highly hypocritical when matched against his life.  He never divorced his first wife but lived apart from her since the middle 1970s.  He lived with another woman since that time and married her after his first wife died in 2004.  He has disowned one of his son’s children.

So, there you go, we’re stuck in the middle of a bunch of big experiments where nobody in the end really knows what is right and what is wrong. And, it’s important to pay attention to the fact that people who mess up by marrying the wrong person the first time around don’t repeat the same mistakes the second and third times around.  The hypocrisy that some parents show in their family lives doesn’t go away just because they divorce.  It’s important to state that because I know a lot of people out there who justify their own divorces by saying that they don’t want to be unhappy like their parents.  Generally we fall back into the same stupid traps the second time around in relationships.



Parents Meet Through Kids’ Friends
June 10, 2010, 9:51 pm
Filed under: self-absorbed parents, step-siblings, Stepfamilies

Since my Father met my Step-Mother through my friend and I when were about 12, I sort of wonder how common it is for parents to meet through their children.  I’ve met 3 other people whose parents met, divorced, and married through the child’s relationships with a friend.  (That’s a difficult relationship to describe).  All of us were female and I wonder if that’s a coincidence.  Do parents ever want to screw and marry with their son’s friends’ parents, or is it only the girls who to enjoy this aspect of their parents’ marital discord?

Either way, I don’t think this is a very common experience for most Children of Divorce.  It certainly isn’t talked about.  Whenever I hear a Step-parent talk about how “manipulative” the step-daughter is, how difficult “Step Families” are, I pretty much “know” that this is as close to admission of guilt as most step-parents can get.

For me it added an element of further betrayal to the divorce which my brother didn’t have to go through.  I also had to spend the rest of my relationship with my friend/step-sister watching her slowly benefit and thrive from the stability that my Father’s existence in her life gave her.  She also inherited a shit load of money.  There was constant competition, sniping and blaming.  My Step-Mother’s behavior in other areas was just too rotten.  She would have had to spend the rest of her life writing apologies to people.  And, frankly, I don’t think she was that well bred to figure she would have too bother with such things.

My Father and Step-Mother, of course, took no responsibility for what they had done.  I always keep thinking that all they would have had to do was to come clean and say they were sorry.  This is just such a stupid little hook I guess for a parent, but for me as the kid it was really huge to think that my Father would have used me in such a way.  But they never did.  Both my step-sister and I had been very docile kids and we grew up to have terrible problems with rage.

My parents were chronically burdened and went to a therapist eventually.  The therapist gave my Father some anti-depressants.  I suspect that not even the Wizard of Oz could have given my Step-Mother a heart or a soul.  The therapist, I suspect, absolved them of ever having to deal with their children.  At that point it was too late anyway.