Spoiled Children of Divorce

Humanitarian Jerry Lewis Disinherits His Kids From His First Marriage

Hey, as long as psychologists ignore the fallout of coming from a divorced family and lawyers make their money off of the arrangements, this is a situation that will never be addressed. Sigh, people who grew up in Divorce are so used to being rejected and ignored and poor this really doesn’t matter (too much). The lawyers only take on cases where they know they will get paid. Lawyers do pro bono for politically correct situations which will further their career.

Second/third/fourth/90th wives and their children are never, ever gracious enough to set things right. Best to blame those kids for the shit their Father dished out. The will is the parent’s last message to his/her children. This type, so common, do dear, is as bad as it gets.

Comedian/Actor Jerry Lewis died in August at age 91. The news says that he was surrounded by family but doesn’t indicate which family. The news always also make a point out of saying that the one child, a grown daughter, from Lewis’ second marriage will inherit everything, even though she’s “only” adopted. That’s really rude and I’m very sorry she has to read that. The first marriage lasted 36 years and the second marriage lasted 34 years.

So here we go. Kids from divorce are disinherited by their parents. Same old, same old. This time it’s a super successful rich guy who is known for his humanitarian work. That’s an extra twist. Don’t know what Divorce rates are of parents of kids with muscular dystrophy but it might be high. Here’s an article about high divorce rates among parents of children with special needs. Hopefully, being from a “first family” has never disqualified any of Jerry’s kids from receiving some of his charitable contributions.

Lewis died of heart disease which is associated with mental illness like depression which can make an old guy even grumpier so I suppose the kids have a lawsuit in there somewhere, especially since their Father made almost all of his money while he was married to their Mother and not the Step-Mother. You would think.

I’m not making much sense here. This kind of thing makes me so angry. But here it is, over and over and over. And the shrinks stay silent……

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?

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.

Dear Abby on Competing Stepsisters
April 17, 2010, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Abandonment, Birth Order, siblings, step-siblings, Stepfamilies, Uncategorized

As usual, the woman who now writes the Dear Abby column avoids talking about the trauma of divorce for children.

In today’s column there is a letter from a 16 year old girl whose stepsister, also age 16, stole her boyfriend.  The Dear Abby writer avoided the stepfamily discussion altogether and said that this is just how women treat each other.  She recommended focusing the hatred and anger that the young girl has for her ruthless, disrespectful stepsister on the boy.  Men are evil, after all.  What can a lady do?  If you never let a guy get under your skin, expect him to love you back, not deceive you, how will you ever be able to trust anyone enough to get married?

This thinking angers me out of my mind, of course.  It is out-of-date. It’s basically silly and stupid and is obviously written for divorced parents to read.  It’s the reason why people get married for the wrong reasons in the first place and have to get divorced in the second place.  And, it doesn’t address the child’s problems.

It is highly likely that a Child of Divorce is witnessing how awful Men are because she probably doesn’t live with her own Father and has feelings of abandonment.  She might see him once a week the way that many kids see an uncle.  He might not pay alimony on time.  He might always be late to pick her up.  He might cancel meetings in order to do “fun stuff” that he would rather do.

The letter doesn’t say which parent the girl lives with so I don’t have a clue what her parents are like other than that she lives in a mixed home.  It does say that she has to share her bedroom with the stepsister on the week ends when the stepsister visits.

There are all kinds of particulars that I’d be curious about before telling the girl anything.  I get it that the Abby lady doesn’t have time to go into all this.  I guess that newspaper columnists just forgot to ever mention anything having to do with Divorce because it takes up too much space.   Abby doesn’t need to fiddle with that, at any rate.  She doesn’t wonder what it feels like for a 16-year old girl to not only have her bedroom invaded every week-end by a stranger, but to have that stranger steal her boyfriend.  They are already competing for attention from their parents not only with each other but with the step-parent.  They have probably witnessed their parents acting this way.  Is this a way for the visiting stepsister to become the Alpha female in a household in which she doesn’t belong?

The two girls are even going to the same school and taking the same classes together so they are always in each other’s face!  For the one girl to betray the other one so disrespectfully there is really something bad going on here.  Women should not be expected to treat each other like this.  I certainly hope this doesn’t become a habit for the girl’s relationships with both men and women in the future.

The girl says that her step-sister is very beautiful.  A 16-year old girl who doesn’t feel beautiful is already needing some good advice. This is the superficial stuff, though.

It is good advice to tell a young woman to be strong and to brush it off.  Siblings have enough of a problem with this kind of competitive behavior.  With step-siblings there is an extra tension added in because deep down everyone knows this is a relationship that could fall apart at any time.

A kid from a divorced family who is already dealing with ten times the boundary issues that a kid from an intact family has.   He needs more advice.

I’ll retype the letter and response:

Dear Abby:

My stepsister stole my boyfriend and I am so mad I am going crazy.  She’s very attractive and has no problem finding boyfriends.  She did not have to do this.  I am sure she did it out of spite.

We’re both 16, go to the same school and have several classes together, so I can’t avoid her.  We also have to share a room every other weekend when she’s here.

I have so much hate and anger toward her.  I don’t know how to deal with it.

–Hates Her in New Mexico

Dear Hate Her:

I don’t think there is a single woman reading your letter who hasn’t felt the same way you do at one time or another in her life.  Short of slipping a man a knockout drug, he can’t be “kidnapped.”  He is responsible for making his own decisions.  Yes, your stepsister might not have discouraged him.  She may have even thrown herself at him.  But what happened was of his own free will.