Spoiled Children of Divorce


Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan
In her recently released book Brain on Fire, Susannah Callahan describes her battle with a rarely diagnosed autoimmune illness which attacked her brain.  I heard an interview with her on NPR’s radio program Fresh Air.
Callahan became very sick very quickly in February 2009 when she was 24 years old.  At first she figured she was suffering from the stress of her new job as a reporter at The New York Post but as her symptoms became worse she went through diagnosis after diagnosis and eventually chewed up 1 million dollars worth of scans and tests. A doctor could correctly figure out her illness by the simple test of  having her draw a picture of the face of a clock.
Calahan had been living with a boyfriend for 6 months.  Her parents were divorced and she had become estranged from her father after the divorce.  Both parents sound like they were great caretakers and cooperated with each other throughout the long month when Susannah was in the hospital.  Much of this time she doesn’t remember.
Callahan also describes how her relationships changed throughout her illness.  I suspect that this is probably more important for Children of Divorce because we often can’t expect our parents to help because they don’t have the support of a family unit, or can’t stand being around the other parent which causes even more stress.  Then again, each case is different and parents are hopefully more savvy now than they used to be.
 Just before her hospitalization Susannah had moved back in with her Mother and her Mother’s husband/boyfriend.  The night before the hospitalization she spent with her Father and his Wife/Girlfriend.  Since both parents had significant others for support this might actually be an improved circumstance as there were 4 adults doing the caretaking.  (Also, sorry, but I seem to have forgotten the exact relationship that the parents had with their significant others.)
From a Child of D standpoint there’s an interesting comment about how during this night with Father and Stepmother Susannah hallucinates that her Stepmother is complaining about how spoiled she is.  Since I named this blog after a woman who had said that kids from divorce are disgusting because we are all spoiled I like that little quirk in Cahalan’s mind, in particular.  In the Fresh Air interview Susannah says that she figures that most people at the early part of her illness figured that she was just acting arrogant because she was a spoiled rich kid (didn’t mention divorce).  The interviewees of one her interviews with the Post ended the interview because they thought she was drunk.  The first therapist declared that she simply needed to stop drinking, something which she says she doesn’t normally do.  One can see how many extra prejudices a Child from Divorce has to deal with in trying to get diagnosed with a mental or, in this case, neurological, disorder.  Many divorced parents are probably very quick to have their children institutionalized.  I just remember the coworker of an old friend of mine whose Mother had had him put into a mental hospital so she could go to Medical School.  These things do happen.
Susannah develops a new wonderful bond with her father where previously they had been estranged.  He keeps a detailed diary of her illness which is a great resource for her book.
Cahalan had to write the book about herself from the point of view of a journalist, piecing together what everyone else said had happened because she doesn’t remember much of it.
The astrology is possibly unbelievably interesting.  I don’t have Cahalan’s birth info so this is all probably really stupid to mention.  I’m mentioning it anyway because there is possibly a really incredible connection between planetary cycles which hook the divorce with the illness.  Cahalan keeps describing her illness and recovery in terms of divorce and marriage in many ways and that so hooks into one of the significant planetary cycles that she may have been going through.
Cahalan was 24 during the time of her illness.  This hooks her into 2 possible planetary cycles.
The first would be her second Jupiter Return which occurs roughly Age 23-24.  The first Jupiter Return would have occurred when she was roughly 11-12.  Since Jupiter is connected with publishing and writing and getting lucky it makes sense that this cycle would find her gainly employed at a new stressful job with a newspaper.  Her Jupiter is possibly in Gemini which makes this even more sense as Gemini also rules writing and communication.  Gemini is connected with the nerves in the body so, if this is Susannah’s placement it would show some sort of overwhelming load on her nerves.  Jupiter rules the liver and the hips.  So, it actually is pretty interesting that the initial reactions to her behavior were to assume that she was drunk — the liver is heavily affected by alcohol.
Another cycle which I’m particularly interesting in is the 8-year Sun-Venus Rx cycle.  This is one of the most precise cycles in the planets and was used by the Mayans for measuring time.  The Sun is in conjunction with Venus Retrograde every 8 years.  Within this period there are 5 Sun-Venus Rx conjunctions which occur very close to the same degrees of the Zodiac.
In her book, Susannah says that her parents divorce had occurred 8 years previously which is why I can’t control myself here. Venus, through the sign of Libra, rules Marriage and one on one relationships.
A person whose natal chart is affected in some way by this conjunction would receive a lot of attention from these 2 planets and things that they rule during his/her lifetime.  That can be a very good thing for anything connected with social life or the arts, and can bring issues involving relationships.  Age 16 is considered the Sweet 16 party for girls so is very much connected with the Sun-VenusRx cycle.  (The part where kids start to drive, which is Mars and Mercury is maybe not such a great idea at this age.)
The person would internalize events that occur at this age very strongly and would act out on them through life and would possibly connect with an 8 year cycle through out their lives.
(I did find a birth date for Cahalan that doesn’t have a Sun-Venus Rx conjunction but still receives significant hits and I have no idea if it is a correct date.  My research is saying that divorce possibly will hook kids into these cycles and provide extra information to use for interpretation beyond the natal chart.)
Venus goes Retrograde about once a year and is never farther than 2 signs away from the Sun.  The Retrograde transit is an illusion which is seen from the earth because Venus spins around the Sun and not around the Earth.   Because of the elliptical orbits, Venus appears to stay at a standstill and to move backward in the sky during the Retrograde periods.
And Venus during the 8-year cycles that Susannah Cahalan may be hooked into is in the sign of Aries.  Aries is ruled by Mars and Mars rules the Head and Inflammation in the chart because it is a fiery planet.  It also rules Male energy and is a symbol for the Fighter and Warrior in people.
Venus is said to rule two signs.  She always is said to rule Female Energy.  The first is Taurus which rules the neck and lower part of the head, possibly the brain stem.  The second sign Venus rules is Libra which rules the Kidneys.  Venus is very strongly connected with the 8th cranial nerve because she rules the voice, hearing to some extent, Harmony, and sense of balance.  Venus, of course, is the ruler of marriage and relationships and connected with the Sun (vitality, creativity, ego expression) is very connected with social life.
Mercury and Uranus would also be interesting to look at in Susannah’s chart as they rule the nerves.  Mercury rules nerves themselves and the hands and communication skills.  Uranus rules any circulatory system and in particular the electrical system in a person.  Anything that happens suddenly is ruled by Uranus.
I’m not sure what rules rare diseases or autoimmune disorders.  I suspect that the sign of Libra is connected just because AIDS occurred during a transit of Pluto passing through Libra.  Libra is the female end of relationships which has to learn to set boundaries. Mars is impulsive and sort of thoughtless and reckless and has to learn Venusian traits.
Neptune often indicates an illness which is difficult to diagnose or treat.  Uranus and probably Jupiter generally can rule situations in which truth and enlightenment  come about so I would assume that this planet figures strongly in Susannah’s chart as she was lucky enough to receive a diagnosis and treatment.
Autoimmune encephalitis inflammation of brain
Here are dates of the Venus Rx’s and conjunctions with the Sun on 8 year cycles.  Again, I have no idea if this has anything to do with Cahalan’s chart.  Hopefully she’ll soon write more books and her birth date will be available because I’m dying of curiosity.
1985
  Venus Rx mar. 14, 1985 23 Aries
  Venus sd apr. 25, 1985 7 Aries
  Sun con. Venus Rx apr. 4, 1985. 4 Aries
Parents divorce Age 16?
  Venus Rx mar. 9, 2001. Venus 18 Aries
  Venus sd April, 20, 2001. 2 Aries
  Sun con. Venus Rx. Mar.30, 2001 10 Aries
Illness onset February, 2009, hospital march, 2009  Feb. 17?
  Sun con. Venus Rx march, 28, 2009. 8 Aries
  Venus Rx mar. 7, 2009 16 Aries
  Venus sd April. 18, 2009. 30 Pisces
Imagines stepmother telling father she’s a spoiled brat. Chapter called Buddha
Oldest daughter
Couldn’t remember metropolian museum visit Madame x postcard, Feb 17, 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.



Brazil Feeds Girls From Broken Homes to Men Being Held in Jail

Read an article in USAToday which said that child abuse tends to go up when the country is in recession.  The article says that most of the abuse is aimed against babies and very young children as their parents can’t handle the stress of financial problems and caring for a child.  Why don’t pediatricians ever talk out about this type of problem as it is connected with Divorce.  Doesn’t matter I suppose.  My parents divorced during a recession so maybe the excuse is that I was abused because of the financial problems and not because of the divorce.  The type of mentality that can separate this stuff is called “Denial.”  Nobody practices “denial” more than folks connected with the medical profession — that’s only my opinion.

Really scary stories coming out of Brazil.  A 14 year old girl was released from a jail on Saturday night after being held in prison for 4 days.  She was gang raped the entire time by a group of men who were also in her cell.  Apparently this is typical.  The police capture young women on minor or even false charges in order to feed the men who are being kept in the jails.  A 15 year old girl was arrested (I originally wrote “captured” in stead of arrested because that’s a more accurate description) on Oct. 21, 2007 and held for weeks in a cell with 21 men.

Another time a 23 year old prostitute was held for a month as well.

This article describes how both the 15 year old and 23 year old victims were naturals for being victims of this type of crime because they come from “Broken Homes” and had been molested by step-fathers.

In the U.S., of course, nothing like this could possibly happen.  Nah, never.

I’ve discussed before the relationship I’ve noticed how the news of women who are murdered by Husbands/Boyfriends often seem to come from Broken Homes.  Even without the molestation from the step-father this seems to be a trend.  There’s  a statistic floating around on the internet which backs up my theory but haven’t got a clue if it’s accurate.

What’s fascinating about all the articles which discuss child abuse is that they never seem to come with information that will help the victims.  It seems that if a kid is reading that type of thing he/she should be given some advice.  Guess they can’t do that because the kids from intact homes will hog up all the services.  Kids with healthy self-esteem scream loudest.

 



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Oliver Stone

It’s amazing how many Children of Divorce, the guys at any rate, grew up to become famous movie Directors.

This morning I was listening to the NPR radio station in my area and heard a very interesting interview with Oliver Stone.  He was talking about his life as well as his movies.  And Michael Krasney, the interviewer actually asked him to speak about his parents’ divorce. (awesome!, and of course Stone couldn’t really find the words to discuss it.)

Stone was born into comfort in New York and Connecticut. His Father was a stockbroker.  Wikipedia says that his parents divorced when Stone was 15 because his Father tended to end up having affairs with family friends.  Stone had a strong relationship with his  father, but his Mother was absent much of the time.  In the interview Stone says that he was sent to boarding school when he was 14 and this in connection with the divorce was a time of great loss.  Can’t remember his exact words because I was driving while listening to the interview.

I suppose that growing up in divorce trauma not only gives one a heightened of how to tell a story emotionally but to have an extra layer of understanding about human motivations.  One also has the freedom, in a sense, to devote one’s time to something outside of family and relationships.  Movie sets probably become like little families that disperse quickly.

Stone graduated from the boarding school and was accepted at Yale but dropped out after a year.  According to one article he decided to reinvent himself and went to Asia.  Religion appears to have played a big part in Stone’s life.  His Father was Jewish, his Mother was Catholic and they decided to raise him Episcopalian.  That’s nuts of course.  Stone has studied Buddhism for most of his adult life.

Stone fought in the Vietnam War and has made 3 movies about this experience.  The most famous is Platoon.

It seems to be a very positive survival step when Children of Divorce decide to completely reinvent themselves soon after leaving home around Age 18 or 19.  Changing one’s name, throwing one’s self into a career (one that doesn’t require College), seeking out a new religion and a better way of life than one has been brought up in is a big potential gift that one can take from this upbringing. Uranus rules Divorce so those who can enjoy Uranian lifestyles perhaps do better than those who don’t.

In the interview, Stone talks about his problems with addiction and his mental health issues as an adult.

He discusses the motives behind choosing many of the themes for his movies.  One can sense that being a witness to the reality behind one’s parents’ wedded bliss can really trigger the seeker in all of us.   Stone  seeks to find the real truth.  Political fraud.  Violence.  What really happens in history outside what one reads from textbooks and news reports.  Okay, okay, and there’s a lot of dramatization, exaggeration, and conspiracy theory there.  And those last reasons are what sell his movies.

Stone is on his third marriage.  He has two sons from his second marriage and has a daughter with his third and current wife.  Stone himself was an only child.



Don’t Jump
December 23, 2010, 2:56 am
Filed under: Suicide, therapy, Uncategorized

Article saying that people going through Divorce are 3 times as likely to become suicidal.  The article says that Divorce is the number 1 reason why people try to commit suicide.  I have no idea if that’s true or when it was written. I don’t know if these people are the ones who actually commit suicide.  So, I suppose it’s useful for both parents and children to understand that this is part of the package for many divorcing families.

Here’s what we, the eternal eye witness children of divorce get to read   (sort of like being talked at while someone’s staring at someone else across the room):

People are at greater risk to commit suicide if they have a close friend or family member who has committed suicide.

And, of course, the article is about the parents.  Not about the kids.  I was one of those kids, and I can tell you it is the source of many nights of panic — still.  I was the one who found my Mother, pulled away the cup of Clorox, pulled her out of the garage,  and had to make the phone calls while my entire body was shaking completely out of control.  I was the one who was yelled at and blamed afterwards.

All the attention goes on the person who has just made the attempt.  It would have been great if the hospitals would have some kind of family therapy session for everyone who was involved, maybe even without the person who just made the attempt, because that person will be too frail to understand what he’s just done to the others.

As I said, the kids aren’t mentioned.  The kids are never mentioned.  I know that no one ever talked about it in my family.  My brother has almost completely no memory of it.  My Father, who was put into a police car during one of the attempts didn’t help out with any of the next attempts.  He became  jealous of all the attention my Mother got.  Much later on he admitted that he had been thinking about Suicide the whole time as well.  And, considering both of their self destructive life styles, they both basically did commit suicide.

So, I think I’ve mentioned this before.  I went through all the years and years of psychotherapy.  It made things worse.  I went to the psychiatrists.  They are an embarrassment to modern civilization.  And absolutely the only time I’ve ever felt any relief from the anxiety I’ve felt over this experience was watching actor Hugh Grant’s reaction to hearing a little boy discuss his Mother’s suicide attempt in the movie About A Boy.  Imagine that, pretty weird to get so much relief from an actor?  The movie is based on a book written by Nick Hornby.  I’ve mentioned it before.

Anyhoo, I know that my Mother was hospitalized around the holidays so that must have been when her last attempts happened.



Step-Family Statistics
June 10, 2010, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Stepfamilies, therapy

Here’s an interesting list of statistics concerning step-families called Marriage, Family and Stepfamily Facts, Update Jan 2010 by Ron L. Deal, M.MFT.   It’s written for a Christian organization, but it looks like the author is trying to objectively just show the numbers.

There are some more subtle additions of information from the usual lists, and that’s great. For example, finally, there is a small reference to minority families.  The list recognizes some groups that aren’t included in the statistical studies such as children who live part-time in both families and the fact that they haven’t been counted.  Step-families are so much more common now than when I was growing up it’s amazing.

It includes a list showing the differences between Happiness for Married Couples as opposed to Happiness for Step-Family couples.  The differences are really interesting.  Original Married Couples want emotional closeness and communication skills.  Step-families are more concerned with Conflict Resolution and Shared Leisure.  You can sort of see the Age difference thing showing between first and successive marriages.

Numbers are added about how well children do in school, or not, and whether or not they seek psychological help later on in life (or whether psychological help even exists — and for anyone who is confused about this I will tell you that it doesn’t because therapists are all divorced and defensive as hell about what the kids go through).



New Book on Adult Children of Divorce in Relationships

Amazon.com is taking pre-orders for a new book that’s coming out concerning Adult Children of D and relationships.  I haven’t looked at it but the synopses and reviews looks interesting.  It’s pretty pricey at $40.00 so I guess it might be marketed to and written for Mental Health Professionals.

Adult Children of Divorce:  Confused Love Seekers by Geraldine K. Piorkowski

An Astrological Note:  The word “Confusion” indicates a link between Neptune and growing up in Divorce.  “Romantic Love” in a chivalrous way is ruled by Sun/Leo.  “Romantic Love” in an idealistic way is ruled by Neptune.  Libra/Venus rules Marriage.

The Following Reviews and Synopsis are taken from Amazon.com:

Review
“Piorkowski demonstrates her masterful understanding of the developmental experiences that facilitate and those that interfere with intimate relationships.”–Alice Bernstein, PhD,, Past President, Chicago Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology

“Piorkowski’s unique contribution is to help us understand why adult children of divorce find it so difficult to develop true intimacy. They frequently lack the blueprint that would enable them to move from an idealistic picture of romantic love to the more realistic one of commitment and skills needed to develop true long term sustaining relationships. Her penetrating analyis clearly indicates the urgent need to guide and support these confused love seekers.”–Michele Baldwin, PhD., Chicago Center for Family Health

“What is love? Our parents’ divorce undermined the idea that love is forever. The media feeds us the myth that love appears instantly and magically heals all our wounds. Today’s grown children of divorce are confused in the realm of love. Dr. Piorkowski brings a wealth of compassion, over twenty years of clinical experience, and a discerning eye on current research to help grown children of divorce to find the love they are looking for and to form the stable relationships they hope to give to their own children.”–Elizabeth Marquardt, Author, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce

“Dr. Piorkowski’s book defines in depth the concept of love from a philosophical, cultural and artistic perspective providing the reader with a foundation by which they can reach their own determination as to the true meaning and feeling of love. Aided with this knowledge, the reader can better understand an interpersonal relationship. Then the book focuses on the viable by-product of failed “love,” as most strongly illustrated by children of divorce. Piorkowski examines how they react and how they can manage their own relationships to avoid the pitfalls of the past.”–Floyd N. Nadler, P.C., Nadler, Pritikin & Mirabelli LLC

Product Description
Romantic love is often an elusive, fragile, and tenuous state, difficult to maintain across years. The rates of divorce, re-divorce, relationship violence, and abuse today attest to the fact that Americans are failing at romantic love. For teenaged and adult children of divorce, romantic love is especially elusive. Because they have no road map of a satisfying, stable romantic relationship derived from their own parents, they are confused about what love is and tend to make poor partner choices. Borrowing heavily from popular culture for their unrealistic standards regarding love, they become disillusioned when their all-too-ordinary lovers don’t measure up. Especially vulnerable to the problems their parents had, they tend to overreact in a similar negative fashion and are all too ready to consider divorce when unhappiness strikes. In trying to halt intergenerational transmission of divorce, Psychologist Piorkowski points out how American popular culture presents an over-sexualized, explosive, and superficial version of romantic love that can’t last. With this book, adult children of divorce can begin to recognize how they have been affected by familial experiences and develop a new, realistic map to provide directions for more fulfilling and enduring romantic relationships. Piorkowski, in an extensive review of literature, also looks at cultural factors and how they impact romantic love and marriage. In contrast to American popular culture’s shallow rendition of romantic love, many cultures elsewhere in the world emphasize compatibility, religion, and family allegiance. As a result, says the author, such marriages appear more stable than American unions built upon the shifting sands of emotion.