Spoiled Children of Divorce


Let The Kids Decide…
July 24, 2018, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s a link to a Yahoo story about a man whose wife took off 15 years ago leaving him with 3 small children to raise. Two of the children are graduating from college. The Mother wants to show up for their graduation after all these years. This is a very common story and there are hundreds of responses in the comments section. Most responders say to let the kids decide whether Mom attends. I didn’t read through all the responses but was impressed by the fact that no child from a divorced family who has actually experienced what it feels like to be on the receiving end of this situation has chimed in. If they did they would probably be axed to death by the social media commenters. No one said anything like there is no easy answer here. How stressful for the kids to live with this. And children of divorce just want to enjoy life without this stuff constantly blowing up in their faces. This is 15 years down the line. Can’t the Mother just ask to go out with the kids and have coffee? Why does she have to show up for a major event?

Here’s an article from Psychology Today about parent-child reunification. The returning parent is called the Alienated Parent. It seems to center around parents who are just getting out of jail and trying to bond with their children. That’s a much different scenario.

Wonder if there is a forum online for adult children to get together and discuss how it feels and what happened. I remember a movie called The Hours where Meryl Streep plays a woman who left her family. It was a life or death decision. Again, the emphasis is on the parent’s feelings. For the kids it seems to be just a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” type of situation.



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 – Carol Knuth

Just watched this video of ex-Foster Child, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking Victim Carol Knuth describing her childhood. I’m feeling a little queasy. I had no idea that a huge portion of trafficking victims grow up in Foster Homes but I guess it makes sense. Like everyone else I thought this is something that immigrants go through.

People like Carol are coming out to try to educate the rest of us about the Foster Care System along with Trafficking and Sexual Assault. Her survival is totaling amazing. She has since married, had children, has received two degrees, and has held powerful jobs.

The complaint about growing up as a “Child of Divorce” seems to be overpowered by the rest of the story but I feel that it might be the seed. Knuth’s parents divorced when she was two. She was the youngest of three girls who her Father sexually assaulted. He had told his daughters that their Mother had died. He remarried and divorced her Step-Mother when Carol was around 6th grade. Sorry I didn’t write very good notes so can’t provide the exact age. Carol and her sisters went to their first Foster home when she was three. When she was in her early teens she had to testify that her Father molested her. His daughters were taken away from him but he was never charged with any crime. Carol bounced in and out of around 21 homes. At one point her Foster Mother was dating her Father. The lack of concern for her feelings is such a major theme in her childhood. She tells the story so stoically. There seems to have been no end to the amount that people would not stand up for Carol until she was a working adult. Knuth tells how a co-worker assaulted her while they were in the break room. She just figured “same old, same old” and went back to her seat. But, this time another male co-worker had seen the assault and reported it. The offender was fired. This seems to be the first time in her life that anyone stood up for her.

Wow. That’s all I can say right now. She looks so straight. I would never have known from looking at her that she could be a survivor of this type of history.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Mishna Wolff

Mishna Wolff is a writer of a humorous memoir called I’m Down about growing up white in an all black neighborhood. Chapter One describes her parents’ divorce when she was seven. Wolff was surprised to learn that she would continue to live with her Father while seeing her Mother on the week-ends. At the time she is not surprised by her parents’ decision to divorce because she has always felt they were “mismatched.” She is surprised to find that she won’t attend the custody hearing so that everyone would want to hear her preferences. Surprise, Surprise.

Mishna was the oldest of two daughters. Her Father paid her an allowance to look after her little sister. She takes on this responsibility with a light hearted attitude.

Sorry, that’s the only chapter I’ve read so far. Just get so excited when I see anyone giving any opinions at all about their divorce experience couldn’t wait.



Exemplary Children of Divorce / Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia murder keeps showing up in my internet play. When looking up James Elroy’s biography I didn’t read about the victim of this murder, Elizabeth Short. It turns out that Short was not really a Child of Divorce, but her parents were separated in a weird sort of way.

After going bankrupt in 1930 because of the Depression, Short’s Father faked his suicide so the family could receive insurance. Short was 6 years old. He moved from Massachusetts to California and rebuilt his life.

Short’s Mother moved her 5 daughters and took a job as a bookkeeper. Short moved to California to be with her Father when she was 19 but he threw her out of the house. Short partied and slept around and moved around a lot. She dated some servicemen during World War II but one, who she was set to marry, was killed.

Her murder is said to be a mystery to this day. She died when she was 22. This was very close to her 2d Jupiter Return which is interesting because she would have been under the influence of her first Jupiter opposition when her Father disappeared. This would explain her charm and her risk taking life style.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – James Ellroy
June 11, 2018, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Don’t know why I found out about two crime novelists/Children of Divorce at the same time. Good things happen in pairs, I guess. Both novelists are centered in California.

Along with Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, is another great classic who has written The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, and the awesome Child of Divorce/Murder My Dark Places. This last one is the result of working with a detective for 15 months on the cold case of his mother who was raped and murdered.

Like Chandler, Ellroy didn’t start writing until he was much older. He has suffered from Alcoholism, Depression, Drug Addiction, Homelessness and a Criminal Past.

There are many interviews on the Internet with Ellroy which I recommend. Here is one from the TV News show 60 Minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI0rpNoSLwA.

I think Ellroy’s parents divorced when he was seven years old, but am not positive on that because for some reason I didn’t write it down. The parents were given split custody. James lived with his Mother, a nurse, during the week and with his Father on 3 week-ends a month. He preferred living with his Father. In My Dark Places, there is a really eerie description of how he felt nothing after his Mother’s death and was happy to be able to finally live with his Father. There are humorous and sad descriptions of typical parental alienation games between parents. His Father called his Mother a whore and his Mother called his Father something else. Can’t remember, but Ellroy couldn’t have become a good writer without these words, no doubt.

Didn’t know that there were previous divorce boom’s in California but apparently there were. California just sort of “booms” a lot with Gold, Real Estate, Movies, Immigration, Divorce. In addition to the 70’s divorce boom which blew the small town where I grew up there was one in the 1950s. According to the CDC there was also a boom in the 1920’s. “In 1956 my mother moved us from West Hollywood to Santa Monica. I enrolled in a cut-rate private school called Children’s Paradise. The place was a dump site for disturbed kids of divorce. “A flurry of single moms hit the gate at 5:10. I developed a yen for women in their late thirties.” (My Mother’s Killer by James Ellroy, gg.com, July 8, 2007). The town, El Monte, place of where Elroy was living with his Mom, was called “The City of Divorced Women.” (p. 25).

My Dark Places is mainly about Ellroy dealing with his complicated feelings for his Mother. Her murder led him to obsession with crime. Reading about crime and committing it. He apparently had an obsession with older women even before that which led to his first novel The Black Dahlia which is about an unsolved murder of a beautiful woman in L.A. just like his Mother.

I suppose the Child of Divorce part of the story comes from the complexity of feelings for his Mother as a result of the stress from the Divorce. It is just not recognized as a catalyst, so maybe it wasn’t.

Here is a nice tribute of his feelings for her which is posted at the beginning of the book. I think a lot of us can relate to us especially when dealing with the grief of our parents’ deaths:



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.