Does having divorced parents affect you? A question I’ve asked myself continuously over the years.
It’s late at night as I’m writing this. I don’t know about you but as night draws in, my head seems to get fuller. Thoughts rush around my head constantly. I usually come up with most of my writing ideas at night. I don’t know what it is – maybe I’m a night owl. Who knows. I feel like coming over to my blog when I have these thoughts can be extremely therapeutic and also somewhat dangerous. I’m trying to find the right balance between writing whats on my mind and not exposing my whole soul. Obviously, I want to let you in but there’s a vulnerability that comes with that, you know?
SEVEN YEAR OLD IMOGEN
I’m about 7 (ish) years old.
A pretty shy kid. A very shy kid. Quiet, thoughtful and creative – well that’s how my Mum would probably describe me. I’ve just finished off writing a very grown up letter, or so I thought. It was a letter I semi remember writing – which is strange, because there’s not much else I remember from being 7. This must have been one of those obscure moments which has stuck out to me. I’d written a letter to my Mum, in scrawly child-like handwriting, attempting to make it look as grown up as possible. I was writing a letter to my Mum, from my Dad. A letter to win my Mum back from the words of Gary, my Dad. Except it was written from a 7 year old. Clearly, I didn’t have the brain at 7 to realise my Mum would have known this letter was written by a child and not her 42 year old ex-husband. Nevertheless, I genuinely thought this letter was going to fix everything. My mum would call up my Dad, tell him she loved him, and we would have our family unit back together. Once I had finished up with my scruffy handwriting, I folded it up, walked out the front door and posted it, pretending we’d just received it from the post man. I mean, now I’m actually writing all of this down, I think I was a pretty clever kid back then. 7 year old Imogen trying to play marriage councillor for her parents. Who am I kidding? It breaks my heart! It breaks my heart because I know how badly I wanted my parents to be back together. I cried, A LOT when I found out they were divorcing. My sister was around 3/4 and my brother was around 10. They said I was affected the most from it.
DEALING WITH DIVORCED PARENTS
Back then in our Primary school it wasn’t the norm to have divorced parents. Out of a class of 30 about 3 of us had divorced parents. I know this because one day, we were made to divide ourselves up into who had a Mum and Dad at home and who had divorced parents. I’m not sure what kind of sick game the teacher was playing that day – lol, it was probs just for some kind of survey or something. I mean, I don’t think I went to that much of a weird school. So the majority of my friends had both parents at home. I was known as the girl who’s Dad would come collect her every two weeks from the school grounds. What followed was pretty distressing. I don’t want to sound like a drama queen because some kids go through awful experiences when they’re younger, having to deal with death at a very young age for example. I should have been lucky to have both of my parents, I know. As a 5 year old child you don’t understand that though. You don’t understand why people break up. Why would you understand? From then on, I spent most of my school holidays with my Dad’s family in Cornwall and would see him the rest of the time every two weeks. That is one thing I can say about my Dad. No matter what and where he lived he would drive at least 2 hours every two weeks to come collect me, my sister and brother to spend the weekend with us. I really respected him for that. It didn’t stop me from wallowing every time I left my Mum though. Dear God I must have had attachment issues. I used to cry every single school holiday when leaving my Mum. It wasn’t like I would have a crappy time with my Dad either. I loved it! We would do things like go to the cinema, play rounders and cricket in the back garden. But without fail I would sob leaving my Mum.
I only recently, maybe a few years ago brought this story up with my sister. I actually felt quite emotional about it which is crazy to think. Now, my Dad is happily married to My amazing step Mum and I couldn’t even imagine my Mum and Dad being together. I can’t imagine them being together back then either. It creeps me out, which is so weird. I bet people who have parents who are still together would think that’s strange, but I genuinely think my parents are the polar opposites of one another. I’m not glad they divorced when they did but I am glad they’re not together anymore. I can see how it’s made me and my siblings stronger. It may have affected us in other ways like having commitment issues lol. However, I also think as you grow up you start to realise you can’t blame your childhood or what’s happened to you for what you are like as a person now. You need to take responsibility. I accept I can’t commit to things but I see it as a way to keep moving, keep progressing in what I do. Does having divorced parents affect you? Maybe, but I don’t see it as a negative anymore.
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IF YOU’RE GOING THROUGH THIS NOW…
A little piece of advice. Talk about your feelings. A problem shared is a problem halved. Nine times out of ten someone you speak to will be going through the same thing or, will know someone going through the same thing. Talking about it really helps. Communicate to both parents and make sure they keep the details of their separation away from you. It’s not healthy to get involved with your parents divorce. It makes things messy and can break down your relationship with either parent.
Do you have divorced parents? And, if so, what age were you? Does having divorced parents affect you?