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Divorcing Parents


Recently my parents decided to get divorced. Except, it's not that simple.
First - They said they were going to get seperated but because of finances we would all still live in the house together (we being my two sisters, my parents, and me).
Then - They decided they couldn't bear each other, and my mother would move out (I decided to go with her), but they would still only be seperated.
Now - They've finally used the divorce word and we've moved out.

My Dad is trying to sell the house and my Mom and I are living in an apartment while trying to balance a massive lack of money and completely new lives (while I run interference between my parents).
I'm totally uprooted. I'm an hour away from my sisters, who were my lifeline, and my friends who were my support.
My Mom isn't in the same boat as me, she moved us close to her friends. She's got a job, and she's building a new life for herself. And I can't talk to her like I used to be able to. She's upset a lot of the time, and doesn't understand where I'm coming from.

I feel like I'm just kind of floudering, and I've got no direction. The life I had for 19 years has totally changed in a matter of months, and I don't know how to gain direction. I don't have the money to go to school and I don't know I can handle a job in my mental status. I want to escape, and I want to be with my sisters.

I've got so much anger at my parents but I can't express it because it would do no good, and so I'm just trying to make the best out of a terrible situation. But it's not working, and I feel like I need to reinvent myself.
Does anyone have any advice of how I could do that? Of how I could take control of my life back, and make the best of this mess?
Oct 28, 2008 @ 04:11 pm

10 Replies

Ali de Bold

I was there

I'm so sorry for you. This is awful and I know exactly what this feels like because the same thing happened to me.

So at 18 I moved into my own apartment with a friend. I had car payments, university tuition (I was turned down for a loan), rent and other bills to pay and was working 20 hours a week. I eventually had to drop out of school because I couldn't afford it anymore. It was a horrible horrible time and I would have given anything to get out of it.

Like you, my siblings were my lifeline. We became closer than ever despite not living together. To this day they are my very best friends in life. My Grandparents were also amazing and bent over backwards to make us feel loved and cherished.

That was a long time ago. Things are actually really great now and both of my parents are remarried. My relationship with both parents is better than ever. I never thought we would come through this, but we did and everyone turned out great.

The best way to handle this is to surround yourself with people who love and support you. For me that was my Grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts and a couple of really close cousins. I also had a really strong boyfriend who was my rock. I also prayed and bawled a lot.

If your parents continue to put you in the middle and you are finding it too painful to live with your Mom (or your Dad), consider moving in with some close family if you have that available to you. I lived with my Aunt and Uncle for about a year to help get me on my feet again when the financial burden became too much.

So my advice to you is see if you can live with some close family for a bit, who are closer to your siblings. Get together with your siblings at least once a week and stay in contact on the phone. You really need each other right now. Don't expect your parents to be reasonable. They are hurting too much to see clearly and are probably not behaving like themselves. Get a job if you don't have one already and get financial aid for school. Working part time and going to school is the best way to start taking some control of your life. With a good education you can get a good job and salary. You will come through this and you will be stronger for it. I am so much stronger and smarter because of what I went through.

Big hugs!! OOO
Oct 28, 2008 @ 07:10 pm


Thanks, that does help. I'm trying to figure out a job that I want - but I don't want to get stuck in a job that I hate like I was before. I was working at a really cheap retail place, and it was chaotic at the best of times and incredibly boring at the worst of times.
I want to go to a two year college so I can get a decent degree - but I don't know how I can afford even that.
And all my extended family is quite a few states away... so if I moved in with them, I'd be even further from my close family. It's a trade off, and I've considered it, but I'm not sure I'm ready to make that jump yet.
Still, I've got to do something, and the distance could help a lot.
Oct 29, 2008 @ 03:58 pm


This really is a sad situation, and I'm so sorry to hear you're dealing with this. I can only echo what MissChickie already said - reach out to someone who cares about you and accept their help when they offer. If staying with mom or dad is too full of conflict and your extended family lives far away, is there a close family friend you could rent a room from, just until the worst has died down?

Like MC's situation, I would suggest you just take some time off. It sounds like such a pat answer, but in the grand scheme of things putting your future on hold for a few months is not a bad thing. You've got a lot of crap to sort through and this is not the time to be focussing on college. When my parents divorced during my first year of university, I nearly flunked my finals and had to work so hard in all the following semesters until I finished just to graduate with a B . In retrospect, I should not have assumed that throwing myself into something would mask what was going on inside - because it didn't.

No one can tell you how you're going to ultimately beat this, but since you asked for some advice, here's mine:

1. You say your sisters are your life, so find any way you can to be with them. Would it be possible for you siblings to take a road trip to your relatives for, say, a month? Take some time for long walks and sleeping in. The change of scenery will do you good, too.

2. Don't try to distract yourself by starting a new hobby. When I dove into my schoolwork, not only did I nearly flunk but I also just delayed the inevitable. I had my "crash" a few years later than my siblings did and it wasn't any milder for the time that had passed. Just take each day at a time, not wallowing in your misery but facing your new reality.

3. Don't expect too much of your parents right now. Some may argue that they need to pull it together and start acting like adults/parents, but they are hurting now and need their own time to heal. If they pretend like it's all good, they are prolonging the inevitable crash too (my point #2). Even if the reasons for their split might be strongly one-sided (eg. someone had an affair), both of them are struggling with their own sense of failure and loss with respect to each other and with respect to their kids - you. They are not in a position to help you yet. As MC said, reach out to your grandparents, a close aunt, or maybe another mature person in your life you really respect (neighbor? someone from church?)

4. Don't set a timetable. There is no way to know how long it will take for you to feel better, but trust that it will start to get easier sooner than you realize. Just focus on the great things in your life right now and take care of yourself. Give your parents space and cut yourself some slack.

As for your future, when you are ready to take the step to go to college you should look into the scholarship and bursary programs. The financial counsellors at the school will be able to help you apply for anything you qualify for - and you might be surprised what you could get. Many awards are needs-based, not grades-based. With your parents' dual household financial burden you probably qualify more easily than if they were together!

I hope you are feeling a little better soon! You probably feel like a puppet right now (Marionette!), at the mercy of others' actions and not in control, but it will get better. I'm speaking from experience.

Oct 29, 2008 @ 06:25 pm

"hear, hear!"

My parents divorced when I was much younger than you (and "separated" years before that), so our situations are different -- but I wholeheartedly agree with MissChickie and MamaLuv: you need to find a way to be close to your sisters, and you can't expect your parents to be very helpful right now. In a lot of ways that's the scariest part of a divorce; it's the first time you look toward your parents for help and usually end up being more hurt or confused than if you had just looked elsewhere. As for being with your sisters, it's good that you're so close to them because they also have a better idea of what you're going through right now than anyone else in your social circle.

I really hope things start looking up sooner than you think they will!
Nov 04, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

I felt sorry for you until you said your age....

You're 19! Grow up and get a job like the rest of us. Your mom is going
through a horrible time in her life, and she shouldn't have to fully
support a grown adult who is too selfish to get out of bed in the
morning and go to work. So it's boring or stressful. Welcome to the
real world darling. Suck it up.
Nov 05, 2008 @ 10:21 pm
Ali de Bold

It's not like that

When my parents broke up everyone said that same thing to me over and over again: "Your Mom is going through a horrible time in her life!" "You know, you really need to help your Mom out right now. She's in a lot of pain." Like the divorce was happening to my Mother alone and myself and siblings just happened to be there.

What people who have not been in that situation don't realize is that it is much worse for the kids. When I say kids I mean the offspring of the relationship. Doesn't matter how old you are. I would argue that the longer you lived with two strong parents the more it hurts when they rip the relationship apart. Not only have you lost the security and stability of the family you knew your whole life but now your parents start acting like children because they are hurt and spinning out of control. You can no longer rely on them. One day Mom and Dad are your rock, the next day they are totally unreliable, hurtful, selfish, etc. Parents during a messy divorce can't be good parents.

No one is hurting more right now than marionette26 and her siblings. Yes of course her parents are hurting too but the father and mother have each only lost one relationship. The parents can remarry and fill that gap in their life. There is nothing the kids can do to refill that gap. They have lost their entire foundation and now will be caught in the middle until the situation resolves itself one way or the other.

Marionette26, just focus on taking care of yourself and keeping your siblings close. Your parents will eventually come around and be the same wonderful people you knew and loved your entire life. They just need some time to sort themselves out. Don't feel bad that you don't have a job right now. Try to find one that you really love that you can excel at. Surround yourself with as many positive people and good experiences as you can.
Nov 06, 2008 @ 09:46 am

I agree

Although I have never been in the situation I have counselled several people who have been in that situation and MissChickie is entirely right....the best thing for Marionette26 to do is to take care of yourself and keep your siblings close. Your parents will figure themselves out and what works and does not work as they try to relearn how to interact with eachother in a new way.

Self care is key when it comes to getting through a rough time. After all, all you can control in this situation is your reaction to it. I always tell people do to the following:

1. Get Plenty of Sleep - this will keep you feeling stronger to deal with what is going on around you.

2. Exercise Regularly - exercise is a good stress reliever

3. Don't start bad habits - although you will want to escape from the stress, drinking or drugs only mask feelings and will not help you resolve them at all.

4. Eat a good diet - this, like sleep, will keep you feeling stronger to deal with what is going on around you.

5. Let off stream - find an avenue to let out the feelings you are having, it is better than bottling them up inside.

6. Surround yourself with positive - although you cannot change your home enviroment and what is going on, it is important to change your surroundings outside of the home to one that is as positive as possible. Surround yourself with positive people and try to maintain that positivity when you are around those positive people.

All the best Marionette26! Take care!
Nov 06, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

harsh reality...

My parents divorced when I was nine, so I know full well how awful it is for the kids. I chose not to address that issue because everyone else posting here was focusing on that.

Yes, marionette26 is in a lot of pain, and I do sympathize, even though my tone was harsh. I'm simply trying to point out that part of being an adult is making an effort to consider other peoples' feelings and needs. And that part of being a family is supporting one another. At 19, one should be starting to give instead of taking.

Money is tight, so a mature daughter would make an effort to help out by getting a job. It will, in the end, help the healing process and perhaps improve the mother-daughter relationship. And there is no excuse for a 19 year old not to support herself no matter what the situation.

When my parents went through their divorce, I acted like a bratty child and made it much more difficult for my mother than it needed to be. Knowing now how painful it was for her, and how difficult it was for her to suddenly have to support three kids on her own, I wish I'd handled it differently.

Marrionette26, your attitude and self-pity remind me of the selfish child that I was. I hope you can do better. You have the opportunity to take a bad situation and make it better, if only in small ways, so step up and take it.
Nov 06, 2008 @ 07:38 pm

timing, timing

Sorry Biochick, but your tough love timing is all wrong! Bottom line, your points are correct. BUT you should be more sympathetic since you know what it's like! Holy cow woman, give marionette a break! She needs some time to catch her bearings and then get on with business. She's in a position where she does need to draw on her age and experience, not acting like a 4-year-old, but I don't get that sense from her. Let's cut her a little slack... JMO
Nov 07, 2008 @ 09:32 am

I agree...

If there is one thing that I learned in my job it it is that everyone reacts in their own way to situations. Just because one person deals with something one way, it does not mean that the next person will be as resilient etc. Having said that, there will come a time where we have to 'buck up' and take responsiblity for ourselves and our own lives. When bad things happen to someone though, you have to allow them time to grieve and as missjudy said get their bearings.
Nov 07, 2008 @ 11:16 am

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