How A Divorce Fucks Up Your Child

My mother sits me down on the chair and starts explaining. “There are going to be some changes.” she said. And that everything will still be fine. It will just be a little different. She tried her best to explain to a 10 year old what a “divorce” means. How do you explain a child that his whole world will now be turned upside down and ripped apart? My father was sitting next to her. He let her do the talking.

It took me a while to figure it out completely. It made no sense. I was angry. And helpless. But then I realized that things are really going to be different from now on. I won’t have a dad anymore. That was the conclusion. From this day one. No more dad.

I remember trying to talk them out of it. I said ridiculous things. Things only 10 year old kids can come up with. I saw a old CD from I guess “Roberto Blanco” at the table and picked it up. “See? You both like the same music! Isn’t that good enough?” I can imagine now what they responses might have been like. But back than my world crumbled and I tried to fix it and come up with some solutions fast.

But honestly I was living in denial. I was no stupid child. It was pretty obvious too. I talked with my older brother a lot. I heard them fighting and shouting. My father was sleeping in the guest bed for months already. Everybody saw it coming. But as a 10 year old, you don’t want it to be coming. That’s the difference. I told my brother: “I think our parents will separate soon.” I can’t recall his response. I felt lost and alone. Everything was so unreal.

I don’t know if I slept well that day. I guess not. I cried silently into my blanket. I didn’t want them to see that I was hurt. I didn’t want to create even more pain. “Don’t give them more reasons… you will just make it worse”, I thought. So I wept in silence.

The next day I went to school and I remember being totally out of focus. Who would have guessed. Still everything was so unreal. The night before I prayed to God and hoped it was all just a bad dream. But the look on my moms face this morning didn’t really gave me much hope for that. It’s real. Everything will be gone very soon.

I think as a kid you can’t handle situations like these. How could you? You are not prepared. You are not ready to handle such strong emotions and pains. It’s too much. But on the other hand: what’s the alternative? You can’t live in denial forever.

At that times, I always gave my best in school. I wanted to make everyone around me feel good and proud. I didn’t like seeing people hurt. Especially when I might have been the reason for it. And I figured that “being good in school” is the best way to make them feel proud and cause them to feel less pain, right? I would just make less troubles for them. Which is good, I thought.

But now it doesn’t matter anymore. It seemed I have no influence over the stuff that is going on with my parents. I can’t change the outcome. I am powerless. Unable to change it. I am not good enough. And all that stuff I “pulled off” in school, all my efforts, all my perfect grades couldn’t help me to not make my family fall apart and lose my dad. And somehow I began to put the blame on myself.

I was not good enough. I couldn’t stop it. Dammit, I wish I found better arguments at the time when they told me about their divorce. I could have convinced them! But I failed… was it all my fault?

Now I am in school and everything I do here feels useless. What’s the point of being here? Who cares about “What’s the area of that freaking triangle is?” There are bigger problems out there. Hello? My family and everything I know are going to be gone soon!

Still no outlet. Nobody to talk to really. Where would you go as a 10 year old? Yes, you can go to your parents once more and try to talk them out of it or explain your feelings. But how effectively can you really communicate your feelings at that age? Also, what does it really matter? You won’t really stop the divorce. That’s just a dumb thing to assume. And nobody expects that really.

But as a kid you simply can’t handle these loads of drama and pain. You are too weak. That’s why you are denying it in the first place. You just want it to go back to normal. The uncertainty kills you, and you want to go back to what you know. You feel unable to handle what might await you in the future. It’s a childish behaviour. Funny enough, many adults behave like that as well.

One night I talked to my bigger brother and asked him what we can do? What we SHOULD do? I guess he was as clueless as I was. But still he is my bigger brother and always tried to protect me as best as he could. He still does (I love you). He always knew what to do. And if not, he at least made me feel that way. When I was around him I felt safe. I guess he never realized how important that was for me. Especially at this strange time.

One other day my dad came into my room and wanted to talk. I was scared. I now knew what this “talk” shit means. A lot of pain and drastic changes. I hate changes now. “I’ll be there in five minutes. Brush your teeth.”, he said. I freaked out and ran to my brother. I couldn’t handle more bad news. Not again. I was scared of talking to my father alone too. And I think he didn’t even realize remotely what was going on in my head. How fucked up is this, right? Anybody, could see how messed up I was. But still, you have to look in order to see.

Every evening my father used to say good night to me and my brother. He first went to my brother’s room. Said “good night” and left. Then he usually came to mine and stayed there for minutes which now felt like hours and talked about random stuff. “How can you talk about THAT now?”, I screamed silently inside. Why don’t we talk about what is going on right now? I am confused please help me! Still, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to make it worse. But I wanted him to leave. I felt terrible already and talking nonsense stuff just to make you feel better won’t make it better for me. And also he makes me feel awful by treating my brother differently than me. My brother was the only ally I had at this fucked up time. And he tried to drive a wedge between us. I hated him for that. And I couldn’t escape it.

I guess my brother was also curious on what the fuck my father is doing in my room all the time too. He knew he said “good night” to him and then left, but always stayed way longer with me. Kids may be young but they are not stupid. They pick up things. So that one day my father again wanted to talk to me my brother came up with a plan. He hid under my bed shortly before my father entered the room. I felt safe. I knew he was there. And he could figure out what the heck he is talking about all the time. He overheard everything. I guess he also wanted some answers. Like why our father spends way more time with me. And treats him like shit? I would love to hear that answer too.

He came in and I was instantly frightened. It’s funny how young kids express their feelings. I was simply scared. But my father (I guess until now) thinks I repelled him. I rejected him. But all I wanted was to not be rejected myself. I was the one who felt rejected. Any mature adult would have had to address this in this situation. Here it never happened though.

He sat next to me in bed and we talked about the usual unimportant stuff. My brother still under the bed listening to everything. I tried my best to not spoil it. I think I asked him about what is going to happen next. I can’t remember. He said that he will stay in the house and keep the computer and we are moving somewhere else with our mom. It was a weird talk. As all the others every night. But I can remember how I asked why our computer has to stay here. Where do I play my games now? It’s funny how kids think actually. But again, I was just confused and shocked. And I couldn’t handle it. He said that the “computer has to stay in the house. But you can also stay here with me, do you want that?” I guess he tried to bribe me into staying with him. I don’t really know really. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to because I was just too scared and confused. But I didn’t want to lose him and never see him again either.

You cannot say stuff like this to a little child, dammit. You cannot make them decide between mother and father. It’s just fucked up. “But what about my brother? Will he stay here too?” – “No, he will stay with my mother.”, he responded. “I am going to lose my brother now too?!” In this moment I was a complete mess. I wanted it to end. I guess he said “good night” and left shortly after.

The next day, when I came home from school there were a lot of crates and my room was empty. Well, I am pretty sure it was not the next day and the whole process took place over a couple of months, but in my little child head everything from that last day was just one single blur. Molten together. Like living in a bad dream and being unable to wake up.

My mother picked up the crates and I helped her carry them into the car. It’s like digging your own grave lol. My older brother was on his skiing holiday with his school class at this time. He didn’t even know what was happening right now at home. Back then I wondered how he will handle this stuff once he’s back. Will he be fine? Still I couldn’t express my feelings. My anger. My pain. How could I even? I was just too confused and wanted it all to stop.

Together we drove into the next city where our new apartment was. I didn’t know what to expect. It was the longest ride ever. About 8 kilometres. But it felt like hours. It’s funny how time bends when you are holding tight to something which slowly but surely gets pulled away from you anyways.

In the end you can’t stop it. All you have to do is to learn to accept it. But I was way to young for that lesson that day. Luckily many of these experiences repeat themselves in your life time. You learn to accept and to let go. And to move on. I doubt that these new experiences will be less painful. Often they will be worse. But you just tend to get better at dealing with this shit.

That’s life.

You just learn and move on.

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