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From Leila Miller

Q. What effect has your parents’ divorce had on you?

A. Wow—so much to say about that. Where do I begin? The first time my dad walked out I can remember as though it were yesterday. My dad and I had an understanding that whenever my mom and I would have a big fight, I would pack up my little play suitcase and “run away from home” to the big tree at the end of the street (I wasn’t allowed to cross the street by myself at that age), and I would wait for him to come home from the hospital, and he would stop to pick me up and bring me home. Then one evening, he didn’t come. I waited until dark—and then I was too afraid to walk home—and my big brother came and got me and walked me home. I felt so abandoned.

My dad, who had two more failed marriages, was left with a lot of regrets in his last days. If he had stayed with my mom, or even my first stepmom, then he would have experienced a very different life—surrounded by all the kids and grandbabies. The first five of us siblings were once close. The latter three (we number eight in all) have no contact with the middle three. Their mother made it quite clear in the very beginning that she didn’t give a damn about any of my dad’s other children (she is only one year older than my big brother).

I always swore that I would never ever get divorced—and now I am (against my will). I feel so bad for my girls, who are now experiencing what I had to experience. That was the one thing I thought I could protect them from. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I have become a cynic.

Contributor #18
Female, 59
Age at parents’ divorce: 9
Reflection was made 50 years after the divorce.

Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak
Alex A
Unfortunately, Leila is far from alone. Not that makes it any easier for her or anyone else who has experienced the childhood pain- and often guilt- resulting from parental divorce. I recall a psychology book-I forget the author- with the title or subtitle Games People Play. The premise the writer put forward was that we all are scripted with internalized parental, or significant other[s] life …More
Unfortunately, Leila is far from alone. Not that makes it any easier for her or anyone else who has experienced the childhood pain- and often guilt- resulting from parental divorce. I recall a psychology book-I forget the author- with the title or subtitle Games People Play. The premise the writer put forward was that we all are scripted with internalized parental, or significant other[s] life scripts, thus subconsciously, employing psychological games and strategies to bring about similar destinies unless some form of repairing intervention occurs.