What It’s Like To Watch Your Parents Get Divorced When You’re Just A Kid.

What It’s Like To Watch Your Parents Get Divorced When You’re Just A Kid.


Half of all marriages end in divorce. It’s such an incredibly common thing, and it causes a whole lot of emotional baggage for everyone involved in the process.
All too often, however, people tend to sweep the whole thing under the rug. This is common whenever difficult situations arise, but it happens especially frequently when a relationship comes to an end, of which divorces are by the messiest and most painful. People spend years with someone, thinking they’re going to be with forever. They raise a family, they watch their kids happily growing up, and then everything is torn in apart.
Divorce is a horrible experience for anyone, but it’s especially hard on kids. You go through the early stages of your life blissfully unaware of the complexity of adult problems and the complicated and delicate nature of a romantic relationship. To you, your parents are just mom and dad. They’ve always been together, and you see no reason to ever suspect that things will be different. Then, one day, something changes.
Perhaps you overhear an argument. Maybe something happens that causes your parents to act with more hostility and venom towards each other than you ever knew they were capable of. Suddenly, your world is split in two. The happy image you had of home is slowly shattered and replaced by the understanding that your parents might not be together forever.
The long-term ramifications of witnessing your parents get divorced as a child can be serious, especially if the split is bitter nasty and you’re caught in the crossfire. It can leave lasting mental scars that can take years to heal, and can influence your future behaviors, emotional responses, and beliefs about relationships and marriage.
Rather than growing up in a stable, consistent home, you spend your childhood being shuttled back and forth between your parents. A feeling of unsettled uncertainty descends over you, and you’re never really sure where you stand, where home is, or who you can fully trust and rely on in life. You end up keeping your distance from people, afraid to get too close in case they leave and you end up even more alone than you were before.
You don’t know what it’s like to have all of the people you love in life around you anymore. When you’re young, you just don’t quite understand that whoever you leave will still be there when you return to see them again, and every time you leave one parent’s house to visit the other you feel like you’re mourning the loss of a parent all over again.
As you grow up, you feel permanently uneasy, as if at any moment someone is going to walk through the door and tell you to pack up because you’re leaving. You’re always prepared for this possibility, so you never quite feel settled in any one place. You’re always itching to leave. You don’t stay in any place because that’s never been what you’ve done. You’re used to life on the move.
You learn that getting too attached to someone leads to pain, so you don’t let yourself get too attached. It’s a defense mechanism to stop yourself getting hurt.
If your parents split up amicably, the damage can be minimized. If the breakup is bad, however, then things can be very different. You see the shouting, the abuse, the manipulation, and you internalize it all. It all becomes part of your repertoire of behavior, which can all come spilling out as soon as it is provoked. You want to scream, shout, throw things, intimidate people, because you know how powerless it feels to witness or be on the receiving end.
You know how it feels to be the outlet your parents use to vent all their frustration on. You’re part of the reason why the divorce is so hard, so you become someone to blame in their eyes, even if they don’t realize it.
You grow up and you begin to think about the concept of relationships when you see your friends falling in love. Deep down, you find that you don’t believe in love. Not really. You’ve seen how it ends.
Every divorce varies in subtle or vastly different ways. All divorces affect any kids the most, but those that are conducted maturely and with a lot of love, affection, and reassurance for the kids is easier to handle. When they witness violence, anger, bitterness, and genuine hate, the whole messed up situation is imprinted on their young minds, the repercussions of which will play out in the years to come as they try to live their lives.
Watching your parents, the people you love most in the entire world, at each other’s throats is a pain that can never truly be erased.
Watching your parents get divorced as a kid can be a nightmare that stays with you in some form for the rest of your life.
Written by Maverick, Staff Writer at Lessons Learned In Life Inc. ©️

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