Category Archives: children of divorce

The Seasons Change (but sometimes we get stuck)

I was in my yard the other day and there were leaves on the ground – not on the trees where they SHOULD be; all green and perky, glinting with dappled sunshine. The leaves I saw were brown and crunchy; shriveled and dead, pathetic. I internally shuddered.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love fall. The colors, the smells, the crisp, clear air, the cozy feeling of sweaters and jeans and boots. But fall means one thing:

WINTER IS COMING.

I can’t talk about winter without saying things like; I don’t like winter! I don’t like feeling cold! I don’t like the lack of sunshine and daylight! I don’t like the feeling of being trapped inside and feeling isolated! I do not like snow!

But this post really isn’t about any of those things.

It is about this: The seasons are changing and time keeps moving right along; life is passing by. Fall is this epic shift of letting go, and change, and new beginnings. Death makes way for new life.

And life is flowing all around me – it keeps marching on, but fuck! I feel so anchored to where I am. Days are turning into weeks, weeks into months, and months into seasons.

I am standing still.

It has been almost a year since my husband left. One trip around the sun. Time feels like it’s in some sort of warp. I feel like he left last week. A year?! It just doesn’t feel real.

But it is.

The world keeps turning and I am standing still, feeling completely and absolutely STUCK.

I am stuck inside of my grief, and my hurt, and my heartache. I cannot shake them. Yes, I’ve made lots of progress, but there are still some days where I am literally rocked to my core with pain.

And all around me, life goes on.

Winter is coming.

My kids are doing as well as they can with their new life; split between the 2 people they love most in this world. They spend half the week with their dad and half the week with me. Of course they want their family back, but they are really happy and they are thriving. I imagine that my ex must be happy too. He has everything he ever wanted. He told me once that he is happier than he ever has been in his life.

And me? I am still struggling. Still aching for that family I want back. I am sitting in an empty house filled with ghosts, memories, and lost dreams. A future that will never come to pass. It is a life that is no longer real. It was the future I was counting on.

There are no guarantees.

I think this is just the rollercoaster that is grief. I think, perhaps, that this is what I am supposed to be doing. Feeling my feelings and moving through the pain and the trauma. Perhaps I am not actually stuck but just slowed waaaaaaaay down.

If it were possible, I would curl up into an emotional chrysalis, and hibernate right through fall, straight on through winter, and wake up when it was spring. I would bypass the rest of this so-called ‘grieving process‘ and skip to the end where I emerge from my chrysalis as a beautiful fucking butterfly.

But winter is coming.

And I have no choice but to go along for the ride.

 

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The Guilt of Divorce.

Two days ago I told my ex that I wished our children had never been born.

And in that moment, I meant it.

Let me be very clear – I LOVE MY CHILDREN. They are amazing; kind, smart, loving, and a pain in the ass when they want to be. I grew them for fuck’s sake! I adore them. I really do. But sometimes, there is a resentment and a confusion around parenting that creeps in, and the guilt that goes along with this is nothing short of horrific.

So, in that awful moment, as I sobbed my way to work, I was thinking that maybe my life would be somehow easier without them.

Erase the children, erase the guilt.

Wishing my children would disappear is a selfish thought born of denial and insecurity. It’s me, projecting my sense of self-worth onto 2 people who didn’t do a damn thing to deserve this. This divorce, this hurt, this major shit-show of a broken childhood. Any of it.

(It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault).

I know that I feel this way at times because the single hardest thing for me to deal with as far as this divorce and my ‘new trajectory‘ goes, is the bone deep guilt I feel over breaking my kids’ hearts. I do not know how to settle this within myself. Sure, I see them, and they are happy and thriving. They are still their silly selves and the acute trauma from last fall after their dad left has eased.

But my guilt remains; steadfast, not budging, in my heart and in my gut. It makes me feel physically ill. All I EVER WANTED was an intact family. I never had that as a child. And now my kids won’t have that either.

My inner 9-year-old is hurting badly. Again. It’s grief. I am grieving as a wife, as a mother, and as a little girl who thought she had the life she always wanted. Jesus. That is a lot. No wonder this is lingering.

When they are with me, there is a constant unspoken reminder of a missing piece. I feel off-balance, off kilter, and longing for the family unit that we once were. I struggle to be present with them because they are a constant reminder of my own shit. My hurt, my loss, my guilt, my confusion. When they aren’t with me, I can ignore that. Do my own very, single thing.

I am redefining my life. I am rediscovering who I am. I am trying to rebuild my self outside of my role as a mother. I got swallowed alive by that role. And I harbor resentment toward my kids because of that. Again, not their fault.

When I feel as though I wish that they had never been born, I am also struggling with this fear that no one will love me if I have 2 nearly grown kids. We are a package deal and that is not for everyone. I am responsible for 2 human beings aside from myself. Who wants to take that on?

Sometimes I can barely take care of myself.

If they didn’t exist, I could feel my feelings and my hurt and my upset whenever I wanted to; whenever I needed to. When I have them, if I am struggling emotionally, I have to push my feelings down as I don’t want them to worry about their mom. I have a ‘game face’ – everything is sunshine and happiness when they are with me and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to sustain that. Do I show my emotions to them? Of course I do! I just can’t share the depth of those emotions during the times when the hurt and the fear and the ache is so primal it brings me to my knees.

No one sees that. That is mine and mine alone.

Okay, enough of this shit.

I want to tell you about my kids.

Sam is 9. He struggles with anxiety and his own sense of self-worth. He is an amazingly smart kid and loves with a sensible caution. He is a an introvert and a highly sensitive person. He loves bugs, Pokemon, reading, and his family. His laugh is infectious and when he gets going, we are usually laughing at him laughing than whatever made us laugh in the first place. He doesn’t like to cry and he has a hard time feeling his feelings. I worry about him. A lot. He looks just like his dad.

Ellie is 7 (soon to be 8). She is an empath and has a huge heart. I am constantly amazed at the depth and clarity with which she is able to express herself. She is a smart, kind, quiet, child. She loves with a reckless abandon and has a dry wit and silly sense of humor. She is a fierce friend and hero-worships her older brother but also stands up to him with a newfound confidence I am thrilled to see. She looks a lot like me.

I cannot imagine my life without them. Their love, their hugs, their laughter and their tears.

I own this resentment and this guilt, hurt, heartache, and confusion. It is mine and mine alone. And I will beat it just as I have beat the other shit that comes up.

One day at a time.

Age. Apparently, It’s a Thing.

I am finally acknowledging something that hurts to admit.

My age is starting to bug me. It is becoming a ‘thing’ my mind keeps coming back to. And per usual, I need to pay some attention to these thoughts; to process through them and make sense of the acute physical distress they are currently causing me.

I didn’t mind growing older until now. Age made no difference! I had a husband and a family. I had my partner in life and in love; we were growing old together! That was the plan, god damnit! Now that I seem to be growing old alone, I feel sick to my stomach about what this means. I constantly feel the pressure of time; and I feel as though it is running out.

I can’t explain why, but I feel terrified and alone and scared. This is causing me distress and the fact that it is causing me distress is pissing me off. Royally.

Get it together Amy!

I don’t want to feel old. I don’t want age to be a ‘thing’ but fuck, it is and I cannot ignore it any longer.

I have no idea why it is that I seem to keep connecting with people who are 10-15 years younger than I am. I am one of the older people in many of these new social circles I seem to gravitate toward. I am starting to feel self-conscious, a new feeling for me. Is it because I am in this new ‘adolescent’ stage in my life? I am literally rediscovering who I am and where I fit into the world, and this has me out and about, meeting new people all the damn time. But why should it matter what age these new friends are?

I suppose that most people my age have families and marriages and lives that involve family stuff. I don’t have that any more (that fact still hurts like a mother fucker). But at the same time, I don’t want that. I don’t want that life of complacency or stagnation. I don’t ever want to stop learning, growing, or playing. That doesn’t seem like really living to me.

At all.

I want adventure and laughter and new experiences. I want a partner in life and love. Explosive love! Unhinged, unabashed, unfiltered LOVE. Bring it.

(And yet, don’t. Because I am scared shitless of getting hurt again).

I seem to like younger men and society dictates that I am a ‘cougar’ because of this. I do not like that label. Actually, I fucking hate it. It is disgusting and rampantly sexist. Being called a so-called ‘cougar’ takes away from who I am as a fucking HUMAN BEING. I am a woman, and my age or my status in life should not be what define me. Sure, those things make up an integral part of who I am, but I am much more than that ridiculous label would imply.

I don’t like being called a MILF either. Aside from the gazillion reasons this label is offensive, I know exactly why it irks me. Being referred to as a so-called ‘mother-I’d-like-to-fuck’ defines me in terms of my physical self and also in regard to my kids. I am literally in the process of clawing my way back to myself outside of that role. It has taken a momentous amount of energy to untangle those cords that bind me to my children.

Labels such as these make me feel ashamed and embarrassed – like there is something wrong with me. Age doesn’t matter! (That is what I tell myself, constantly). A connection is a connection regardless of how old I am or how old someone else is. But I can feel myself silently snickering – laughing behind my back so to speak. This older woman hanging out with much younger people. It turns my stomach and makes me feel like some hopeless loser chasing something that doesn’t exist. A life that isn’t for me. I feel separate; like an outside observer.

I am also endlessly running in circles trying to figure out my path as far as all of this romantic/love shit goes. I am drawn to real, genuine, honest people who are doing the hard work of knowing themselves and working on themselves. It doesn’t matter if they are 27 or 37. At this point in my life, I can recognize a meaningful connection within the first 5 minutes of being near someone. I have come to understand that I am a highly intuitive person with a gift for connecting with people. My heart is huge and I am still trying to be ok with this – to celebrate it instead of curse it as I get hurt again and again.

This post isn’t going to end with something uplifting or happy.

I can’t bring that to you today and for that, I am sorry.

When I sit, and give all of these nagging thoughts about age and time a voice, I feel like an old lady. I feel used up, beat up, like a weirdo with kids and a life of responsibility. I feel like I’ve lost an entire decade of my life. My marriage feels like it was a joke. Resentment toward my children rears its ugly head and I feel a loss so deep I feel scared I will never be able to move past it.

Big, deep sigh.

Do Not Love Me.

The kids and their dad move into the new house together with the girlfriend this weekend.

This major transition is bringing up some seriously weird emotional shit for me. I know that it is my trauma rearing it’s ugly head in another attempt to shut me off emotionally again. I feel separate from the kids in a way I didn’t think was possible. I feel disconnected and flat – not fully present in reality. I am questioning my want and my very desire to be a mother. I am questioning whether I even want to have custody. What if I just let go and give up? What if I just shut the fucking door and walk away for good? What if I don’t want to feel anything, for anyone, ever again?

I know that these big feelings are coming up in part, because I have met someone. This wonderful, surprise-of-a-guy who blows my mind with his amazingness and his kind heart. I feel myself being vulnerable in ways that truly terrify me. My heart is saying, “GO! GO! GO!” while my mind is screaming, “COMMENCE LOCKDOWN!”.

I know another part of the resentment and confusion I am feeling is due to the fact that the kids are the ONE thing that bind me to my ex. My ex, whom I wish I had never met. The man I spent 17 years of my life with. I wish I could erase him and those 17 years forever. The kids are EXCITED about their new living situation. My heart wants to door-slam them completely for that. But it’s not their fault. It is no one’s fault. It just is.

I am all twisted and turned around with these new emotions. I am trying my best not to judge them, but when they are directly related to my willingness and my ability to parent, they seem inherently WRONG. Mothers should love their children without thinking, worrying, resenting, and shutting-down getting in the way. Mothers should love their children UNCONDITIONALLY. IRREVOCABLY. FOREVER.

Should. Could. Would.

But what if I don’t want to? What if I don’t want to love or be loved by anyone, anymore, ever again? I loved my dad and he dropped dead in front of me. I loved my ex and he ripped out my heart, broke me, and kicked me while I was down. Love feels like a betrayal of my sanity. I know what happens firsthand when you let yourself open up and love with reckless abandon; whether you are 9 years old or 42. You get HURT.

What if I want to go find a cave on a beach somewhere and never return? What if I don’t want to deal with the orthodontist, groceries, feeding, caring, or loving for one more second? What if I don’t want to deal with the emotional repercussions of loving someone again? What if I want to march out of this house, get into my car, and drive straight to the airport? I could board a flight out of this state, out of this country and start over. I could do that. I really truly could.

But I won’t. Because I know that even though these emotions are deeply painful and very hard to bear right now, they will pass. They always do. And when they do, I will walk away knowing myself a bit better. Knowing once again, that my strength lies within me no matter what my mind is trying to tell me. And I will never break again because no one will have control over my life and my emotions to the extent that my ex did. That is the TRUTH.

And I know, of course I know, that I love my kids more than life itself. And that these emotions are okay and they are normal. I also know that I am totally worthy of loving and being loved again. I do not want to go forward in this life for one more second ignoring my feelings, putting them in a box, and erecting walls around my heart. Because that isn’t really living. It is watching life pass you by like you’re some spectator, not an active participant.

I have to learn to let go of this fear and this hurt in healthy ways – not by putting my heart on lockdown. I have to slowly and gently trust that it is okay to love and to be loved by my children, by my family and friends, and by others. Not everyone will break my heart and stomp on it. There are many who will treat it with loving kindness and a tenderness so beautiful that it will be worth the risk. I cannot let myself miss that by living in an emotional cave on an imaginary beach somewhere.

But fuck, it feels so scary. And I wish someone could hold my hand.

Right now.

The End.

It’s been a crazy 36 hours.

I got divorced yesterday. At 8:30 in the morning.

I found myself sitting next to a complete stranger; a person I might have thought was cute had I passed him on the street, but still, a stranger. This person sitting next to me on the bench felt oddly familiar at times. His voice, his mannerisms, his clothes (I think I bought the pants he was wearing), those were like distant memories of someone I used to know. Someone I used to love. That person is long gone.

The only difficult part of the actual proceeding was having to answer this question:

“Do you believe this marriage to be irrevocably broken?”

Yes.

It hurt like a knife twisted in my belly when he answered ‘yes’ right after I did.

But it’s the truth. The marriage is broken. There is no going back after what transpired last year. There is no hope for reconciliation, no arms wide open running toward each other in an open field. It is done.

There is closure. I like that part. There is empowerment; I will never be beholden to another man, ever again. There is a future filled with hope and endless possibilities. I get my name back!! The name that my parents gave me when I was born. My last name that was a part of my identity for the first 30 years of my life. The same last name that my dad had.

But, for the most part, it is bitter-sweet. There is no more family. My kids now come from a ‘broken home’. The children are the only real victims here and there is literally nothing I can do to fix that; to make it better. They will spend half of their lives with me and half with their dad. HALF! I grew those two perfect humans inside of my body. I pushed them out after a combined total of 30 hours of labor. My son weighed 9.1 pounds! My daughter weighed 9.14 pounds! You are telling me I get half of their precious lives?! BULLFUCKINGSHIT. They say that the baby leaves behind some of its cells in the mother after it is born. Parts of them live inside of me and this feels like the universe’s most powerful gift.

I am never really alone. They are always with me.

I am coming to realize that the family piece is what held us together for so long. It became the most important piece of our puzzle until it couldn’t hold us together any longer. And we broke.

A few weeks ago, I was explaining to the kids that their mom and dad just don’t fit together anymore. My son replied: “It’s like a puzzle. You had all the pieces when you met. Then you lost one. And the puzzle broke. And maybe you’ll find it someday. But maybe you won’t.”

Straight up RANT.

I had to go into hiding; lockdown. I have been faced with yet another monstrous hurdle in this shit-show called divorce.

The ex wants my kids (aged 9 and 7) to live in a home with multiple people; one of whom I do not know. Adults. His girlfriend is one of them and another male I have never met. I feel so unbelievably uncomfortable about all of this. It raises all of the hairs on my head. My momma instincts are screaming ‘NO! NO! NO!’.

Even if my ex knows and trusts these people, I do not. I have only met the girlfriend a few times and this new male, not even once. Adults in my children’s home mean more adults visiting those adults and that just grows exponentially. He assures me that they won’t be in danger. That there will be no big parties when they are there. He tells me that they will be safe and respected. That the people he will have as roommates understand what it means to live with small children. But none of this changes the fact that I DO NOT KNOW THESE PEOPLE. None of this information helps me feel at ease when I have been told that I will ‘never be welcome’ in that house. And that ‘maybe’ these people would be willing to meet me. And it certainly doesn’t help that I have little to no faith in my ex for very obvious reasons.

Last week, when this new development came up, the all too familiar emotional and verbal abuse came with it. When I asserted my position, I was called ‘combative’. When I stated that he could lose custody if the judge rules that he cannot have his children in a home with strangers, he called me ‘threatening’, ‘manipulative’, and ‘shaming’ of his lifestyle choices. There was no intended malice in that statement – no judge would ever put minors in a home with adult strangers! That is a FACT. When I said that I don’t feel comfortable with his scenario, he called me ‘controlling’ and that I ‘cannot control who he lives with and what he does with his life’. Both of those things are true but we aren’t talking about his life and his life alone. These are my kids too, goddamnit! MY KIDS TOO!

Why is it that when a strong woman makes a case for her beliefs and stands her ground, it is called being “COMBATIVE”?

I call bullshit on that one. BULLSHIT.

And of course, this new development hurts like hell. Of course, this new living situation feels like a nightmare for me, personally. But I will be damned if he is going to make this about me and my needs! This is, and has always been, about our children and what is in their best interest. I would never take them away from their father. He is a good dad – just a shit husband – and that is for me to deal with, not them.

So, I did the only thing that I could, I created a document that sets up parameters around the kids new living situation. Background checks, limits around unknown adults in the home while they are there, etc. Smart parameters, not selfish and manipulative choices! I am struggling with the fact that I will never be welcome in that home. A place my children will call home for half of their lives. HALF OF THEIR LIVES. And that half will be spent living with someone I really believe (at least for now) that I hate. Someone I would pay money to be in a small room with for five minutes. That is all I would need. Five minutes to get in her face and say all of the things I want to say, that I should have said months ago. The biggest and loudest one:

‘YOU SHOULD HAVE WALKED THE FUCK AWAY. YOU WATCHED A MARRIAGE CRUMBLE. YOU KNEW THERE WAS LOVE THERE AND YET YOU FUCKING STAYED. YOU AIDED IN BREAKING A FAMILY BECAUSE YOU ARE A SELFISH LITTLE 30-YEAR-OLD ASS. YOU ARE NOT A PARENT, YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER; YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THESE CHILDREN’S LIVES, OUR LIVES.’

Well, something like that. I am so angry right now. It comes and it goes. This is my reality and I am done running from it.

My next post will likely tackle more of the codependency stuff. I really thought I was in love with my ex. That he loved me still. I haven’t spoken to him in 4 days and you know what? I feel better and healthier with every single day that passes.

Thanks for listening.

Amy

Request for Help

This is tough. This is humbling myself beyond what I ask of my friends in terms of childcare support. The phrase ‘first world problems’ keeps running back and forth through my head. But I think that phrase is an awful one. It is dismissive and undermines the reality of my pain and my struggles. Problems are problems. Tough situations exist for everyone. Perhaps the difference is in the magnitude of said problem?

This is raw and real and I am done worrying about it. It feels like I am doing my children a disservice by not actively trying to figure out a solution for our security and our future.

If you cannot contribute I totally understand.

If you feel comfortable doing so, please please share this post. I’d be forever grateful.

Amy

https://www.gofundme.com/familyhomeforever