While it’s not true that everyone who grew up in a two parent, single home household had a happy childhood – we all know there are people who stay in unhealthy relationships when they probably shouldn’t have – there are complications that are specific to people who grew up shuttled between parents.
If you grew up in one house and are curious what it was like for your friends with divorced parents, these 14 people are telling all.
14. Words can definitely hurt.
When you say or do something that your parent doesn’t like, and they tell you, “you’re just like your father/mother.”
Yeah, no s*%t, I was made by the both of you. I get that you no longer like my dad/mom, but it hurts that you also hate half of what makes me me.
13. Holidays were rough.
Until I moved away as an adult, my Christmas was shuffling from one house to the next from 9am to 7pm.
I got to play with my Christmas presents the day after Christmas but never on Christmas because I was never at a house long enough to play with them.
12. You learn how to doublethink.
A successful strategy but you basically have to learn how to doublethink
When you’re with mom: yes it was all dad’s fault
When you’re with dad: yes it was all mom’s fault
And in your head you know that both things can’t be true so either one or both of your parents are liars and so you
11. Jealousy can rear its ugly head.
A lot of these comments repeat stuff, but the worst one for me is seeing your step-siblings have the life you didn’t where both parents are present and they’re closer to your parent than you are because you barely see them.
10. Issues can last for years.
“Do you act this way at your dad/mom’s house?!”
Parents can sometimes, maybe/hopefully unintentionally use the kids as pawns.
At 31, I still get envious of people even my own age who’s parents are still together. Holidays are a stress-fest having to make sure to spend equal amounts of time at each parents house.
A lot of my childhood memories are either lost due to trauma or not very enjoyable to remember. I feel like I became an adult before the age of 10.
Also, don’t forget about the abandonment issues that arise later in life.
9. You feel like the leftovers.
It’s even better when they “just want to move on with their life”.
Both my parents re-married and had more kids. My brother and I were leftovers and were treated that way. My mom swears up and down that she didn’t treat me any differently…
But my sister who is 10 years younger then me just got the down payment on her house. And I am still houseless even though my dad is the mayor of a small town and my step-dad owns his own business. I know that sounds petty, but it’s the most recent example of the blatant favoritism that’s been going on ever since my step siblings were born.
I’m trying to make it work with her, but I’m tempted just to cut her off. I already did with my dad.
8. You can feel like a pawn.
My sibling and I were very much used as pawns, largely by our father. We were even dragged into court one day, having to miss school, as our father wanted us to testify that our mother was a bad parent. I can’t remember anything concrete from before my freshman year in HS. It set me up for a string of abusive and unhealthy relationships as I went through school and discovered my true self that wasn’t just a mask to keep me safe.
I’m currently in therapy trying to sort through my heavy dissociative issues that I was so out of it from I didn’t even realize I had them until a year ago. I feel like a 40 year old in a disabled 24 y/o’s body. I can’t even function well enough to hold a job. I don’t know why I’m posting this, but I feel like I should share.
The main lesson I’ve learned is that even though they’re the ones who brought me into this world, they were not fit to be parents, and truth be told I’d much rather have never been born than have to deal with all this garbage these terrible human beings have left me with.
7. Blending families can be rough.
My step siblings were really crappy to me, but one in particular was horrible to me. She’d be all over my dad trying to please him.
Also, nobody mentions being parented by a step parent. The rules they make and stuff they make you do, even though they’re NOT your parent.
6. You feel like two different people.
The worst part was the anxiety around having your parents interact. Even 10 years later I can’t mention my mum around my dad as I have no idea what he’ll do. He once saw my mum’s new partner when dropping us off (he was doing something in the garage) and tried to fight him.
You end up feeling like 2 different people. I had stuff at one house but not the other, so my entire daily routine and life was completely different at each house.
The second you go to one house, it’s like you shift and completely forget everything to do with anything at the other house. You can’t mention anything you did at the other house, so the 2 parts of your life become so fractured.
It didn’t feel too bad at the time because it’s just how it was. It’s only now I’m older I can look back and see how much it kinda fucked with me.
5. This will break your heart.
When we were little, Mom worked full time and Dad stayed home with us. When I was 6 they separated and we only saw him once, maybe twice a year.
I have never recovered from this sudden and unexplained abandonment.
4. It’s not home.
One of the houses is the other house, not home.
You might keep some clothes over there, but they’re the clothes you don’t necessarily like or wear often. And then you forget about them because you’re not there enough to wear them so by the time you put them on they don’t fit and you’re reminded yet again that you’re not home.
3. In serial situations…
My dad has been married 4 times after divorcing my mom (wife 1). He recently divorced the wife we liked a lot and have a good relationship with her. She’s grandma to my kids.
He has a new girlfriend and we are polite but I refuse to get to know her. She’ll be gone in 10 years…
2. It can cause some serious anxiety.
Even as an adult, I have a ton of anxiety about traveling and especially packing. My parents were very hostile to one another so there was no “call Dad and have him bring over the thing you forgot.”
Also they would rearrange or replace my things (or go through them and get rid of toys) when I wasn’t there which made me extremely territorial.
1. The guilt never goes away.
There is always guilt about the parent you’re not with.
Are they lonely? Are they crying?
I’m 53 now and the guilt is still there for every holiday.
Some of these surprised me, but most of them just made me sad.
If you grew up in a divorced family, tell us what was hardest for you down in the comments!