I resented my parents for a long time. I shed many tears in my childhood and even into my 20s over them. To be honest their divorce wasn’t traumatic. It was feeling torn between two people that I loved so much, but hated each other so much, that was traumatic. They made some mistakes and there were situations us three children were put in that no child should be.
As a teenager I told them both I hated them but what I was really trying to say was “I love you both so much. Please don’t make me choose between you. It hurts too much.”
But I did eventually choose. I couldn’t live any longer being pulled in both directions or it would have torn me in two.
I recently heard a child psychologist say “divorce doesn’t ruin children. Parents ruin children.”
There was a point in my life where I felt worthless, wondering how there could be anything good in me when I came from so much hate.
We’ve hashed it out. All of us. Them, us and them. There’s nothing left to say. It is what it is.
Divorce can be tough. On everyone.
My perception of my parents started to change after getting married and having my own three children. I stopped seeing my parents as just “my parents” and more as human beings, people I could relate to. As a young woman I was consumed with my own pain. Now I wonder about theirs.
I understand how idealistic newlyweds are, and what it feels like to have reality shatter your expectations of family life.
I understand the stress of juggling three children with no support and feeling like all the outside pressures of life are tearing you apart.
I understand how resentment can grow between two people who were once madly in love.
Sadly, I know all too well how the blame game is played.
I can imagine the agony of ending a marriage and watching every hope and dream for your family come to an end.
I can even see how children become tools to hurt each other. I’m not saying it’s right, but I can understand how it happens. When you’re hurting that bad you don’t even realise the gravity of what you’re doing.
I also understand making mistakes. I have made so many mistakes.
So if you’re reading this, from the bottom of my heart I forgive you.
And I’m sorry if I made you feel like the worst parents in the world. Because you weren’t. You were just two young people, lost and hurting.
I know that when I was a baby you held me in your arms and dreamed of making my world perfect. I know that because now I’m doing it too.
I am not much different to the two of you.
Being a wife and mother isn’t easy. In fact, despite the constant reminder that I’m in the “best days of my life” they have also been the hardest of my life. In the six short years that I’ve been married there have been a thousand times I’ve dreamt about leaving and starting over. My husband and I have had an incredible amount of stress in our lives the last few years. We have resented each other. We have have said terrible things. We have blamed and pointed fingers.
The times I thought I couldn’t take it anymore my Mom told me “yes you can.”
When resentment consumed me my Dad said “go and work it out.”
When I confessed the terrible things I’d said my Mom told me “say you’re sorry. It’s important.”
When I blamed and pointed fingers my Dad gently reminded me “imagine how he feels.”
No, I do not have a perfect marriage like I imagined. But I do have a Mom and Dad who have supported me every step of the way. I know I am where I am today because my parents have steered me away from making the same mistakes they did.
“Don’t give up,” they both said.
No, I did not have a perfect childhood. But it prepared me for what I have faced as an adult. What I had to overcome as a child gave me the courage to face what I am today with strength.
“It will be worth it,” they both said.
I understand now that you’ve held my hand and walked me through the difficult times because you didn’t want me to experience what was the worst pain in the world for you.
I know there’s millions of us out there still feeling the pain of our childhoods. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying what you have right in front of you. Please know that you have become the resilient, strong person you are today because of it.
From pain a strength can grow. Despite your anger a happiness can be found.
An imperfect past makes the future that much sweeter.
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