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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 05-21-2011, 01:56 PM
ACOD ACOD is offline
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Default I'm an adult child of divorce and need advice

Background: My mom married her high school sweetheart and they were madly in love for 20 years. He was a financial manager for a few prestigious brokerages but embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. He did time in jail and then after his time was served, he and my mother continued to date. It was maybe 6 months later that he ended the relationship and moved on. They have both since remarried. It's been 10 years since we found out about his crime and 6 years since their divorce.

I am 30 years old and have 4 siblings, all adults but one is only 21 and still in postsecondary school. My dad is a fun and funny guy...think motivational speaker (that's how he got money out of people!) and we have tried to move on from his mistakes and build a relationship with him for my sake, and for the sake of my 4 children.

Over the past 6 years my mother hasn't held back. She tells us when he hasn't paid his child support. She tells us when he tries to change the amounts. She tells us that it hurts her when we do things with him that cost money, because that money should go to her support. She tells us that she doesn't understand how we can have a relationship with him, because of all the ways he's hurt her. "How can you have a relationship with someone who hurt someone you love?" is something we've heard more than once. Facebook has been aweful for us.

My siblings are spread across the globe and facebook is a connection for us to share stories/pics and keep our relationships current. My mom has my dad blocked so she can't see him. She tells us that it hurts her to see us have fun with him on FB.

For the past 6 years we've all kept quiet about this behaviour because we WANT to support her...after all, she did have her life, credit, marriage and family upheaved underneath her. It's hard not to choose sides when it's so obvious who's actions led to the demise of the marriage...and she makes it clear whose side we should be on. And I feel like he IS a scumbag for not wanting to pay support. But, on a personal note, it's at the point now where I feel that my relationship with my dad is healing (I hated him for a few years) and I want to be free to encourage this relationship for me and my children.

Please tell me where the boundaries lie, as far as what is appropriate to tell adult children? On one hand, I should be free and clear to have a relationship with my dad, who is the only one I have. On the other hand, I feel so guilty because he did wrong her so badly.

I need advice please. It's a tricky situation to be an adult child of divorce and there are not many resources out there...so I also hope that this was posted in an appropriate forum. Forgive me if it's not.

Thank you all,
Adult Child of Divorce
  #2  
Old 05-21-2011, 04:52 PM
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wretchedotis wretchedotis is offline
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I think you should maintain whatever relationship you have with both you parents. You should look at each of them seperately and accept them for whatever they have to offer. Good or bad. Do your best to make your own decisions about right and wrong and who did what to whom.
Obviously, their perceptions of the past are skewed. Take in all the credible information, and make your own decisions.

If it were me, I would want all my family members to be in my life.

Last edited by wretchedotis; 05-21-2011 at 04:54 PM.
  #3  
Old 05-21-2011, 06:03 PM
ACOD ACOD is offline
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Yes! I absolutely want to maintain relationships with both! I'm just not sure how to go about speaking to my mother about the content of her conversations about my dad.
  #4  
Old 05-21-2011, 06:15 PM
LostFather LostFather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACOD View Post
Background: My mom married her high school sweetheart and they were madly in love for 20 years. He was a financial manager for a few prestigious brokerages but embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. He did time in jail and then after his time was served, he and my mother continued to date. It was maybe 6 months later that he ended the relationship and moved on. They have both since remarried. It's been 10 years since we found out about his crime and 6 years since their divorce.

I am 30 years old and have 4 siblings, all adults but one is only 21 and still in postsecondary school. My dad is a fun and funny guy...think motivational speaker (that's how he got money out of people!) and we have tried to move on from his mistakes and build a relationship with him for my sake, and for the sake of my 4 children.

Over the past 6 years my mother hasn't held back. She tells us when he hasn't paid his child support. She tells us when he tries to change the amounts. She tells us that it hurts her when we do things with him that cost money, because that money should go to her support. She tells us that she doesn't understand how we can have a relationship with him, because of all the ways he's hurt her. "How can you have a relationship with someone who hurt someone you love?" is something we've heard more than once. Facebook has been aweful for us.

My siblings are spread across the globe and facebook is a connection for us to share stories/pics and keep our relationships current. My mom has my dad blocked so she can't see him. She tells us that it hurts her to see us have fun with him on FB.

For the past 6 years we've all kept quiet about this behaviour because we WANT to support her...after all, she did have her life, credit, marriage and family upheaved underneath her. It's hard not to choose sides when it's so obvious who's actions led to the demise of the marriage...and she makes it clear whose side we should be on. And I feel like he IS a scumbag for not wanting to pay support. But, on a personal note, it's at the point now where I feel that my relationship with my dad is healing (I hated him for a few years) and I want to be free to encourage this relationship for me and my children.

Please tell me where the boundaries lie, as far as what is appropriate to tell adult children? On one hand, I should be free and clear to have a relationship with my dad, who is the only one I have. On the other hand, I feel so guilty because he did wrong her so badly.

I need advice please. It's a tricky situation to be an adult child of divorce and there are not many resources out there...so I also hope that this was posted in an appropriate forum. Forgive me if it's not.

Thank you all,
Adult Child of Divorce
I am not sure of your father position to pay. But maybe look at it as....child....support. At 21 your youngest sibling is not a child. I know he/she maybe in school, but is not longer a child. Is the support, the cs that you mom complains about for your sibling? or for her? I am sure you know how how much you mom is supporting your younger sibling.

I see that your mom is mad as i am sure she doesn't have the lifestyle she once enjoyed from your fathers misdealing's.

You haven't said what your father says about the negative things she says about him. Does be say anything? It would appear to me that your mother is trying to alienate you from your father. If you were younger this would possible be considered P.A.S. Which is a form of abuse.

I think there is two sides of the story....if its bothering you about the cs then ask your dad about it.

Otherwise tell your mom that he is your dad and that you would appreciate if she stop all the negative talk as it bothers you to hear it. Ask here to go to councilling to deal with her anger.

Tell her that he's your dad that you love him. that your mother is your mom and you love her too.

Last edited by LostFather; 05-21-2011 at 06:18 PM.
  #5  
Old 05-21-2011, 06:42 PM
fieldgrey fieldgrey is offline
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It is said that as we grow older we become the parents and our parents become the children. In this case, any resolution to this is going to require doing something like what LostFather says above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostFather View Post
Otherwise tell your mom that he is your dad and that you would appreciate if she stop all the negative talk as it bothers you to hear it. Ask here to go to councilling to deal with her anger.

Tell her that he's your dad that you love him. that your mother is your mom and you love her too.
When I use the word 'resolution' I do not believe this gets 'fixed' in the way a squeaky hinge is solved with grease: the best outcome here is frankness, openness, honesty and expressions of love.

Be direct about how you feel and what you want, and clear and positive with your mother that this isn't about taking sides. Your mother may not be in any frame of mind to hear that, that is not your fault. Alternatively, if you have the finances, you can go with your mother to sessions with a counselor together and someone else can help you address this, then she can continue on herself.

I also agree with Lost Father that you should speak to your father about the position it puts you in. But remember: you are not responsible to solve the problem between your parents, nor be their counselors.

There is no way around this, only through it. Just take heart that many of us have been in similar situations.

FG
  #6  
Old 05-21-2011, 11:21 PM
frustratedwithex frustratedwithex is offline
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My X is putting our young adult children in this same position.

I have helped them find counseling, and encouraged them to speak up and say that they won’t listen to this kind of talk. I have told them that the details of our divorce are not topics of discussion with them. It is difficult for them and they often have to leave the room/house etc. if the conversation does not end.

This part is up to you, you have to be clear about what you won’t discuss and you have to be willing to see your mom upset. She will keep trying to pull you back into the old patterns. I suspect she feels she has a willing audience after all these years and she may like the role of the victim. But you must stop it every time, not just sometimes.

I think you should encourage your mom to seek counseling, but more importantly, you should find your own counseling to learn how to deal with your parents’ divorce. Ultimately it is your relationship with both you parents, and it is up to you to define it the way you want.

These are some of the books recommended to me and my children;

Moving Beyond your Parents' Divorce
http://www.amazon.ca/Moving-Beyond-your-Parents-Divorce/dp/0071402489/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306032137&sr=1-1

The Way They Were: Dealing with Your Parents' Divorce After a Lifetime of Marriage
http://www.amazon.ca/Way-They-Were-Lifetime-Marriage/dp/1400082102/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306032431&sr=1-1
  #7  
Old 05-22-2011, 01:19 AM
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The thing is.. by your own account you and all your siblings are adults.
No one here can, nor should, tell you how to feel or react to the information you hqve been presented with. And truthfully, maybe some of the things you were told - you shouldn't have been told. Those are arguements above your pay-grade in this situation.

It is unfair of either of your parents to play you against one another.

I guess you need to decide which is a more forgivaeable sin - failing to meet CS obligations, or purposefully engagaing children in an arguement they shouldn't be aware of.

Really. You're an adult. Which will you forgive? One? Both?
You tell me.
  #8  
Old 05-22-2011, 09:34 AM
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Your mom is doing no one any favours by trashing your dad.

Yes, he was a clown to do the things he did, but Mom guilting you for having a relationship with him does no good to anyone, and harm to some.

Not cool.
  #9  
Old 05-23-2011, 05:55 PM
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I think your mom needs some kind of counselling to allow herself to move on... this obviously is still a horrible pain in her life and after all of this time it's time to move past it and live...

the past is the past... there are consequences to every action and both your parents will need to learn to live with what they have made.. and come to terms and move past...

I'm sorry your mom is hurting so badly and i'm sorry that you are still stuck in the middle even after all these years...

reassure your mother you love her... but be firm that your father is not a topic you will discuss with her... and encourage her to find someone to talk to in a professional manner... she needs to move on to be able to have a full life again without this baggage killing her spirit...

good luck!
  #10  
Old 06-01-2011, 03:58 PM
AnarX AnarX is offline
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ACOD,
Ask your father: "When did you stop being in love with mom?" and "When did mom stop loving you?"
Ask your mother: "When did you stop being in love with dad?" and "When did dad stop loving you?"
Look them in the eyes when they answer those questions. Compare their answers. Their answers may change how you appreciate the family history.

Unless you have been married yourself to somebody you love, you have no capacity to judge either your mother or your father.
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