Being an acronym is great

by Carolyn on June 25, 2009

My son Nolan and I

My son Nolan and I

Are you an ACOD (adult child of divorce)? I am. I think being an acronym is great. If I could have chosen any acronym, I might have chosen something a little more glorious, like a VIP or BFF. But I also could have done worse. I could be an SOB or worse still a POS! I’ve worn the badge of ACOD for well over 10 years now. It’s clinical. It’s accurate. I’m comfortable wearing it. I’m not proud, but I’m nowhere near ashamed either.

Yet there is an inherent flaw in this particular acronym. And the flaw is this: it is used in reference to two entirely different groups of people. As it is in my case, it refers to a person who’s parents divorced when they were children and have grown into adults. But it is also used to refer to a person who’s parents divorce after they have become adults themselves. Two groups of people who probably have more differences than similarities. I’d even venture to guess that the only thing they do have in common is that their parents indeed are divorced.

Having your parents divorce when you are an adult must feel like a rug being pulled from under your feet. I’m sure it causes you to question your core views on family and marriage. I’d imagine it’s devastating to have beliefs which are so ingrained; such a part of who you are crumble into a little pile of dust and rubble. But in the end I really can’t be sure. I’m the other kind of ACOD. Divorce is woven all through the rug that I stand on. Divorce is ingrained right to the heart of who I am. It seems wrong to have these two groups with experiences different in almost every way lumped under the same acronym.

Therefore, although I comfortably wear my badge of ACOD, I prefer to refer to myself as a ‘grown up’ child of divorce. For me, this simple distinction brings forth a quality of accuracy that the other does not. But my personal term doesn’t make a good acronym. If I go around saying I’m a GUCOD no one would have the faintest idea of I was talking about. And ACOD already has one more letter than most acronyms, so who am I to add even more? Really, once the acronym takes as long to say as the title itself it’s really not that useful anymore.

So here I am. An ACOD. Being an acronym really is great. I wear my acronym; my badge like a battle scar. You never see it in passing. But once we are friends, you’ll find it impossible to ignore. And if we become closer still, I may just decide to tell you the story behind it.


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A child of divorce struggles with feeling wanted —
August 27, 2009 at 11:49 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carolyn July 2, 2009 at 10:16 pm

From Frank Fradella on June 16, 2009

“Really, once the acronym takes as long to say as the title itself it’s really not
that useful anymore.”

This line literally made me laugh out loud. Nice job, Carolyn.


2 Carolyn July 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm

After my reply thanking Frank and telling him I was glad he found the piece funny:

Well, the subject matter itself is pretty heavy, but worth discussing. I’m actually
finding it fascinating. My parents have been married for over 50 years (yes, to each
other), so everything you’re writing here is a brand-new perspective for me. It’s
riveting. The laugh was just icing.


3 Carolyn July 2, 2009 at 10:24 pm

From Lisa on June 16, 2009

Bravo!! Can’t wait for the next post…


4 Carolyn July 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm

From my loving husband Steve on June 16, 2009

I am so proud of you, and what you are capable of doing when you set your mind to
it! Keep up the good work and don’t be afraid of what other people may think of you
and your writings. you will always be supported by the ones that truely love you!!!

love your family


5 Sal February 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Ha! This is brilliant. Thanks for the link to this – really made my day


6 Carolyn February 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

Thanks Sal! I’m glad you enjoyed it.


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