Because of You – A Child of Divorce Speaks Out

by Carolyn on May 4, 2010

I heard this song at work today and I remembered that when it was released, I read that Kelly Clarkson had written it about the impact that her parent’s divorce has had on her since she was six years old.  But when Breakaway, this song’s album was released, I wasn’t as in tuned with all things divorce like I am now.  Today, I listened to the song with new ears and although I’ve never been a big fan of hers, I found the lyrics resonating.  When I got home, I jumped on to YouTube to watch the video and found myself crying.

I didn’t have to endure a high conflict marriage or divorce, but the underlying feelings for all of us children of divorce are similar.  The desire to do things differently.  The sense that the adults around you were so wrapped up in their own pain and emotions that yours got somewhat overlooked.  Needing to growing up fast, put a smile on your face and not show the pain.  With today’s normalization of divorce and the consensus even from within that children of divorce need to buck up, get over it and move on, Miss Clarkson displayed a great deal of strength by putting this song forward.  Suddenly, I find myself thinking she rocks.  Sing it, sister.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra-Om7UMSJc

Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself
Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break the way you did,
You fell so hard
I’ve learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I lose my way
And it’s not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes
I’m forced to fake
A smile, a laugh everyday of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don’t know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty
Because of you
I am afraid

Because of you
Because of you

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lynn from For Love or Funny May 5, 2010 at 6:18 am

I feel so incredibly fortunate that my family hasn’t had to sustain a divorce. It looks like you have some really good resources for people who are touched by divorce… I saw you at Scary Mommy and had to come visit.
.-= Lynn from For Love or Funny´s last blog ..Proof that dogs can exact revenge… =-.

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2 Carolyn May 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Thanks for finding me here! I love Scary Mommy.

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3 Blend and Stir May 5, 2010 at 10:10 am

I’ve never been a big fan. But thanks for pointing out the lyrics to this song. I read them and teared up (surprised!!!).

For my mom’s first divorce, I was just 6 years old. Helpless, afraid and ignored for the most part. For her second divorce, I was 32. Not so helpless, but definitely afraid and ignored. No matter your age, your parents’ divorce affects you.

This song put words to the feelings perfectly.

Thanks for sharing.
.-= Blend and Stir´s last blog ..Ouch! =-.

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4 Carolyn May 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm

I was surprised when I teared up too! I was pretty impressed with how she put her feelings so accurately into song. I don’t think that I’ll be going out of my way to listen to her now, but I will always have a great deal of respect for this particular song.

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5 Andrea May 5, 2010 at 11:43 am

Thank you for making me look at this song in a different way! Just stopping by from SITS to say hello. Happy Wednesday.

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6 Carolyn May 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm

No problem! Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be headed over to see you very soon too.

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7 Angelia Sims May 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm

One of my favorites by her. The part about trust always gets me. So typically from a child of divorce. I still find that one of the hardest things. Great song. Great artist.
.-= Angelia Sims´s last blog ..How to Raise a Happy Teen =-.

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8 Carolyn May 10, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Me too, Angelia. Trust is the biggie. My mother tells me that trust issues are a direct result of childhood trauma (divorce counts). Interesting, anyway. I think that’s one struggle that most of us children of divorce share.

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9 Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny May 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hi SITStah,
Ouch! I’ve never really listened to the lyrics of this song. What pain!

These lines really jumped out at me:
I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty
Because of you
I am afraid

My goodness…I feel the need to take responsibility for how I feel “today” based on what happened in my past without “blaming” while recognizing that what happened still has an impact. We all have to find our own way through the maze of what life hands us. It’s not easy. Pain can either kill us or drive us directly – sometimes indirectly – towards a cure.
.-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..Saying Goodbye to Leo =-.

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10 Carolyn May 10, 2010 at 11:13 pm

It’s a hard balance to find; acknowledging the impact of our past without being held captive by it. Thanks for commenting!

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11 WhiteSockGirl aka The Fabulous Bitch May 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I am a huge Kelly fan, and that song is mighty powerful. The video also. I am not a child of divorce, but it grabbed me. It is intense and direct.
.-= WhiteSockGirl aka The Fabulous Bitch´s last blog ..WOW Blogger of Note = Bitch Fab =-.

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12 Carolyn May 10, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Yes it is. It sure grabbed me!

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13 Divorce Advice for Women May 21, 2010 at 1:14 am

Awesome song! You have to admire children who have endure the separation of their parents. Having to grow up faster and assume bigger responsibilities at such an early age, it is amazing where they draw their strength from. Very inspiring indeed.

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14 Odessa October 21, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Wow. Never thought I would get teary watching a Kelly Clarkson video! I am a stepmom, and your blog has wonderful advice for how to raise our not-yet-adult children of divorce. My parents are still married, I never experienced divorce as a child. My parents were/are very wasp-y in the sense that strong emotions were/are never shown in the family. I have never seen my mom cry. Not when her mother died. Not when she was diagnosed with cancer. Never. And I have never seen my parents fight or be angry with each other. Now, as a married adult I know enough to know that no marriage is void of conflict and hard-fought compromise, and I’m sure that my parents’ marriage was no exception. But it was hidden from me 100%.

As a result, I as an adult have a hard time dealing with and processing conflict and anger. I simply have no idea what to do with it because I never had any example. I generally keep anger bottled up until it comes out in some not-the-best way. I feel like a bad person for feeling anger, even when the situation warrants it. I am aware of this and have been working on this personal fault in therapy. I know now anger is a normal emotion, I know there are good and bad ways to handle it. But I had no example of either good or bad ways growing up. It simply “didn’t exist.”

This video makes me wonder – In what ways is it appropriate and not appropriate to show our children and stepchildren any conflict we experience with our spouse? Obviously, the child in this video was shown too much parental conflict, was asked to be the one that a parent could lean on in hard times, which is not fair to any child. But is it OK to expose our children to some amount of “normal” parental conflict, as long as we show them that we work it out among adults and don’t ask the kids to bear the burden of the conflict? Or is showing them any conflict detrimental to them? If we are having a particularly tough time resolving a certain issue with our spouse, to what degree is it OK to make the kids aware of that??

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