Cause and Effect

by Carolyn on September 29, 2009

Cause and Effect, by Dale Wicks

Cause and Effect, by Dale Wicks

My parents met, got married and had me. I’m alive today and living a richer life than I ever could have imagined.  I’ll always be grateful to them for giving me my greatest gift – life.

My parents got divorced. And I still feel a little sad, angry and hurt by that.  I sometimes wonder if they wanted me when they didn’t want each other.

My family was broken. Now, I am voraciously protective of my own nuclear family.  Everything that we can do together gets done together.  When my son has hockey and it would be easier to stay home with my daughter and let my husband take him, we all go anyway.  I can hardly stand to have us apart.

I learned that marriage didn’t necessarily mean forever. My own marriage is so central to my life that I don’t know if I could survive without it.

My parents both remarried. Twenty six years later, I have not one but two models of marriage to both look to and learn from.

My parents both had children with their new spouses. I have been blessed with yet another incredible gift – to watch five wonderful and interesting people grow into adults and come into their own in this world.  And finally, finally we are beginning to have things in common.  Finding common ground upon which to build our own relationships independent of our parents.

I felt like for years, I was surrounded by babies. And when becoming a parent myself, I felt rather comfortable with the whole idea.  Like I had somehow been there before.

My parents were very busy with their new lives and new families. I am comfortable with being alone, feeling awkward and a little out of place.  I am incredibly independent and unafraid.

My father moved away. I can’t help but feel like I missed out something really great by not having him present in my daily life growing up.  I look at my children and wonder how he ever did it.  I wonder how he felt about that.

I looked for love, acceptance and approval in all the wrong places. I value love and relationships above anything else but will no longer compromise who I am to get them.

Twice, I felt like I had to choose. I will never choose again.  The choice will always be theirs.

I became lost.  Oh so lost. I am now steadfast on my path.  I’m not afraid to take a hard look at myself and make changes.  I’m proud of who I’ve become.

I grew up as a child of divorce. I am resilient, vulnerable, strong, masked, fierce, scared, bold, shy and wise.  I am me.

What is your cause and effect?


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robyn September 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I grew up in a mom married a man with 3 children and my mom came with 2 children from a previous marriage. Together, they had one child..that child wasn’t considered a “Step”, she was everyone’s sister. Now, that sister is getting ready to become a mother for the first time. Its makes my stepfamily a little closer once again instead of all the turmoil of problems that can happen in a stepfamily. I’m married to a man whose mother and father remained together and never got divorced. I think his head spins when I try to tell him all the stories about my


2 Robyn September 29, 2009 at 10:56 pm

As an adult, I think I’m stronger and wiser on how relationships work and how they don’t work. My one stepsister has made lots of sacrifices to keep her family working. Its amazing to me what she does just to keep her family together as if she doesn’t want a divorce for her own kids.


3 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I see that with a lot of children of divorce too. We are scared to commit because once we do we know we’ll do anything to prevent walking in our parent’s footsteps.


4 Theta Mom September 30, 2009 at 6:19 am

There are so many powerful words here, especially, “Twice, I felt like I had to choose. I will never choose again. The choice will always be theirs.” When you put the ownership on them, you are able to let go and then there isn’t any room for guilt. Excellent post.
.-= Theta Mom´s last blog ..Life Is Beautiful =-.


5 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Thanks Heather. I’m glad you liked it.


6 Dramgirl September 30, 2009 at 7:19 am

So well written! Touching, beautiful, wise, thoughtful, bittersweet, personal… Thank you!

And I do love your picture… so free and strong!

Just stopping by from SITS wishing you a fabulous Wednesday!


7 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Thanks Dramgirl. Thanks for stopping by!


8 Tammy September 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

I’m not a child of divorce, but I was an adopted child. A lot of the same feeling surface, but in different ways.

You’ve expressed this beautifully.
.-= Tammy´s last blog ..By Any Other Name =-.


9 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Tammy. I’ve got a couple of readers who are adopted children and we have noticed that the feelings are similar. I find that so interesting!


10 Jacquelyn September 30, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Thank you once again for telling it like it is. You rock, m’dear!


11 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Jacque!


12 Sassy Chica September 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

What a fabulous post, thank you for sharing that intimate part of you!

Sassy Chica
.-= Sassy Chica´s last blog ..WED WEIGH IN =-.


13 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Thank you Chica!


14 S.E. Sward September 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

My mother decided about four years ago that she wanted to divorce my father after 40 years of marriage … as far as I know, she’s not actually gone through with it, but I’m pretty sure they’re living separate lives under the same roof. I say pretty sure because I actually no longer have contact with them. But my mother engaged in a fair amount of bad-mouthing of my father when I was growing up – she felt he was keeping her from pursuing a career as a nurse, among other things. She tried to alienate me from my father, but it mostly backfired and alienated me from her. Anyhoo, it’s a godawful mess and not worth going into.

Just stopping by from Hot Piece of Sass to say hello. A powerful post. I’d never heard of PAS until today, no doubt because my fucked up family stayed together.


15 Carolyn September 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I can sure feel your pain here S.E. Sward. It sure can become a big mess. I even titled one of posts ‘What a Mess’. It’s so hard being estranged from a parent. It’s just nice to know we aren’t alone.


16 Yaya October 1, 2009 at 4:41 am

I was fortunate not to know divorce, but my husband’s father left when was 2 and never looked back. My husband often wonders, like you, how he could possibly do that to his children.


17 Carolyn October 1, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I feel for your husband. I don’t even know how you would process that throughout your life. My father didn’t abandon me. He moved away for work. I just don’t know how he was able to go. I can’t imagine anything that would take me away from my kids. But I’m not in the same position he was.


18 Peggy October 1, 2009 at 11:20 am

Hi Carolyn!

I think my comment got chewed up in the cyber space black hole…

Here I am again, and if it posts twice, just delete one :-)

I am also a child of divorce. First when my dad divorced my unfit bio-mom when I was eight (dad got custody of me and my three younger brothers in 1971). Dad remarried when I was nine and my stepmom brought two older sisters and another younger brother. Stepmom became my mom…she adopted me and my three brothers when I was 12.

Mom and dad divorced after 18 years of marriage. I was already married with two kids, but it still threw me for a loop.

My mom is on husband #5. My dad is on wife #4. When I was married to my EX husband, his parents had 8 or nine marriages between them. We used to joke, “between our parents, there are 16 marriages…”

I didn’t want my daughters to go through that. I clung to my nuclear family with all the unheathly dysfunctional grit I could muster until even my dysfunctionality saw the writing on the wall. My ex was a serial cheater and diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. I was living inside a co-dependent relationship that was unhealthy for me and even more unhealthy for my daughters.

My greatest fear is that I did more harm than good by staying married to that man for 19 years.

I need to send both my daughters a link to your blog, tweet it and facebook it.

.-= Peggy´s last blog ..Inoculate Yourself Against the StepMom Flu! =-.


19 Carolyn October 1, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Peggy, thanks for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment. So many marriages! I wonder both what you said for wedding vows and what you really thought about the longevity of marriage. I agree that being a child of a bad marriage is more harmful than being a child of divorce. I actually wrote a post about that here.

Thank you for your kind words. I’m honored that you like what you’ve found here.


20 Holly Ann October 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I too am a child of divorce so when i got married i was determined that i would NEVER, EVER put my children through that… and then i came to understand that my children were better off divorced than living in my unhealthy relationship… what i found through therapy and time was that i had no idea as to how to have a healthy, respectful relationship with someone because i had never seen one myself…

i have one now and i hope that the effect is that my children will be able to take it with them to their relationships…

i love your blog… :-)


21 Carolyn October 1, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Hi Holly. They will. They will be glad for the example you are setting for them now. Thanks for your kind words.


22 Angelia Sims October 2, 2009 at 12:16 am

Awesome post, I really enjoyed it. My favorite description “fierce”. I think that is a great word children of divorce live up to.
Bless you dear lady!
.-= Angelia Sims´s last blog ..Engaged!!! =-.


23 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Thanks Angelia! I liked that one too. And…your gravatar is hilarious!


24 Aspirations of a Southern Housewife October 2, 2009 at 7:25 am

Popping over from SITS… but what a compelling read I found! Also a child of divorced parents and it’s interesting how it affected me and my siblings so differently. No magic panacea exists… but it does help to recognize and talk about it. Thank you!
.-= Aspirations of a Southern Housewife´s last blog ..Happy Friday! =-.


25 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you liked the post.


26 betty manousos October 3, 2009 at 5:57 am

It’s a big !problem(divorce) but I believe as years go by we can find the way to get over it. I’m sorry to read that but happy to “meet”you:)
Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!


27 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Betty. Actually, there were lots of good things that came from it too. My outlook on my own personal relationships, for example.


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