Question: Dear Luise: I am 19 years old and am the 3rd oldest of 6 children. My parents have been married for almost 27 years. Although that sounds like a long time, it hasn’t always been happy for them. In fact, when I was about 8 years old is when I saw my parents marrage start to slip away right infront of my eyes. Since that time their marrage has just got worse. About 5 years ago their marrage turned into a domestic violence situation. Since that time my mother has seeked emotional support in other men. This hurt me very much but I also know my father was no Angel to my mother either. When I was a young girl she told me he had cheated on her (again I have no idea if this is true). Sadly my mother took comfort in my older sister and myself. Telling us things we NEVER should have known about at such a young age regarding her relationship with my father. There is not a doubt in my mind, I know my mother no longer loves my father. My father on the other hands says he still loves her. I know their marrage will end in divorce its just a matter of now. Not an IF but a WHEN. How do I deal with seeing my father hurt knowing his wife doesn’t want to be with him anymore? Because of THEIR problems with eachother my older sister and myself sadly never had much of a childhood. I know my older sibings (a brother who’s 22 & a sister who’s 20), and myself will deal with this differently then my younger sibings. We had to grow up very fast, my younger sibings on the other hand didn’t. I feel for my younger sibings (two brothers 16 & 13 and a sister 11) because they are still so young. I feel for them because they will not grow up in a two parent household like I did. Sadly because of my parents marrage it has made myself very scared of marrage or even a relationship. My parents marrage was all I had to took up to when I was little when it comes to relationships. It was all I saw. I know not all relationships/marrages are like my parents but I can’t help but be scared that my life will also turn out like theirs. In the back of my mind all I think is “whats the point if this is what a relationship is about?” I know its not true but I can’t stop thinking that way. How do I deal with my parents divorcing as well as help my younger siblings? Something else that is going to be hard is seeing our parents with other people. I know my mother will move on and find someone else. But how do we deal with this? Thank you for your help, S.
Answer: Dear S. You sound like a very mature and caring young woman. That in itself is a huge gift to your younger siblings. It’s sad situation for everyone. And you are right, your mother used very poor judgment by not respecting you as her child and foolishly sharing confidences like she would with her best friend. There is probably no right person and no wrong one…they just aren’t right for each other.
Teach your younger siblings forgiveness as you learn to apply it in your own life. We get whatever we get from our family of origin and when we leave home, it’s up to each and every one of us to heal our own wounds. I honestly don’t think anyone leaves his or her childhood home unscathed. Your parents were together all of your childhood and yet you still have some deep scars to deal with. I think you may select a better mate due to what you have learned growing up. Don’t let it stop you from finding love and joy. Blessings, Luise