Collateral Damage

When your kids are sad – and I don’t mean mad or annoyed – but downright sad, it breaks your heart in a way you can’t even explain. You feel like your whole body is lead. Just heavy and dull and blah. Your brain kinda fogs up and you can’t think straight.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk since my little She-ra (7 yr old) had a difficult time the other night when I dropped her off at Daddy’s (aka Grayheart’s) house. She didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to leave me, etc. She does this frequently. Not as much lately but I figure that coming off of the weekend with me was certainly not going to have her want to leave her cozy home to start the weekend with him. (My almost 4 yr old son, though, has no issues.)

So I always leave feeling crummy. She clings to me and cries and begs. And it sucks. 

She usually gets over it soon thereafter and Grayheart normally texts me to let me know all is good. 

But this time she took a bit longer to recover. She wailed to him how unfair this whole set up is. She wanted to be at her home. Not his

So he patiently listened to her as she complained that the divorce is the cause of him not being at home. And that she doesn’t understand it, doesn’t like it and wishes he’d just move back in. 

What do you say to that?! I mean, honestly, you respond with the typical explanation: how it’s this way for a reason, blah, blah, blah… but she’s right. Divorce sucks. She’s been put in a position where she has to split her time between the two adults she loves the absolute most. And since she’s 7, she remembers having an intact household. (Whereas my son doesn’t.)

So he talked her through it – and did a nice job, I must admit – and she recovered. But it’s moments like this that just pop out of nowhere – even a year and a half later – that throw you off. That even though they’re “ok” and “doing well”, kids are collateral damage. And that is depressing.

My friend, TheEuphoricIraqiSingleMom, brought up recently the topic of staying in a loveless marriage in regards to a friend of hers. I’ve thought about it before. How much would I be willing to sacrifice to make sure my kids had an intact, whole family? Could I ever get back with Grayheart just for the kids? Could I ever forgive what he’s done to me? Could I pretend I love him just to make sure I could be with my kids all the time? 

And the answer is, I can’t. I don’t see him the same. I don’t love him like I once did. He actually repulses me, in a way. I know I’d never get back with him but sometimes I’m disappointed in myself because it seems selfish. I know from a logical standpoint that I’m being silly, but that little voice loves to taunt me at times. Especially when I have a setback with my kids.

Anyway, darling daughter is fine now and hasn’t brought up any concerns…and seemed to have a lovely weekend with her father. So, I’m guessing this is normal.

Nonetheless, divorce sucks. 

xo

Athena

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48 thoughts on “Collateral Damage

  1. sdcannon says:

    I wish i could find an easier way to talk about my kids on here. I get all of this except my situation is soo different. But i get it. 14 and 4 who i finally had to quasi forceably take full custody of due to moms current state. Long story but the oldest is just now coming back around to me. At least she hates us both equally, ha…sigh…gotta laugh…i guess.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my! I don’t quite know how to respond! I’d love to hear more… I’m sorry it sounds so difficult but I know one thing for sure… Kids forgive and definitely warm up to a parent not giving up. Kudos to you for that! šŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

    • Apparently when they’re teens they just hate the person who gives them the most boundaries. Soooooo… Congrats on being the sane functional parent! You’re supposed to be their parent not their bud, if they roll their eyes more then talk to you as a teen then you’re doing it right.

      Liked by 2 people

      • sdcannon says:

        Yeah…then I definitely win that prize. Calls me by my first name…asks me why I’m “bored already” with her…so on and so on. She’s a delight. I get that she’s pissed and missing her mom so…we’re working on it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You got an honest one. Sounds like a handful. Just think, she sharpens her claws on you so she’s ready to use them in life. Sounds like a gal who’s prepared to know her value. “If you’re bored you’re boring.
          So now you’re calling me boring? I guess I Have to bare my soul a bit more and show you my cat plate collection or we can talk about some sort of bizarre hobby I can take up so you roll your eyes more. Live action role play? Cookie jar collections? Oh! We can get a metal detector and go treasure hunting as a family and you can Facebook post a team selfie every time we find something”…. Two can play.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hahahah. I can’t take all the credit. I am always trying to live up to Tina fey and Mindy. If I ever meet their prowess at being enjoyable… Then I am winning at life. 30 Rock is my go to show. Watch it, live it, love it, I’m totally Liz Lemon.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Divorce does suck and there’s not pretty way to put it for the kids. They suffer. But they’d also suffer seeing their parents fight, or having a bad relationship modeled to them. Ultimately, happy, healthy parents are what’s best for kids, and if you have to be apart be that way, so be it. Kids are resilient.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very right, Jay. And I would never want my kids to use my marriage as a model for a healthy relationship. I’d be disappointed in myself. So, you’re right, they’re resilient and will do better. Thank you! Xo

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  3. Yes,. divorce sucks. But what a mother’s supposed to do. Stay in a loveless marriage. Spend their life being abused or neglected? That is not an option. You only get one life and your are entitled to enjoy it. If more divorces were amicable perhaps it would lessen the pain on the children. INteresting post. Sorry, or your daughter’s feeling of sadness. Be well my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yup it really does suck. I totally agree. And I have those same thoughts many times when I get asked by N why we can’t all live in one house “like before” or when T starts crying profusely. It’s moments like these that I hate myself so much. And it’s moments like these that I say F*** it, I will just go back to my miserable life so my kids can be happy. But, and this is a huge but, every time I visualize it, it’s more like a nightmare. How can I be with someone who doesn’t respect me, doesn’t love me, and prefers men?!?!?!? So I literally shake my head a big no, and hope and pray that God will make it easier on the kids with time.
    So with time, your kids and mine will get to understand why. With time, they will know that it’s much better for them to have happier mommies and daddies than miserable ones….they will get there. Don’t worry. A biggggggggggg hug to you my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought of you much while writing this post. I don’t think culturally we were raised to think of ourselves. Motherhood was to be the most selfless of acts and only a “good” mother sacrifices all for her kids. So it’s a battle between living and going against what we have been taught.
      But you hit the nail on the head when you say visualizing the possibility is a nightmare.
      I sure hope our kids will get it one day and be better off. I know it’s better to have good energy coming from us than misery! Xo

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  5. Yes it does, but our kids will be okay. It is hard and Munch went through that for the first couple of years, but he’s actually better. I was willing to go back into a loveless marriage but I decided that my son needed to see me happy even if it was by myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My parents split up when I was 10. They should have done it when I was 5 instead…. to keep me out of seeing their increasingly loveless relationship. So, no, do not feel bad for a second. Children can not see what’s “best” for them, when they are at that age. But, ever since I was 15 or so, for the last 20 years, I have known that my parents should have split up at least 5 years before they actually did. (They wanted to stay together “for the children”).

    After my experiences as a child, i’ve never really understood the expression “stay together for the children”….ahem, nope. The children need happy parents, to be able to grow and evolve. In short: Do not feel guilty! Sure, it is a bit of a hassle for kids, going back and forth, but that is nothing compared to staying with two unhappy adults. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this, my friend. I know you are right and your experience reminds me of the things I witnessed as a child as well. My parents divorced when I was 17 and I think I repeated many of the unfortunate things I witnessed. I certainly don’t want my kids to be in the kind of relationship I was in with their father.
      Thanks for the really thoughtful comment. Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think about what your daughter learns from your current power. From your choice. When she is sad. When she feels hurt by this- she expresses it. She lets people know she doesn’t like it. If you had sucked it up. Played house. Made nice. You think she’d would never have realized the shell you were? The actual misery you were going through? You’re teaching her that her opinion matters. Right now, it isn’t something she can solve for. There’s no way to get her what she wants. But when she’s older, her momma has already shown her that this voice she is learning has power. She is able to walk away from a shit storm and say “no. I’m not staying for you to fuck around and be an asshole by playing husband while also getting your fiddle played by raggedy Ann” this isn’t about selfish. This is about empowerment. You chose to own your life. And she will grow up knowing her ability to also do it. Not selfish. Amazing. Amazing. Selfish is about things. Wanting stuff and acolades and awards. That would be playing it secret and keeping it all inside to have the picture perfect really fucked up home where mommy drinks and Xanax and Netflix and chill while daddy gets a sports car and a really young tennis coach. You did the unselfish. You held everyone accountable for their garbage. You. Your hubby. You’re teachin your kids a hard lesson. Sometimes the right thing… Sucks. I’m super sorry it sucks. But especially for your daughter, it was the right thing.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. You did the right thing. As a child of divorced parents it was so hard for me to see the two people I loved the most always fighting. It was scary. My life had a whole new set of problems when they divorced, but life was more peaceful. All that fighting takes its toll too. It’s good for her to see that if a woman is unhappy, she can leave if she needs to.
    It’s not easy being a kid anymore šŸ˜’. I’m sorry u have to go through that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Caroline. Funny how as well all talk here, we learn so much about each other. As a child of divorce, too, I get you. And you’re right. I just hate seeing her suffer. As I imagine, our parents felt.
      Thanks for the love ā¤ļøšŸ˜˜

      Like

  9. It’s heartbreaking, the fall out this causes on the children.
    Your poor daughter. And poor you. Such a tough thing to handle.
    My youngest is exactly the same about visits.
    Big hugs and thanks for sharing. I do love your posts DWM x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Athena, you know I love coincidences but this is one I wish didn’t happen for either of us.

    You may recall that my gf Mona is getting divorced. She was very unhappy and didn’t love him at all. They have a 7 and a 3 year old. They’re negotiating terms presently and are in family therapy so the kids know what’s going on.

    Justc today, the 7 year old told her that he was unhappy with the situation. Mona spent this evening just in my arms getting comfort from the turmoil that her life is, with her children acting out or flat out saying that they’re sad.

    I realize I’m the recipient of her being single again (though I’m not the cause) but yes, divorce sucks when there are kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sure kids are cluey. If you stayed just for them and there was no love between their parents, they’d pick up on it. Even if they didn’t know what it was at the time, they’ll figure it out as they get older. I think that would be pretty damaging, growing up and seeing/learning that as an example of marriage and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I deal with this same scenario every two weeks with my daughter who dreads the car ride home to two weeks in boringville. At least you can co-parent, that terminology is nothing more than a “politicians” word in my case.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with you. Divorce does suck, children or not. Mine was nearly 20 years ago (this summer), but it doesn’t ease the pain I went through then. I felt very hurt for a long time afterwards. More than that, I missed the companionship. The “trust” issue is the main thing. Could you get back with your ex-husband and still trust him? That is the important question. I know your children love and need their father as much as they do you. That is a hard solution. Your children want to see you both happy, together. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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