Divorce · Family · Life

When your family doesn’t support your divorce

I was the one who partially initiated the divorce. You can’t really say whose fault it was, because it was both our fault. Little by little, we stopped seeing each other, stopped trying, or gave up. But I told him I was done, and he suddenly wanted to try. But I was tired after years of trying and not getting anywhere or anything in return. So when I made up my mind, it was final.

Image from © Lime Lane Photography
Image from © Lime Lane Photography

I had always had a tenuous relationship with my parents. My childhood was a mixture of happy memories and very, very, bad ones. For a long time, I was bitter about it, but as I became an adult, I started to see my parents as people. Only human, and they did they best they could, considering they came from backgrounds of normalized violence and abuse. They were substantially better, and I wanted a relationship, so I embraced the messy.

When they found out about the divorce, they were in turns confused and then angry. I had never indicated that there was any problems in my relationship, and I had never said plainly that I was unfulfilled and unhappy. I had been taught as a child to keep unpleasant secrets, and this is what I did even as a thirty year old woman. When my husband went to them crying and telling only a highlight version of my most unflattering hits, they turned their backs on me. I know I am not perfect. But I also know, neither was he. He was just more open and when I tried to do so, it was too late. I had kept secrets for too long, and too many. He had gotten there first. Most people’s families stay on their child’s side no matter what. This is not my family. They were from a strict Catholic background, they liked my husband and liked me less. So, I was left to face this divorce without the support of my family. It has been over a year. And while a few of my family members talk to me occasionally, most do not. My mother has completely cut contact and said she wished I was dead. The rest of my family, follows her guidance, so I have been virtually eliminated.  I miss them. Even if they are messed up, they were the only family I knew.

It has been more difficult losing my family than losing my marriage. My youngest sister is disabled and taken care of by my parents, so I can not see her anymore, and we were always very close. It is isolating and strange to suddenly be a person without a place to call home, or a place to return to when everything falls apart. But what this has taught me, even though I wish it hadn’t, is that I am stronger than I think. There are people out there that aren’t related by blood that are good and care and willing to reach out. I will always hold out hope that one day my family will come back to me, and even though I am hurt beyond description, I hope one day we can start to repair our relationships.

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5 thoughts on “When your family doesn’t support your divorce

  1. I can completely relate to this post, however I took the other approach and broke all contact from them. The bad memories were too much and I don’t want to have the people in my life that were full of negativity. It just reminds me of everything I don’t want to be.

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    1. I hope that this brings you peace. Some of my friends have done this, and it has made them feel more peaceful in their everyday life. I do notice that without a relationship with my mother, that I feel less drained, but it is still difficult for me.

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  2. The first half of this post about your ex and keeping secrets sounds just like with me and my ex. I never told anyone how bad things really were, how unhappy I was, that I was thinking about divorce nothing at all. We went and told my mom and she flipped and of course it was all my fault even though she knew nothing that happen or was going on. To her it was just a phase at 31 years old. She just knew we were going to get back together. We stopped talking for a while because she still invited my ex to every holiday birthday, party or whatever they decided to do. He put on the poor me act with everyone even at church most everyone stopped talking to me. I destroyed my family and wouldn’t give him a chance. What he didn’t tell people was I begged him to work on things between us for two years or more. He wouldn’t. My dad passed this year he wasn’t as bad he didn’t like it but he was still always there for me and my kids. My mom likes to play as if she cares to make herself look good but only if she can make it work to her benefit and she can control everything and everyone. I am working on cutting all ties with her as soon as I can. We have never had a healthy relationship and even now almost 5 years later she acts like he is Mr. Wonderful and I’m stupid can’t do anything. I have 4 kids no job right now living off of a loan and small ssi check. She is all the time calling me asking if I can lend him money for this or that or making excuses for why I shouldn’t expect him to pay child support. He pays me nothing buys nothing for his kids or anything else but I should lend him money.

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    1. That is so much like my mom it is scary. I had such immense guilt put on me I personalized it. I knew that there was no way to fix it, especially when he refused. But my parents would invite him for parties and get him birthday gifts and it really hurt. It has been a year since I have talked to my mom, and she still tells lies and makes my divorce about her. I have basically cut my ties completely, but my son still goes over there occasionally although I limit that as well. My parents were never really supportive so I don’t know why I expect different, but I always do. 🙂

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