I’m struggling with how to start this post because this is such a sensitive topic for me and for others, I know. Living in a home where your parents don’t get along or just in a single parent household, can be tough. This post is going to be a little different than my previous post. I’m not too focused on who reads and “shares” but rather give you a glimpse into my personal life. I’ll start this off with a little background into my history in a broken home and then share how I (and anyone) can deal with it.
BUT FIRST. I want to start off with a disclaimer. This is a long post. Probably one of my longest and I’m going to be sharing a lot of my personal life in this post. I suggest grabbing a snack and getting comfortable, it’s going to be a long one, my friends.
I was able to live with both of my parents for the first 13 years of my life. Even though we all lived in the same house, my house was always broken. My parents weren’t married, they slept in separate bedrooms, and the arguments were more frequent than not. We weren’t normal and I somewhat knew that but it took me a while to realize how NOT NORMAL we really were. I won’t say that I had a bad life or a bad childhood because that’s not the case at all. I’m so incredibly blessed with the life I live but I do feel like I had to learn to grow up fast and be mature early on.
I remember times where I would play a “counselor” for my parents to make them sit down and understand exactly what they were arguing about. As an only child, it was hard not to be involved or not to listen because I was the only one there. I had to hear it, see it, sometimes be the cause of it. Because of this (and a lot of other pre-teen/teen issues), I became depressed, had suicidal thoughts, felt like I was alone, not normal, and the cause of so many issues. It was difficult to be upset about my home life and not have anyone to talk to about it because it wasn’t “normal.” A lot of my friends in grade school didn’t have the same home situation that I did. Yes, they had their parents at home but, of course, in a different way than I did.
The feeling of being alone in your home and in your mind is a dangerous combination. Needless to say, my parents decided to put ME into counseling. I believe counseling could have been beneficial to me (anyone, really) IF I would have had the right person listening to me. There is a difference between going to a counselor and having questions asked to you about a specific scenario, person, or thing and going to someone who just wants to listen and help you figure out your thoughts. I had the first rather than the latter. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with either type but you have to know what you need. I went to this counselor for a few weeks but I personally wasn’t getting what I needed so I eventually stopped.
When my dad ended up leaving our house, there was a lot of controversy about why he left and other things I won’t get into. It was hard for my mom and it took her a while to really come to terms with it. This led to a relationship strain for my dad and I that would eventually lead to no communication at all. I can say that being at odds with one of your parents that you once had a good relationship with can be so difficult. It’s hard when the bible says “honor your father and mother” but you’re so angry with one parent that you completely disregard the word. What do you do?
Things eventually got better. Relationships were mended, I matured, and lost love was restored but how did I deal with all of that? How did I get to the place I’m in now?
If I could give advice to any child living in a broken home, it would be something like this:
Confide in friends and/or write down your thoughts
Don’t let your anger and frustration build up to the point that you can’t see straight. Don’t get so caught up that you end up taking out your frustrations on people you love (even people you don’t know). Find someone who can (semi, if not all the way) understand what you’re going through and talk to them. If you don’t have a friend in a similar position as you, write it down! A journal can be so beneficial if you take the time to organize your thoughts and write them out. It’s a good way to remember what you felt and reflect on it later.
Now, I’m grateful that I’m at a place where I have friends that aren’t in the same situation as me but are mature enough to listen and try to understand to the best of their ability. Sometimes we encounter friendships that seem right at the time but when tough crap comes up we feel like we can’t go to them because they won’t really understand or help in any way. They might not be the friend for you, boo, but there is someone out there who will understand. Trust me.
Try not to get too involved with your parent’s business
One thing I do regret is getting too involved. There are just some things that kids shouldn’t hear, see, or have to burden themselves with.
** Parents: don’t let you kids hear and know all the bad things! Don’t make them choose sides! Don’t make the other parent look worse than you! That is not healthy for your child’s mental stability and causes such conflict that could be avoided.
It was probably inevitable that I was all in my parents business (I’m just a nosy person) but I wish I didn’t know some of the things I know about my parents and what they have or haven’t done. Everyone deserves a level of privacy and just as my parents don’t/won’t know everything about my life, I can say right here and now that I shouldn’t know everything about theirs (I can already see my mom giving me a smirk while reading this post).
Pray, Pray, Pray.
You all know how strongly I feel about God and leaning on him to get through the hard times. This is no different. I had to do a lot of soul-searching and praying to get my mind right. I didn’t want a relationship with my father and I was okay with that at the time and rationalized it in the best way I could. Deep down I knew this wasn’t right and I knew I had to fix it, eventually. Praying can relieve so much of the weight off of you if you wholeheartedly give it all to God. Cast your burdens on to Him and know that with God, you can forgive, move on, and get through it all. Don’t let the sadness and difficulties deter you.
Figure out what’s right for YOU!
This is a big one because at one point I had a judge telling me what to do, where to stay, and how long to stay there. I didn’t like this at all because I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I was stuck between my parents and didn’t want to upset one or the other. A part of me was trying to make them happy and I wasn’t thinking about myself. It was important for me to figure out what I wanted and then express that to my parents so at least we ALL weren’t unhappy.
Understand that this does not have to change your life for the worse. Stay positive!
One question I asked myself a lot was “Now what?” So now my family is broken up and things are different. What do we do?
Things change all the time. Literally. Just because I no longer have my mom and dad in the same house didn’t mean that I had to change as a person. My life changed, yes, but did I have to change too? Sometimes we have to see the positive in things. Don’t be afraid to just embrace it, if you can. It’s hard for me to put this in words because so many people’s experiences are different but it’ll be okay. It WAS okay. Stay positive and move forward. If not just for yourself, for your family.
As I head into my 22nd year of life, I’m okay with the experiences I’ve encountered and the women I’m becoming. My past has shaped my future and will continue to do so. I love my family and as unconventional as it was, it was MINE and I got through it. I think that’s all I have to say.
Until Next Time –