A real life account demonstrating how the children of divorce are often the real victims.

by Mary C.

children of divorce
Children of divorce are the real victims.  Just remember their happiness and well-being is more important than anyone or anything.

My daughter and I were sitting on my bed talking. My divorce to her father had become final a few days prior. As we were talking, she looked down and noticed a ladybug on her hand. I told her that some people believe ladybugs are good luck.

We went back to what we were doing and forgot about the ladybug for a while. Later, I heard my daughter excitedly calling to me. She came running and told me the attic was full of ladybugs.

There was a storage area in the attic through a door behind my closet. She liked to go in there to play at times. I went with her and sure enough, there were hundreds of ladybugs. I had never witnessed anything like it. It was incredible. I later went out to check the mail and I was amazed to see our mailbox covered with ladybugs. We decreed it was a sign that we were going to be just fine.

My third and last husband was a verbal and mental abuser. I had already endured two very abusive marriages. However, in this case, I wasn’t worried about myself. I knew a divorce would be hard on my two children, but I never imagined how much it would devastate them.  

They rarely witnessed us fighting, so the divorce caught them totally off guard. Oh, they had seen their father become enraged plenty of times. They had heard him scream and call me names. However, most of the time I just kept my mouth shut so it was a one-sided fight. When he was finished ranting, it would be peaceful again. Consequently, when their dad and I abruptly separated, it traumatized them. At the time we separated, my son was 13 and my daughter 10.

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During the 16-year marriage, I wasn’t the only one that felt my spouse’s wrath. Unfortunately, my son was included. For some reason, my daughter didn’t have to endure direct exposure to his anger; however, seeing her brother and me going through it was very difficult for her. My son told me numerous times during the marriage that he wished I would divorce daddy. It broke my heart.

Children of divorce are often faced with tough decisions

My ex made some crucial mistakes while we were going through the divorce. He continuously asked the children to choose between us. He told them outrageous lies about me. Unfortunately, my son believed the lies.

All his life he had just wanted approval from his dad and now his dad was treating him like a buddy. My son forgot all about the damaging words his dad had said to him over the years. He was suddenly unable to remember asking me to divorce his dad.

It hurt, but I understood it was due to his need for his dad’s acceptance. He would believe anything his dad told him at that time. On the other hand, my daughter stuck with me. I don’t know if she believed the lies. If she did, she didn’t seem to care.

When we went to court, the judge more or less repeated what my ex had done. He spoke to them alone and questioned them about who they preferred to live with. Again, someone was asking them to choose between mommy and daddy, this time a stranger.

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My daughter chose me and my son chose his dad. The judge abided by their wishes. He split the domiciliary custody between us and they spent every weekend together. I knew my son would change his mind eventually. I had faith in my ex to make sure of it.

Fortunately, my ex acted so belligerent in court that he angered the judge. He awarded me everything else other than domiciliary custody of my son. I could finally get matters in order and begin to rebuild my life. I was ready. Due to the expense of the divorce, I had to file for bankruptcy, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be past it all and start my life over.

In the last part of November, my daughter and I bought a tree with tons of Christmas decorations. We spent all day trimming the tree and decorating the house. It was stunning and we were so proud of it. I was happy that day and I saw smiles on her face as well. She needed to start the healing process more than I did. At that time, my son was still with his dad.

The living situation was short lived. As I predicted, it wasn’t long before his dad started revealing his ugly side again. My son’s memory returned about his dad’s behavior in the past. He returned to us shortly after Christmas. I kept them busy and got them involved in activities they enjoyed. I healed quickly, which I believe aided the children in their healing process.

Going back and forth for visitation was challenging for them; however, I imagine observing me continue with life helped them through their struggle. I am certain that if I had been sad, depressed, and crying constantly, it would have detained their adjustment to our new life. I told them we were on a grand adventure.

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If you ever find yourself in this situation, please don’t ask your children to choose which parent they prefer. My children are now grown and they remember being asked to choose more than anything else. It was traumatic for them.

Heal yourself or at least ensure the children observe you attempting to resume your life as soon as possible. Your children will have an easier time when they see that you are okay. Just remember their happiness and well-being is more important than anyone or anything. By setting the example for them, you will find yourself healing as well.


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    19 replies to "The Children are the Victims When the Marriage Has to End"

    • Battleborn

      Mary C. Thank you for the article. It was a great reminder of the temporarily forgotten victims. It is said that children are resilient and while that may be true, they also don’t forget. While you are correct that you should not force the children who they wish to live with, it cannot be helped sometimes. The courts nowadays seem to ask the children what their wishes are regardless of the parents wishes.

      My children had no choice as their father went overseas but if asked I am sure my son would have done the same as yours. It was traumatic for everyone concerned when I had to bear the brunt of his anger when he couldn’t go with his father. Today, my son is on his own and not doing very well, he can’t find a job and doesn’t have the means have a stable life although his stepfather and I try to help him as much as possible. If you ask me, he is an angry man now as he was an angry child. Therapy did help, but he makes his own choices now.

      I would say to those who face the choice of divorce with children they also attend a therapy session or two to help them try to understand what they will be feeling and that it is okay to be hurt and angry. Unfortunately no one in a divorce goes unscathed and the children seem to bear the brunt of it.

    • MaryC

      Battleborn, Thank you for your response. I couldn’t agree more. I highly recommend therapy. I know some people are embarassed or ashamed of getting help. If it aids you and your children in moving on to a happy like, it is certainly nothing to be ashaned of and who cares what others think. Both of my children did go through some troubled times for a few years. They are now in their 20s and doing great. However, I notice it is still a little difficult for them to talk about the divorce. I know it helped when their dad and I were finally able to be in the same room together. He and I get along great now, but it took a long time for that to happen.

    • rachel

      Well, after 1 year that H announced that he wants to fall in love with someone else and he dosen’t want me or our marriage. H has finally moved out. He did this on Saturday while I was at work. A few months ago I asked him when he does move out can you please make sure that the kids are not here, I just think it will be easier. Well, he moved out Saturday while our youngest watched??? I just can’t comprehend how he could do this? He said that the kids are fine. How would he know he’s so wrapped up in his own life he doesn’t even see them.
      He didn’t move into his home on the beach he moved in with his sister and her husband. I think the fact that I wouldnt sign the home equity loan changed his plans.
      How do you choose a life of uncertainty and not seeing your kids from day to day? I personally would work until i couldn’t work any longer to avoid this. Something of which he refused to do. Probably because I wanted him to.
      I didn’t want to tell our older son until he came home from college tomorrow night, but I really had no choice. He called Sunday to catch up and he said that he’s dreading winter break because he has to come home with “HIM” living here. I informed him that he is gone. He was relieved. He was happy that he left during the holiday’s that way the three of us can make our own memories.
      My son also thanked me for instilling morals and values in him and his brother. Such kind words from an awesome kid. This is what keeps me going.

      • Doug

        Rachel, it does indeed sound as though you have some great kids. It’s also great that you draw upon each other to find strength and sanity. Do you remember that post that I did recently about “assholes?” Well, your soon to be ex-husband appears to define it perfectly.

        • Rachel

          Yup, he’s an asshole!

    • Natalia

      Rachel, you have an awesome son. Which shows you’ve done a great job raising him. Your youngest is lucky to have him as a brother. Maybe he can talk to him to make the transition a bit easier. Btw, I’m happy for you that he’s finally out of your house. I wish you a great thanksgiving holiday.

    • Surviving

      I was just wondering how you are doing and read this post. Your older son sounds wise it will be a time to make some good memories.
      It’s still shocking that your husband went through with his plans to move out, who knows what the future will bring fir him.
      For you I hope you are able to find the peace that you deserve.
      Keep posting

    • Battleborn

      “Well, he moved out Saturday while our youngest watched??? I just can’t comprehend how he could do this? ”
      He did it because he is still in the selfish mode. He doesn’t understand that his actions speak much louder than his words. It will come back to haunt him regardless of whether you two work it out or not. He has made a really bad decision assuming your children are fine.
      In a way, your oldest son will be able to be a fine role model for his younger brother. Too bad he has to take on that role as his father doesn’t seem to care.
      My best to you for the Thanksgiving holiday. Make sure you keep yourself busy so the ugly thoughts don’t creep back in.

    • Rachel

      I got a disturbing textnmessagenfrom a friend of ours last night.
      It reads: bob texted me that he moved out. What time should I be over? : ) ”
      why would he text people that he moved out? When I say friend I mean our kids were friends with his kids. We never hung out. My h constantly hounded me that this guy wanted me. I always said I’m not like that I’m married. And this guy is married too. This didn’t matter to my h it was one of his sick fantasy’s .
      Hasn’t he hurt me enough? He is still inflicting pain on me even when he’s not here.

      • tryingtoowife

        Rachel, from now on you are having the chance to start again, afresh with your boys. Ignore your husband’s action and live a good life for yourself and your boys only! As for this sick man that sent you a text, why not text back either asking him to “F off” and forget you, or tell the guy: Let me first speak to your wife to invite her too and let her know of your text. I will reply to you later! I believe that the best option is ignoring both, and lead a happy life, but I myself would not be happy if I did not send a sting on the way off this insensitive creeper your soon to be ex is sending on your way. Wishing you happiness in this new phase in your life. All the best

    • Surviving

      I would send a message back cc the wife your that this text must have been sent in error to me.
      That will let everyone know your no doormat and not to play these games.

      • Carol

        Heh! I love it. Great advice, Surviving.
        Rachel, I teared up when I read about what your son said to you. You should be very proud of him; he sounds like a fine young man — grateful to his mum and level-headed.
        I’m so relieved for you that your soon-to-be-ex has now moved out. You can breathe deeply and start over. Virtual hug!

    • Surviving

      Or forget the wife but send back to both of them this text must have been sent to me in error yes he moved out and he is available to see you now…..

    • Battleborn

      Or how about ignoring him. It might be a trap… as evil as your H is he could be using your friend to see how you would react to a come on. Step lightly my friend and keep your guard up.

    • Rachel

      Thank you all. Yes , I believe this was a trap. He wants me to react. I’m not. He’s evil, a game player. He’s angry with me because I wouldn’t sign the loan papers.
      December 27 or 28 th I head back to court. This time its about I will have use of the home and he has to continue paying the bills. I asked my attorney, what if he refuses? He said, too bad he can’t! This is when the locks will be changed, and the alam code will be changed as well. This will be a late Christmas gift to me. Well worth the wait!
      Happy thanksgiviing, all.
      I will be spending it with my parents and my wonderful boys.

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