Earlier this year I joined the league of kids from broken homes. In as much as it was no desire of mine, life happens fast and I had to learn the hard way. They had been together for over twenty years and been having arguments regularly but I was not prepared for a separation at all. One moment you’re living fine in school and the next – that phone call that it is over.
One party decided she could not deal and decided to move out. It happened fast and sadly in the last part of final year which I had to deal with a heavy course load and project. My project topic got changed a week to final defense by the way and I had to start all over. Yet I survived and still am.
People get divorced all the time right? I will not be going into as much details as I would like to because all that has happened already and this post is rather a guide for other kids who might be going through something similar or just experienced it. This is basically the twenties’ guide to surviving parents separation.
Do not blame yourself for the divorce
So you’re thinking the cause of your parents’ falling apart is you? That is no way true. You have no reason to blame yourself. Divorce happens because two adults married to themselves have changed feelings. Adults at various points in their lives get caught up in situations beyond their control and it is honestly their business. The way they decide to resolve their issues however, have you and your siblings being affected. Sometimes, adults cannot handle their own shit and can be selfish. In the course of them making decisions for their own happiness, they may disregard yours. This is no fault of yours.
Dealing with emotions
This is perhaps the hardest part of a divorce. You will go through the emotions literally for the rest of your life. Initially, you will support one parent more than the other. After all, you might have emotional attachment to one parent but it is not healthy at all. I felt anger towards the both of them at first for being selfish and uncaring about myself and my siblings. I also kept thinking what could have happened that they couldn’t resolve. Prayed for so long for them to be at peace again. Well, a miracle didn’t come and all I knew was my siblings and I had to stick together and be there for one another.
Your feelings aside, the divorce is not easy for them either and you have to be considerate.
For months, I used to feel embarrassment at the fact that they were separated. I couldn’t even tell close friends! Some are probably just finding out in this post. For real, nobody should have to go through separation! It is so hard for everyone.
Get the separation out of your head – Go about your normal life!
The first days of one of your parents moving out might seem super long and you will spend several hours thinking about what could have been if only, But guess what? Moping about it will do you no good. You could spend hours wallowing in sadness and your parents still won’t get back together. Get on with your life. My parents’ separation happened about the same period I had to finish up project and still read for final exams. School was a pretty good distraction but I had to put in extra work to ensure I did not get depressed and still graduate. Pick a book and read. Focus on your work, listen to music or go out.
Most importantly, talk to someone you trust. I had a friend (Hi Seyitan!) who was constantly supporting during the period of the separation. Just one person I could confide in and find relief. It made everything so easy plus she would come visit me in school and remind me of how there is so much more to achieve and look forward to in the future. It was hard work staying sane then, it still is honestly but isolation will not help at all.
Get independent early.
If before your parents’ separation you were super dependent on your folks for everything, you possibly might have it the toughest. One thing I am grateful to my dad for is raising me to make decisions on my own early enough. I had started writing and doing photography in second year on my own intuition and they are a solid means of financing for me. The divorce could happen when you’re not financially stable as a young adult and it is up to you to adjust as fast as you can. Don’t make the mistake of thinking things would always be the same even though they’ve separated – the pocket money, the birthday celebrations and fancy living. Plans will change.
Prepare for Possible Remarriage
Eventually one of them is bound to remarry or start dating again. Be welcoming to the new partners and gradually foster good relationships without letting the bitterness of the separation in. I presently have a step-mum and we have an amazing relationship. She regards me as the younger sister she never had. There are no kids yet though. If the new partner has children already, you have to adjust to having more siblings. It can really be overwhelming and more.
More responsibilities will come up as well for your parents and they might be caught up in it. Keep an open communication and let them know at any point you think they are slacking in caring for you. Talking to my dad about my fears for the future and having him talk about it is so reassuring. You do not want to be the kid they play pass the responsibilities over. If you have to move to another place with the parent you’re staying with, adjusting again might be hard but overtime it would be just fine.
Resorting to Drug Use is Not the Next Option
Being overwhelmed by emotions and being unable to let them all out could have you looking for an outlet to release that. Drug use is not the way. It will only complicate what is already hard already and besides, you need to stay healthy.
I feel sometimes the hardest part of experiencing the divorce at this age I did is the fact that in 5-6 years, I will get married too and never want to go through the experience of divorce myself. No doubt, I will be an amazing mother to my children (if I decide to have any), but I worry.
Honestly, I feel somewhat bare and drained writing this post but at the same time, it feels good to lessen the burden. Do leave a comment below. It will be much appreciated.
For fellow twenties kids from separated homes, hey you are strong!