First and foremost, sorry I’ve been so quiet. Y’all have been so patiently checking in, and I’ve been bizzzz-eeee with work and kid and summer and, ya know, stuff. If I were here strictly for your entertainment value or for building my blog, I’d have guilt. But, since I’m not, then I don’t. 😀 You’ll have to trust me that, in my world, that’s a very good thing for me to be able to say! Still, I do appreciate you peeking into my corner of the net-o-sphere for whatever reason you may, be it entertainment, searching for someone in a similar situation as your own, or just fricking boredom. I’m not picky (ya know, ’bout that!).
I’m feeling very less than zen today. The weather is kinda stinky, the kid is bored and watching too much tv while I attempt to manage all the grown up crap that I need to do and wasn’t going to do today so that I could spend some time playing with him (that worked SO well, obviously), and I’ve listened to one parent bitch and vent and rant and rave about the other for, well, the better part of my life, but also the better part of the morning. To say that is an energy-sapping experience is an understatement.
I made a pledge to myself very, very long ago that I would do my absolutely very best to never do that with my own kid. In my childhood, there were several mitigating factors that I can’t and don’t ignore; after all, alcoholism in a family puts all the other family members in one boat, and when “all the other” equals exactly two… leaning on each other and talking things out with the only other person who is going through many of the exact moments you’re going through (even if they are only 7 years old) is a fairly natural response. One of the reasons that I was unequivocal about not getting romantically involved with an alcoholic. Even with that aside, yes, there have been times that I have wanted to scream my guts out about my husband (and oh so vice versa, for which I’m truly, deeply apologetic, dear) but have held it in because there was simply no way that I was going to subject my kid to that kind of abuse.
Yes, I said abuse.
I can’t say it clearly enough that, much more often than not, a child defines themselves by what they see around them. If they see fighting, they will feel either aggressive or beaten (or both). If they see love, they will feel love. If they see indifference, they will apathy. If they see parents who work together at maintaining a partnership through the good times and the bad times, they will feel that life is possible to manage.
In the midst of my less-than-zenness today, I logged into WordPress to find the following search terms in my visit history:
should I stay with my husband
should I stay in my relationship
should I stay or should I go divorce
should I stay if I am not in love
should you stay in your marriage for y [ed: “your kids” I assume]
Folks, I wish I had the answers for you. Though odds are good that you won’t find them on Google, if you have kids, the best I can offer you is the other search term I found in my history, from what I can only assume is a child between the ages of, say, 8 and 18:
should I stay out of it if my parents ar… [truncated]
argue? are getting divorced? are hitting each other? are threatening each other? are fighting over custody of me? ar…. ?
The answers the adults are seeking are found in marriage and family counseling, individual therapy, and within yourselves (the first two are keys to helping you find the last one). The child should never have had to ask the question.
Pay attention, parents. You’re supposed to be the grown-ups, whether your kids are 5 or 35. You’re the protectors and the teachers and the friends and the refuge. What the hell are you doing? You brought that child into the world, into your family, into your home, into BEING. Do you truly not realize how much you are now hurting them? OPEN YOUR EYES.
To the child who found me through that search and to the others who will find this entry because of their search in the future: I don’t know your parents; not all parents are good parents, and I can’t advise you because I don’t know if your parents are hostile or aggressive or abusive. Like you, I don’t know if your getting involved would wake them up or make it worse. I will say that when I tried to get involved when I was a kid, it didn’t help things for me or my parents. Though their arguing all the time hurt me deeply, I didn’t cause their argument, so I certainly couldn’t end it either – neither did you, so neither can you. I can virtually guarantee you that their arguing is not your fault. I know it is very hard to see and hear though, and if it happens at a time or place that you can get yourself out of there to somewhere else that you are safe, then you should definitely go: grandparents’, library, school, friend’s house, maybe even just in your room or your yard.
As for getting involved: Adults get angry, and when they are angry, they can say and do things that they don’t mean and would never do otherwise so it’s usually best to steer clear of that, especially at the exact moment it is happening. If you think your parents are reasonable people, you can try to sit down with them at a time when they are NOT angry and let them know that you are feeling scared by their behavior. You can also ask someone else that you trust to help you do this too if you need to – maybe the guidance counselor at school, a teacher, a doctor, an aunt or uncle, a minister or pastor at church – an adult that you trust. You have a right to let your parents know what you are feeling about what is happening in your family, but that is very best done when they are already calm and not while they are arguing or have just had an argument. If your parents are hostile, aggressive, or abusive people, or if you just don’t feel like you can talk to them about it no matter what, I beg you to talk to SOMEONE about your feelings – again, an adult that you trust. You are not alone in the world, and there are people out there who want you to be safe. If your parents are abusive to you – physically, verbally, mentally, or emotionally – please, tell someone – a teacher, a coach, the police, a doctor, someone you can trust. You deserve safety, and your parents need someone else to help them.
Take care, and I wish you all the best that the world can offer. Please, be safe, and remember that there will always be more to life than right now.