1. I’M EMOTIONALLY DEFORMED
“I come from a broken home. My mom died of cancer when I was four. Ever since, I’ve been broken. I’ve had years of therapy but there’s still something glaringly not normal about the way I relate to other people. Those normal connections that infants make, I didn’t make, so I’ve gone my whole life desperately trying to get the succoring I didn’t get as a tiny child. I’ve done the best I can to make the most of my life, but I’m emotionally deformed. While most of my peers have grown up and created adult lives for themselves, I’m still a four-year-old.”
2. I WANT A HAPPY FAMILY
“I want a big family when I get married.
I want to have the income where they never go hungry.
I want to live long enough to see them have grandkids.
I want to correct the mistakes my father made and I want to be there, unlike my mother.
I will hold my child close, and tell her I love him or her. Every day.
I will make them happy and never throw them out.
If they come to me with a problem, I will help them.
I want a happy family.”
3. LET’S NEVER DO THAT
“My parents divorced when I was 11….I went through all of the stages: anger, confusion and even one day falling asleep in my mom’s car on the way to pick up things at the old house, waking up and convincing myself that the divorce was a bad dream. It wasn’t. My parents weren’t getting back together….As the years pass, I’ve realized that going through my parents’ divorce has colored the way I approached my own marriage. It’s been hard to break out of the fear that this could all end horribly. I’ve been married for almost three years and constantly have to train myself to love my wife without fear….Just a couple of months ago, my wife and I were at a gas station and I saw parents doing a custody drop-off for their young son. The father hugged his young son, handed the mother the boy’s bags and got into his car. As the mother drove off, the father sat in the car for a while, staring at his steering wheel. I got back in my car, hugged my wife and said, ‘Please, let’s never do that.’”
4. ADULTS CAN’T BE TRUSTED
“I cried for what felt like a week. As a teenager, I decided that adults couldn’t be trusted to tell the whole story about anything, ever. I started wondering how much of the information I was getting at school, church, and elsewhere was also a pack of lies….If I had kids, I’m afraid that I might not improve all that much on my parents’ performance, and that scares me to the point of not wanting to experiment with other people’s lives. It just wouldn’t be moral.”
5. SCARS THAT NO ONE CAN SEE
“There was a lot of arguing, and I remember my dad punching a hole through the kitchen cupboard. Another memory is of my parents sitting down with me and my brother (who was two years older than me) and telling us that they wouldn’t be living together anymore because they couldn’t get along. And that our dad would be living in an apartment. I remember begging him to stay. Saying that me and my brother would go in our rooms and shut the door when they fought.…Now, I am married myself, for 10 years. And we have three children. Marriage has had its ups and downs but coming from a divorced family really puts the pressure on you to not repeat the past….But usually there’s those scars divorce leaves that no one can see.”
6. I HAVE NO ONE TO GO TO
“Well, my mom’s alcoholic; she drowns herself with vodka and buys me whatever I want to make up for it. My dad and brother are in jail for like a long time and my older sister is a teen mom and married to a overage guy and she’s having her second child…so my life is screwed up mostly and have no one to go to.”
7. LOVE CAN HEAL A FAMILY
“Many families have cracks. Some have small dents, chips, or polished scrapes. But broken families do exist. The pieces have been blown off and are so far from each other and so damaged that it would take a hell of a lot more than glue to fix. At one point, my family was nearly broken beyond repair. We were all cracked and chipped in our own ways. The difference between a piece of glass and a family—love can heal a family. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun, but we are now so far from broken at this point in our lives because of the love and time spent on one another. I simply wanted to say that…it is not impossible to heal a broken family.”
8. ALWAYS CHOOSING THE WRONG PERSON
“I started reading a book a week ago that analyzed the dating decisions of people. It basically stated that when we are born, we are ‘perfect’ in terms of being a blank slate for negative or positive experiences that shape us….Our primary caretakers/parents/guardians hurt us in some way (intentional or unintentional) that begin to shape us and is reflected in our relationships. If you have a broken, strained relationship with a parent, your subconscious will choose the wrong person in order to recreate and repair that relationship that you had with your parent. I never thought about it that way but recently realized that the common trait between my father and my exes is that they were never satisfied and I stayed in relationships longer than I should have. Why? Because I was subconsciously trying to prove myself worthy of the affection they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give me anyway….It sucks that I realized it so late, but I guess late is better than never. I guess.”
9. IT BECAME A BLESSING
“I suffered depression and started hurting myself. There was so much pressure from our family and friends to make the marriage work, and being an only child only made it worse….My parents’ divorce helped me realize that love cannot be forced, and that you can never settle if what you want is happiness. Love is not easy, but it should always be unconditional and truthful, respectful and gentle. Divorce was not the end of the world. In fact, it became a blessing in many ways.”
10. THERE IS HOPE
“Getting through my constant battle as a child…constant arguing between my parents, constant arguing WITH my parents and battling my own internal demons that arose from this environment, paved my way to the next phase of life. Those teenage years that every daunting parent wishes to bestow upon the past, hit me head-on. I was into drugs and alcohol at a young age that quickly ended as I began motherhood. At the age of 17, I had my beautiful bouncy baby boy….But now, I can look back on my life and see the hardships of financial ruin, desperation, abuse, emotional breakdowns and an absolute living nightmare….I sit here today, spilling some personal moments to let you know that there is hope. I have had great success, sometimes moments after picking myself off the ground. Yes, today, I am happily married to the most wonderful man on earth.”
11. I COULD NOT TRUST ANYONE
“My parents, uncles, and grandparents started sexually abusing me when I was two years old. This was necessary to break me. I was indoctrinated in to a way of life. I was brainwashed. But there was a problem. As I got older, they realized I was a talker. They had not successfully broken me. I was telling people….Although my abuse and trafficking stopped at adulthood, the effects did not. I was severely traumatized, and it manifested as intense anxiety. I was constantly suffering from panic attacks….My self-esteem was so low that intimate relationships and friendships were difficult. I was the subject of bullying on a regular basis. I could not trust anyone. I usually dated men with substance-abuse problems. I was married twice for very short periods of time.”
12. AVOIDING RELATIONSHIPS
“I overcame the initial grief and adjusted to my new lifestyle of ‘mommy and me, and daddy on the weekends.’ I took part in a few recovery phases like latching onto my mom and embedding myself in music, dance, and books—anything that provided me a recess from reality. Eventually I hit the ground running, socially. Nothing makes for a better cliché after-school special than a know-it-all only child from a broken home speeding around town with her posse, filled with enough animosity to, well, make stupid decisions. Like, say, a tattoo or drunk driving. And there were plenty of dark moments locked in my room, sad as hell, for no reason in particular….What I didn’t see coming was the relationships aspect. Far past the time of my divorced parents’ woes, years of casual dating and hook-ups, I found myself at the end of three relationships. I’m not talking about a few months of courting, but years invested in serious commitments with guys that were now reduced to creased photos and lingering cologne faster than awkward one-liners were spat out the night we met. The scary part is, in hindsight, I knew they wouldn’t last. I didn’t want them to last. (Perhaps I knew that from the start.) So what was I doing? Avoiding relationships, that’s what.”
13. I MISSED OUT ON IT ALL
“I have been going through emotional problems lately. I have been crying a lot and thinking about my mom and dad’s divorce and how I want them together. I don’t understand why now, after all these years, it is bothering me. It has never bothered me till this past school year and nothing has happened in school either. I keep thinking about how I will never know how it was to live with both my parents. On Christmas, I kept thinking about how I really only had one true Christmas with both of them together and I don’t even remember it. People always say the younger the child is when parents get a divorce, the easier it is on a child, but for some reason, that’s not true for me because I missed out on it all!…I can’t keep it to myself and can’t stop crying. I don’t know what to do anymore. I just don’t know why it is bothering me twelve years after they got a divorce and how I can get it to go away.”
14. WE ARE ALL BROKEN
“I don’t really have much of a recollection of my childhood except for heartache and sadness….I grew up self-conscious, insecure, oversensitive, and extremely emotional. I didn’t really feel love at home but I craved it any way I could get it. It’s only natural. I wasn’t what you would call promiscuous, but I found myself in some horrible situations where I had been taken advantage of, sexually as well as mentally….My husband Jason went through similar tribulations growing up since his parents divorced when he was in the second grade. Because of that he has always been just as determined as I am to have a sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn marriage that won’t end with the dreaded ‘D’….Throughout the entire course of our relationship we have been beaten and battered emotionally in more ways that I could have ever imagined. We have had job losses, lost loved ones, suffered a miscarriage, faced health issues, devastating medical diagnoses, financial struggles–we even lost our first home that we lived in for seven years….The truth is that we are all broken. We all have some kind of issue to work through. But if your perspective is open, hopeful, and positive, and your life partner is on the same page, then you have a great shot at success no matter what your family background.”