Honestly, I thought divorce would be easy and it was relatively easy for me. I received good advice from friends who divorced, I read a few books and it helped me in the process. I think the toughest thing of all was unwinding the finances and although I am divorced a few months now, I know the process is still ongoing.
As luck would have it, I have a friend of a friend (Ginny) who I have talked to here and there and we are going through the process about the same time. Our circumstances are a bit different but we both have a “The Child In The Middle”.
Ginny is a stay at home mom to her 16 year old daughter. From the feedback I received from her, she was not very happy with her husband. He started a new career a few years ago with a Tech firm, they offered him technical training. He comes home from work, he works on his studies but Ginny is not happy with the time it is taking him to get his certification. You see, they struggle with the salary he is making. When he gets his certification, Ginny believes he will make more money. As it is, she had to borrow money from her parents because they are struggling. In our discussion, I pointed out that maybe she should get a job to help support the household. She seemed interested in the idea but she’s been out of the job market for 16 years!
From what I have gathered from Ginny, he is not a very attentive father. He buys his child things but is not there as a father should. I, of course can only tell you Ginny’s side of the story so I’m not sure exactly what are the unmet needs of the child. I can tell you that the child is very disrespectful of the father and I suspect that Ginny complains to her child often about her father. Ginny expresses her frustration to me but it is mostly about their financial situation. I find out later that Ginny’s husband had a serious health issue a few years ago and right before she inquired about divorce, he had a re-occurrence of that health issue. She didn’t seem to have any sympathy.
Apparently the child sees a therapist. Knowing what I know, I had told Ginny to never talk badly of her husband in front of the child! In fact, during the process of divorce, part of the divorce process is going to co-parenting classes. This is a class concerning co-parenting when you have children involved in a divorce. I’m pretty certain that Ginny mentioned going to the classes as well. It’s pretty much about NOT placing your child in the middle and not pitting one parent against the other.
Right before Ginny filed for divorce (backtracking a bit), she told me that she couldn’t take it anymore and that her child was suffering because of her husband. When I asked what he had done, she was light with the details. It was nothing different from what she previously told me about their financial situation. I suspected that Ginny was being very dramatic and placing her child in the center of the drama. She claimed the therapist AND lawyer both said the husband needs to get out of the house.
Ginny’s husband moved out. Not soon after, Ginny filed for divorce and it was a relatively quick process. Ginny reached out to me from time to time in regards to the process. Actually, she only contacted me when she needed something. Things got quiet so I hoped she found her peace.
But one night, I received a message from her. Just small talk at first but then it turned into drama. Apparently her husband is dating someone! and and and he was bragging on social media about it. And the child is crushed! and Ginny goes on to call him a deadbeat Dad. I asked how a child without that social media account would find out about such postings? Ginny told me that her and her friend looked at his account and the child was standing behind them. I had to re-iterate my point that one parent should not be pitting themselves against the other in front of a child. Neither should a friend.
Maybe there is more to the story that I am not aware of but it sounds to me that this child is being put through a great deal of drama. My focus is on the child, it’s a very sad situation and this type of behavior is the wrong message to be sending out to the child. I write this in hopes that someone reads this and realizes they are doing a disservice to their child.
Even if it’s not conscious, I guess the tempatation is to hurt the other person, and the kid is the weapon.
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or consciously/subconsciously trying to make themselves look better at the expense of the other parent.
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Ugly cake whichever way you cut it.
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