So there's this forum show on SBS, and today they filled the stand with 'under 20's' and asked them how messed up they are due to the their parents being separated/divorced.
Turns out the answer is:
Quite a lot thanks. P.S. I hate my parents.
There are a few major classifications:
1. Dad left when I was too little to remember, haven't really seen him since.
2. Dad left when I was [insert age] and since then its been shit to moderately shit and they communicate through me.
3. Dad left when I was [insert age] and it was fine then 10 years later I found out he was a cunt.
Some of my favorite situations:
'Everything was completely normal and fine, then one morning Dad just drove out of the driveway and Mum's new boyfriend drove in. BAM.
Didn't hear from dad for 6 years.'
'Dad's British and has always missed his family back home, One day he decided to go back to England so he sat us down and said goodbye (in a restaurant...) didn't see him for eight years. Turns out he lives in QLD and never even went back to England.'
'I change houses every Friday, week by week. I thought this didn't really affect me until I went on exchange in high school - my host family asked why I didnt unpack my whole bag and I realised I hadn't upacked my bag properly for eight years.'
'Well I used to see Dad a fair bit, but not since Mum left her partner for this Bikie guy and we moved to Melbourne.'
The extremely irritating and condescending host:
Sorry, your Mum's partner...so how many step-father-figures have you had since your Dad?'
'To be honest, I cant really remember - sorry Mum, if you're watching, but yeah, there've been men through the house constantly, sometimes only for a couple of nights and like, we'll go out for coffee together or whatever,but yeah, I cant really remember their names or anything...'
(Cheers for not being a slut mum.)
'...so how...what was that like?'
'Well I don't really talk to anyone, cause my Mum's always looking for a new partner, and I don't see my Dad anymore and my sister is older and always out, so I just stay out a lot...which is a bit dangerous because we live in a rival gang area.'
'...uh...so who do you trust?"
'I trust myself.'
Two common threads:
'Being the messenger is shit, sometimes you get things wrong, or you forget and then your parents get angry at each other and its your fault...'
'You have to concentrate all the time to make sure you stick to the appropriate parent script - different things for Mum and Dad, and you have to be careful, because if you did something fun with your Dad then you can't come home and be like - oh we had so much fun - because you don't want your Mum to feel bad'
'That sounds like a lot to carry...that seems like a very strange thing to do.'
'Fuck off you condescending whore.'
'Well it makes you grow up pretty quickly. You become good at observing things, you become good at lying, you become good at manipulating your parents into a peaceful situation. You have to be careful 110% of the time and you can't trust anything your parents say because you have to make judgments by combining two sides of a story all the time.'
Kids (every single one):
Host (who's got nothing):
We did these things too and it strikes me now as incredibly dumb, the lengths we went to to protect our parents in each others eyes.
'How much should they tell you? Well you want to know as much as you can about it, you know, but you don't want to know if like, if your Dad's abusing your Mum. But you want to know as much as you can...'
Host (who's got nothing again):
'...Okay, moving on.'
Something interesting one guy said and a few kids agreed with:
'Yeah, well, you have to say that it was the best thing to do, for them to separate, because that's what they want to hear - they want to think that they're doing the best thing for their kids so they can do what they want to do. So yeah, you tell them and they tell themselves that its better for them to separate than to stay together.'
A girl responded to this with the obviously more common situation in the room:
'Yeah but our house was always full of violence and screaming and stuff, and I'm glad they got divorced. BUT, when I was younger, I always wished we'd be one happy family.'
I distinctly remember wishing (on stars) that Mum and Dad would get back together when I was 7-10 yrs old.
An outspoken girl who is exactly like me seven years ago had this to say:
'But like, you were MARRIED, you shared a bed, a house, kids and your lives and now you can't even have a conversation?! You were in love and got married and now you can't even speak to them or see them in a car across the street? What is wrong with you!? Grow up!'
Now I understand the answers to those questions and I'm sure she will too in a couple of years.
I'm not sure there was a point to this re-hash, other than - young people say 'like' A LOT.
I was just surprised at how damaged the host thought these kids were, when they sound exactly like me and every other child of divorce I know.