Mom and Dad,
I sit here not fully knowing what I want to tell you. Throughout my therapist appointments, I have been able to see that many (if not all) of my current psychological and emotional problems were caused by your divorce.
You divorced when I was four. I’m sure you were worried about me and my brother. I’m also sure that people consoled you, saying, “Don’t worry, they won’t remember this” and “they’re just kids; they’ll adjust.” Oh, how wrong everyone was. Time did not heal all wounds. Time only made them worse.
You did your best, I know that. You both remarried. You have a good relationship with each other. There is no fighting, no legal issues. That doesn’t mean that, 16 years after your divorce, I am perfectly fine.
I have abandonment issues. I assume that every argument will end in a break up in friendships and relationships. I have a low self esteem and an even lower sense of self worth. I think I’m annoying, needy, and that I am the reason people are upset. I panic if I think that someone is mad at me. I am underdeveloped emotionally. My need for a family has led me to engage in unprotected sex in the hopes of getting pregnant (which didn’t work). While my fellow students are dreaming of graduate school and career success, I dream of an intact family. I dream of being a wife, a mother. There is nothing I want more in life than to have a family of my own.
I can almost hear you say, “But you have a family right here.” You see, that’s where you’re wrong. I am twenty years old, and I have never once felt like I belonged anywhere. I don’t fully belong with my dad and step mom, and I don’t fully belong with mom and step dad. I was forced to split my holidays in half for you both, in your insistence that you both spend time with me on those special days. While you were so concerned about seeing me, you never took into consideration that perhaps all this chaos would negatively effect me. Today, I cringe when I think of holidays. Of being forced to spend time with a family that I don’t quite fully belong to.
While I don’t remember your divorce, my inner child still does. Those feelings of abandonment, confusion, guilt, fear, and loneliness have stayed buried deep inside only to emerge halfway through college. I don’t blame you. You couldn’t have known. Sometimes I just wish I could tell you.