Parents new families - divorce

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Parents new families - divorce
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 9:12am
I'm 35, married and have 2 children. My parents have been divorced for about 13 years now. I have 2 younger sisters.

When they first divorced, they paid extra special attention to us 3 girls, making sure we knew that the divorce wasn't our fault. However, this attention abruptly stopped when they both found new families.

FATHER: My father got remarried about 10 years ago. The woman he married had 4 children, all of which had either mental health or physical disabilities. Only 1 was still living at home when he moved in. Due to these problems, it seems there's always a crisis with one child or another, which he has to devote his time to. I have not talked to my father on the phone in almost 2 years, and I haven't seen him for over a year and a half, although he lives 20 minutes away. I've tried phoning or scheduling visits, but these always fall through because of these repeated family crises that keep coming up. One Christmas Eve I had planned a visit with him (along with his wife and my 2 sisters), cooked a ton of a food and bought gifts. He called 1/2 an hour after he was supposed to arrive stating that something came up and he wouldn't be able to make it.

MOTHER: My mother met a man about 10 years ago and had him move in. They never have and never will get married, so she says. Prior to meeting this man, she would babysit on occasion and even offered to, just to see her grandchildren. However, once she started dating this man, this abruptly stopped. She instructed me to find a good teenager in my neighborhood because "she had a life too". She has only agreed to babysit 2 times in the past 4 years and those times were only because of medical emergencies. She used to call me everyday, but now it's only 2-3 times a week, and only if she isn't busy with her boyfriend. She also used to visit me at least 2 times a month, but now it's down to 1-2 times a year, and only on VERY VERY special occasions, not holidays. I've tried calling her more often and visiting her, but she always has previous plans with her boyfriend and has to cut them short.

I feel so alone in life and, honestly, I feel like my parents have already died. I have relatively no relationship with them at all. I've tried on numerous occasions to establish some sort of relationship, only to be shot down so many times. If there is anyone else at this website who feels the same way, please tell me how you've adjusted and coped. Thanks!

Avatar for lucy4980
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 1:39pm
I don't really have any advice, but I wanted to respond just to say how sorry I am that you are in this situation. I can't imagine what it must be like for you. I have heard of this type of thing happening in other families though - the parents divorce after the kids are grown or close to it and then just cut everyone off in their efforts to live their own lives in their terms. It's not right, but it happens. Your family isn't the only one.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 8:59am
Whenever family is innaccesible, either through actions or distance, the best thing to do is to start your own new "family" through good friends.

When your support system consists of friends, you have the added benefit knowing that they WANT to be with you and not because they have to.

Join clubs, if you aren't already in a house of worship then find one, enlarge your group of friends and then soon, before you know it actually, you won't be missing your "family".

Listen, you are not going to change your mom and dad. It may help to let them know your feelings, perhaps through a short letter, but I doubt that would change anything. Get on with your life and leave them behind. I know that sounds awful, but it sounds as if they have already done that to you.

Ejkdmom Come visit my store:
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 10:46am
Yes, your parents do sound selfish and they aren't paying enough attention to you because of their own reasons. However, you are 35 years old! It is time for you to take control of your life! You cannot depend on your parents to make you happy anymore. Your mother is right -- she does have her own life and cannot devote as much time to you.

Now is the time to think about your own kids. How do you think they feel when they see their mother moping around because her parents aren't paying enough attention to her? You need to work on making their lives fulfilling so that they won't feel lonely like you do now.

Do you have friends? Can you lean on your husband? Children grow up and move away from their parents, and they make their own lives. It sounds like for some reason you haven't done this. Your parents are only human, and you can't continuously look to them for comfort. You must find it in other ways. Think of your children. If you keep feeling an acting this way, your kids might feel the way you do now when they are grown.

Perhaps it might help to get some therapy? It could help you sort out some of these issues that seem to have been bothering you for many years. Take care, dear. I hope you find some relief, for your own sake and for the sake of your kids.