There are stages in our lives that we need our parents. We need them to teach us how to crawl, how to walk, how to use the bathroom, among other things, but the most important thing we need our parents to teach us is right from wrong. Sometimes our parents either choose not to do it or do not have the opportunity to do this because of the nasty words called divorce or separation.

I grew up in a divided world where I saw my dad on the weekends and two whole weeks out of the summer. I had fun with my dad, do not get me wrong. However, I can only imagine what my life would have turned out to be if my parents were not bitter, divorced people. Believe me when I say that too, it is not just your parent’s. I think the majority of divorced people are bitter.  

Growing up, I remember the back and forth arguments between my parents and mine divorced when I was 2.5 years old. So, I do not ever remember my parents being together, which is a shame if you ask me. Anyways, I remember the arguments, the dropping off and picking up, I remember them wanting the 411 on each other, I remember my mom trying to replace my dad and take rights away from him, I remember sitting in my room writing a schedule out trying to figure out how I could have equal time with both parents, and I remember after my mom divorced my sister’s dad dreaming of my parent’s getting back together even though I knew after 15 years of divorce it was never going to happen.  

You are in the middle of a divided world if you are growing up with divorced/separated parents, and that is not right. Parents should never put their children in the middle of their problems. It happens all too often, though. I want you to know it is okay to say something and stand for yourself. I sure wish I would have done more of that. It is alright for you to just say I am here with you and I want to spend time with you. I do not want to talk about my mom/dad with you. It is also alright for you to walk away from the arguments, so you do not have to be a part of them. It is not your fault they could not get along for at least enough time to raise you. No, I am sorry it is not your fault that they gave up on each other because that is what divorce is; it is giving up on the person you are supposed to love until death does you part.  

I also remember the secrets do not tell your mom this or do not tell your dad this and the anger they had for each other, oh my goodness, crazy. However, they could not help but ask about each other. I mean, come on, I am almost 30 years old, and again, they have been divorced since I was 2.5 years old, and they still ask what the other one is doing. I just plainly do not understand it. In fact, I have told both of them that it was their decision to divorce, not mine, and if they want to know how the other one is doing, they need to be adults and talk to each other. It is kind of sad that they act more like a child than my children do.  

It is not just the parents, though. It is the grandparents too. The way I look at it, there are 5 stories, and somewhere in the middle, there is the truth. There is the parental grandparent’s version, the maternal grandparent’s version, your dad’s version, and your mom’s version. Now, this only makes 4 stories, I know. Somewhere in those 4 stories comes your interpretation of what happened because I can almost guarantee that every story will be different. Then there is the truth, which no one will ever remember. 

My advice about the stories is to learn how to go about your day. Do not worry so much about what happened in the past; only concentrate on the here and now. If your parents can only live in the past as mine do, then allow them too but in no way, shape, or form are you required to conform to their ways. Stand out and be yourself. You are allowed to not follow in your parent's footsteps.  

Speaking of which, if your parents are divorced, but your aunts and uncles' relationships have succeeded, then they are probably feeling sorry for you because their kids did not have to grow up in a broken home. They are probably expecting the same thing from you, and they are probably expecting you to fail. Do not allow their expectations to become the truth.  

I had an entire room full of people expecting me to fail, including my own mother. I am here to tell you just because you come from a broken home does not mean that you cannot have a successful relationship with someone or be better than your parents. I have a very good marriage with two children, and we have a very nice but cozy home for our family. We have a family dog, and I have a college degree but stay at home with my kids. You can find yourself and exceed everyone’s expectations of you, but you have to make a choice.  

So, how do you survive in a divided world? You step up and be an adult at an early age. You learn to parent your parents and tell them to stop acting like children. You choose to be yourself and do not allow your situation to bring you down because it is not your fault your parents choose to give up on each other. You tell people you do not care about the stories that you love your mom and dad both. Live your life as a child. Go to friend’s houses, join a sport, go to parties, be in that musical but whatever you do just be you and that is how you survive in a divided world.  

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