Who Is to Blame?

“It’s not my fault you got a divorce!”

This statement by my 13 year old daughter last night struck me pretty hard. More than six years after our divorce – half her life – we are all still dealing with the consequences.

They all blame me for the divorce – my ex, his wife, both my kids. I was the one who wanted a divorce and so it is my fault. It will always be my fault. Even if he’s happier now (I don’t know that he is), I am still to blame.

Repeatedly since he received the divorce papers their dad has retaliated by telling them his view of what happened, blaming me. Maybe retaliated is too strong a word…no, I do believe that every time he talks to them about it his intention is to hurt me. What he does is hurt them and I am helpless to stop it.

They were 6 and 7 when this started, too young to understand the complexities of adult relationships. Even now that they’re 12 and 13 I don’t want to tell them. I don’t want to say bad things to them about their dad. I don’t want them to know the person either of us was back then. I just want us to all be happy now.

The girls remember happier days, times when we were all together in one house. They don’t know how over time his insults masked as “jokes” ate away at my self-esteem. They never heard his criticism if the house wasn’t clean when he returned from being away – even when the things not put away were his belongings that he didn’t pick up when he left. They don’t know how he blocked every attempt I made at doing something I was passionate about. They don’t understand that I wasn’t even allowed to read when he was home, because reading isn’t something he enjoys. They don’t know what it was like to have to ask permission to do the things I wanted to do, like a teenager who is afraid of being grounded.

I don’t know how our relationship got to that point. How did I become someone who was so intimidated that I completely stopped trying? I know I share the blame in the failure of our marriage but at this point does it matter who was at fault? This is where we ended up.

I know how difficult divorce is on children. I really do feel for them but I could not be the person I need to be in that relationship. As I learned, this isn’t just a selfish desire to be happy. I need to be a role model for my girls and I wasn’t. I would never want them to stay in a relationship like the one I was in. I want them to know they deserve better.

But I don’t want to tell them what they were too young to see. I don’t want them to know how things were, how I let them be.

Could we have fixed it? Maybe. If I had been stronger could I have stood up to him and told him life should be different? Could I have made him understand? Could he have changed?

These are questions we will never have answered. I wasn’t that person, and I couldn’t become that person in that relationship.

Our divorce is difficult on the girls; it will probably always be this way. It’s hard for them to live at two different houses. It’s worse because their schedule with him changes all the time. It would be better if they were consistently at one house on school nights. I understand the challenges they face but our situation isn’t easy. Their dad is a pilot and isn’t here all the time. If they stayed with me on school nights they would almost never see him because he’s typically only home during the week. And he’s not here for them to stay with him every school night.

This is just how it is.

Our divorce has been the most defining moment in all our lives, even more than our marriage. I am a better person, able to live life according to my values. He has a new family with someone who shares his values which are drastically different from mine. We should all be happy. It’s time to stop struggling.

31 thoughts on “Who Is to Blame?”

    1. Thank you! It was definitely something that I thought about….for years. We do the best we can for our children and for ourselves….and sometimes what is best is not what is easy, as you know. I appreciate your support! 😊

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  1. Divorce sucks for all parties but kids worry the most. I remember T asking me that if I did not love his dad anymore was I going to stop loving him? It broke my heart to hear those words. As an adult from a divorced family I have to say once I understood what happened I could get it. But kids need to grow into that realization on their own. Noyhing we say can make it better. Lots of hugs and I love you’s all we can do. πŸ’žπŸ’ž

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    1. I agree. I too come from divorced parents. I don’t know that it was easier for me necessarily but certainly different. I know they both feel angry and upset still and I need to figure out if there’s a way I can help them deal with that better. ❀️

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  2. Divorce is hard. It sucks and our children don’t really get it. My children tell me often that they don’t want to end up like me. Alone, raising them on my own for majority of their life and that hurts. The man I was married to was not their father but he treated them like they were his, for the most part, while we were married. Now that we have been divorced since 2014 or 15 I can’t remember the year I just remember the pain. They don’t want to be like me. So they succumb to relationships that yield nothing fearing being alone. They are adults in age but still don’t get it. It is heart wrenching but you will survive. We all will.

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    1. I’m sorry your children feel that way…. being alone and raising kids isn’t easy but better than alternatives such as staying in unhealthy relationships or not having children at all. Hopefully in time your children will see that. Even as adults we continue to grow and learn and they may as well too. Best of luck. Thanks for sharing your story! 😊

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    1. Thank you for that perspective. I do hope that my girls learn that lesson…both from my divorce and from my choice to still be single. There are other lessons I know they’re learning although they don’t realize it. The post I’m planning for tomorrow will go into one of those lessons. I appreciate your input! 😊

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  3. Why do we always look for blame? Stuff just happens. When you mix two chemicals together there is a reaction. Sometimes that reaction can be toxic. Sometimes it can burn down a building. But there’s no point in blaming one chemical or the other.
    All one can do is jot down the results of the science experiment and move on.

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    1. Excellent point! I suppose it was my daughter’s choice of words that framed the idea of “blame”…but I agree, we were just two people who should not be together. Thanks for your perspective!

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  4. children are a heck of a lot more capable of dealing with situations than we ever give them credit for. Maybe it is past time to sit down with them and tell them WHY you wanted the divorce and then how much better all your lives are because of it. It isnt blaming the other spouse when you tell the honest truth.

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    1. Perhaps you’re right…. although I think in a lot of ways they see why he and I aren’t a good fit. Overall I think they’re just angry about how it complicates their lives and how they feel torn. But there are families who have much harder circumstances than ours and somehow they will be okay in the end!

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    1. Things are not exactly “happy” at his house. They blame me because he has told them it is my fault. Without going into details that they don’t need right now I can’t refute the claim and so I tell them there are always multiple sides and that I will be happy to discuss it with them when they are adults. But that doesn’t make it easier for them. πŸ˜”

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  5. I empathize with you. Today is actually the 5th anniversary of my divorce, and my soon to be 13 year old can be challenging at times. My daughter was only 2 when we separated, so in some ways it’s been easier with her.

    In my case, even though his mother has moved on, remarried, and we even get along, my son seems to unfairly place the blame on his mother at times. We’ve tried many times to explain it to him, but he still resists. I wish I had answer, but what I do know, even with both people co-parenting in sync, it’s still a lot of work. I think some of the resistance/rebelliousness is simply the age and where they’re at in life. I believe even under optimal circumstances the teenage years can be tough. As parents, we have to be consistent.

    Keep the faith! One day they will be adults and understand our love and decisions. God willing, there’s a lot of life to go, so in my mind, it’s a few years to weather the storm.

    I wish you all the best.
    Brian

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    1. It’s true that these years are tough on most families. For a while we were going along pretty smoothly but recently we encountered some issues that has made me realize none of us are quite as over our past as I might have thought. To he honest we’re doing really well for the most part. I’ve just been contemplative recently… trying to put some pieces together.

      Thanks for your perspective and I appreciate that you shared your story! I love to hear when parents are able to still work together to raise the kids. 😊

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      1. In the early days, there was a delicate balance with frequent breaks from our truce, and as time has gone on, the breaks happen less. I think that’s also natural. The truce mostly exists because we all love our children and want to try and raise healthy humans. That said, we’re only human… on any given Sunday, the light switch is flipped and those old emotions surface. I think about this stuff a lot, especially on days like today.

        Happy to have stumbled across your site today.

        Sincerely,
        Brian

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad you’ve found that balance. After 7 years we’ve reached a kind of unspoken truce but we still have times when one of us is fighting for the upper hand… doing what is easy instead of what is right. But things are better than they used to be.

        Why “especially on days like today?” (If you don’t mind my asking….feel free to ignore the question πŸ˜‰)

        Dee

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