I came across a song called “Love Triangle” by country artist, RaeLynn. The song entails how children get stuck in the middle of their parent’s divorce. The lyrics were written by the artist herself while dealing with her own experiences of it. Listening to those words being sung with such heart, it opened up my eyes to my own life. The song reminds me of how I have always been stuck in the middle of my parents ever since I could remember. Even when my parents were together, I was pulled in the middle of their arguments whether they realized it or not.
I will never forget this one day where my seven year self was sitting at the kitchen table with my brother. My parents had been arguing for the past hour or so. I don’t remember at all what the argument was about. What I do remember was my father asking my brother and I with a distressed voice, “Your mother is wrong, right? Tell me, is she wrong or am I?”. I pierced over at my mother that was leaning against the doorway. She just kept nodding, indicating for us to agree with my father. I could tell by her glossed over eyes that she just wanted the fight to be over. So, I softly responded,”mommy”. He asked again, “So, she is wrong?”..I slowly nodded in agreement. He stormed out as he basically gave her an “I told you so”. I whispered to my mom, “I’m sorry”. She walked up to me with tears in her eyes, “No, I’m sorry. You did the right thing”.
I am in my 30’s now and in some ways, I feel as though nothing has changed. Except now in conversations, they always start with, “I don’t mean to talk bad about your (mother/father), but…” and then proceed to talk bad about them. It basically boils down to that my parents hate each other. I’m not going to fault them for it, I believe that they both have sensible reasons to have these feelings towards each other. My mom has a right to be angry about their marriage and my father has a right to be angry about their divorce. They both contributed and had a part in the way things went. However, because I don’t have these similar feelings and I see good in them both, it almost comes as a fault. I love each of them very much, but I can’t express that equality to them. They understand that I will always have that care for the other, but can’t comprehend the unconditional love that I have for them, because they can only see what they dislike about the other. I just have to allow them to vent with a compassionate ear while I try to defuse their toxic words.
Unfortunately, I am the only one out of my siblings that actually deal with this. At times I feel resent and bitter for being the one that has to be placed in the middle, even though I am the youngest child. My oldest brothers don’t get to deal with their “love me more” tactics. Truthfully, my oldest brother is mentally challenged, so he is incapable of dealing with it all. I obviously can’t hold anything against him and I truly don’t. My other brother however isolates himself, so he doesn’t deal with…anything. I love my brothers dearly, and I understand their circumstances, but at times I just wish things didn’t always have to fall on me. I have a strong relationship with both of my parents, where my brothers don’t have that strong of a bond.
The latest experience with them was when my mom came to visit last July. The day of my mom coming, she called me that morning before boarding the plane. She asked me to call my father to see if she could visit my oldest brother, since he is in his care. Well my chest began to tighten as I had remembered my father telling me two days prior, “I know your mom is coming to visit, keep her away from me”. Well, then I was stuck with having to tell her what my father said. She was angry and started calling him names. As a mother, I understand her feelings that she wants to see her son. However, I had to think back at the start of this scenario. When it came time for her to claim her rights for us in the custody hearing, she didn’t show up. She didn’t fight for custody or even visitations. She just gave us to my dad. There after, she didn’t call. She didn’t make as much as an effort to prove her love and rights back. So in a sense, I feel as though she lost her rights to just pop in whenever she wants to visit. I love my mother and I completely forgave her faults. I know that my father didn’t make things easy during their marriage and it resulted to the divorce, but I love him regardless of his flaws as well. However, I am 31 years old now. When will this end?! This has been going on since I was 7 years old. I am not the reason why their marriage didn’t work out, I am not the reason why their divorce was ugly, and I am not their mediator now! I am their daughter, and for the love of God, why can’t I just be that all of the time! So frustrating…
Then, it makes me think about my son…does he play mediator between his father and I? I know our split has taken its toll on him. He expressed that in a recent conversation about how he didn’t want to disappoint either of us. He wants our time to be fair and for us to be happy. More than anything, he wants us back together so we don’t have to split our time. He feels as though he is being pulled by both of us, and that saddens me. Split custody or visitations is something that I can’t relate to, but definitely understand. I hurt for my son.
Sadly enough, I will never forget being 12 years old sitting in the back seat of the family car listening to my parents arguing. The sun beamed down on me through the finger printed window, which made me think that God was listening. So, I started silently praying and wishing that my parents would divorce. I just knew that they needed to be apart. I definitely held that guilt, when my parents finally divorced when I was 14. My father got full custody and my mother didn’t visit. So, I never had to stress about splitting my life with both of them. I only remember the pains of missing my mother and wishing that our lives never got so flipped upside down.
For my son, he has always known this life of a broken home as his father and I split when he was 18 months old. It is hard sometimes, especially when his father fails him. My son thinks that I hog more time with him and I don’t allow his daddy to have his fair share of time, which is far from the truth. In those circumstances, I have to play around with my words in order to be careful to not subject negative judgment onto his father for his faults. That was one thing that I told myself that I would never do that my parents always unselfconsciously did. They always try to convince me what they did right and always try to better the other. Even though I rightfully own doing better than my son’s father, I don’t hold the power to make my son think that way. I give my son that option to judge that for himself.
For those who are split with your partner, try not to place your child in the middle. It doesn’t matter how kind and wonderful you are as a parent or person, the moment that the child is placed in the middle of your bitterness and pain, it will remain with them forever. It places them in an extreme amount of guilt that they don’t own and becomes torture to them as an adult, which in return only pushes them away from you. You should never ploy your child to pick you, because no child should ever be placed in a position to choose at all between their parents. They have a mother and a father for a reason. They both deserve love if the child decides to do so, and only if the child decides to.