Today I thought I’d write about my parents’ recent separation, because I feel like I haven’t even had the chance to really process it properly.
My parents have been having problems with their marriage for as long as I can remember. There were always arguments; often times, the tension from them would linger in the air for days. My dad spent a lot of time away from home, travelling with various bands around the country and spending all his time in his recording studio when he was actually home. His music always came before his family, and my mother was left to raise three girls on her own the majority of the time.
My father is not a bad person. I just want to get that point across before I continue with this post. He dealt with a lot of tough things growing up, and I’m not saying that excuses the way he was… but it’s an explanation. My father struggles with mental illnesses, and that’s tough for anyone to live with. I understand that, as I’ve lived with mental illness myself… which is why I’ve allowed myself to forgive him.
If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you’ll know that I am a survivor of an emotionally abusive relationship. But what you may not know is that I, along with my sisters and my mom, were emotionally abused by my narcissistic father. I grew up with him manipulating all of our emotions, and that was my “normal”. That’s why it took me so long to leave my abusive relationship later on in my teen years. But that’s another story that I’ve told too many times.
My boyfriend and I were visiting my family one weekend when my mother casually mentioned that she and my father were no longer together. I was (understandably) upset and let a few tears slip out, but I wasn’t necessarily shocked. I think I’m more shocked that it took so long. That night, my mom, sisters, and I all sat down together and talked for hours. Our mom told us all the details she’d kept quiet about for years, and we all agreed that we felt relieved without my father’s presence in the house.
Currently, I’m the only one speaking to my father, and he’s grateful for it. He helped me get my new car on the road, and helped my boyfriend and I move several hours away. I don’t bother trying to correct him when he tells me about where the problems stemmed from in his and my mother’s marriage. He believes it was all because my mother was too self-conscious and never trusted him when he left home. He’s a narcissist. He does not and will not understand. But he is my father, and he loves me. Sometimes we have to do difficult things for our loved ones… even if that means clenching your teeth and just listening, which is what I’ve had to do for my father.
I think the hardest part about all of this is the uncertainty. When my parents were together, it was always certain that we’d go on our traditional camping trips, and holidays would be spent together, at home. Nothing is the same anymore. I’m nervous for the holidays to get here because for the first time in my life, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. I don’t know where I will be and who I will be with.
I’m afraid for the near future, and the far future. Will my mom remarry? Will I have step-relatives? What if my father starts dating a psychopath? I could totally see that happening. This is all so strange to me. Nobody ever really talks about what it’s like to have your parents split up when you’re an adult. I don’t really know how to cope with this, so I’ve been doing what I usually do… which is ignore the problem until it grows into a bigger problem and I have a mental breakdown.
Has anyone else out there ever had their parents split up when you were in your twenties/adult years? Please help.