Letters to a Divorced Kid, Part III | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

March 6, 2012

Letters to a Divorced Kid, Part III

Dear Friend,

I hope you are in good spirits since my last letter to you.  I'd imagine you are still wading through a good bit of thought and emotion.  It took me a while to get a grasp on to what was happening when I found out about my parent's divorce.  And whether this is new for you or you've been dealing with it for a while, it can still take time.

When your parents get divorced, you feel a lot of things.  I spent a long time feeling numb.  I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry.  I just didn’t feel anything.  I kind of went through my 9th grade year in a haze.  I didn’t like being at home, because it was uncomfortable when they were both there. And they fought.  But I didn’t always have many other places to go.  

Eventually, I started feeling again.  I felt sad for a long time.  And that’s ok.  It often felt like I was going through the motions of life, but watching it happen instead of participating.  After my sadness started to wear off, I began to feel angry.  I was angry for a VERY long time.  I didn’t talk to my dad for a while.  This bothered him, because he just wanted everything to be ok. One time, about six months after he left, my dad called me on the phone. We were still on unstable ground in our relationship, and I remember him saying to me quite clearly, “Steph. This is getting old. You really need to get over this.” 

Can I tell you something? 

You don’t. 

You don’t have to get over anything until you are ready.  You are allowed to be angry for as long as you need to be. You are allowed to be sad for as long as you need to be.  And you are allowed to be OKAY whenever you are ready to be.

Don't rush your emotions.  Sometimes that can make you feel worse than just dealing with the present pain and confusion.  Sure, it's painful to face hurt or uncomfortable to face change. I found it to more painful to keep up an act, especially if it is one where you are trying to convince yourself that you feel differently than you really do. In the end, you are left back where we started, facing the pain you'd just tried to ignore.

Accept that you might be sad. You might be angry. You might be numb. You might be relieved, or even happy. Accept it and take it one day at a time. Know that however you feel is appropriate. Don't let anyone dictate to you the progress you need to make.

You'll get to where you need to be eventually.

Continue to process (it's healthy), continue to talk about your feelings.  And stay strong until our next correspondence.


You can read more in the Divorce Series here. I'd love to hear your thoughts, your stories, your encouragement, your advice - so leave a comment below.

Check back Friday for the next Divorce Memoir.


  1. Grrr...you probably see it now but no doubt your dad said that to you to ease his own guilt. Arg. Even parents can say the wrong/worst thing at times. At 15 I'm not sure how I would have reacted. At 34 it might be "No dad. No. I'm exactly where I am, where I need to be. You screwed me over, remember? How dare you tell me how to feel and when to feel it...because you are guilt ridden...as you should be. You don't have a say as to when or if I choose to forgive you and move forward."

    I can be harsh sometimes.

    I also don't ever believe we get over anything...just through it.

    1. Oh, I can totally see it now. And I can't tell you how many situations I've experienced throughout the divorce of my parents where I bang my head on the wall with "coulda shoulda woulda said" retrospect. But maybe it's better I didn't. We probably say things we don't mean or regret. And it has become great and therapeutic fodder for this post series!

      And you are absolutely right. We don't get over things - just through. And even then....


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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