15 Times Divorced Parents Unfortunately Left A Damaging, Everlasting Mark On Their Kiddos

    "I developed a split personality over time. Your parents divorce because they couldn't get along, and that concept carries into what they expect from you. What may be 'normal' behavior for one parent may be completely unacceptable to the other. This creates a rift in your personality, wherein you try to appease both parents."

    Reddit user u/hopelessmoderate asked the Reddit community: "Those who are a child of divorced parents and spent your childhood between two different houses, what [was it like]?"

    Art work of children splitting time between their divorced parents' houses

    People didn't hold anything back, and revealed how deeply their divorced parents affected their childhood. I commend them for their honesty because it definitely sounded pretty gruesome and heavy on them.

    Dad dropping kids off at his ex-wife's house

    So, here are some eye-opening stories from children of divorce:

    Note: Some stories include topics of child abuse and domestic abuse. Please proceed with caution.

    1. "I lived with my single father as an only child for around 14 days. I went to my mom's every other weekend, who had a new husband and three other kids. She kept moving further and further away, and then tried to guilt-trip me into liking her because she was spending so much money on gas, and would constantly demand affection from me. She was raised as an only child by her grandparents, and only had kids so that they could give her the love she never had (and it showed). It was rather exhausting because she’d constantly tell me about how much I was supposed to love her, and how anything less was all my dad’s fault. She tried convincing me into moving in with her, despite her also complaining about not having the money to even pick me up and having to share a room with my two half-brothers at her house."


    2. "My sibling and I were very much used as pawns, largely by our father. We were even dragged into court one day and missed school because our father wanted us to testify that our mother was a bad parent. It set me up for a string of abusive and unhealthy relationships as I went through school, and discovered my true self wasn't just a mask to keep me safe."

    "I'm currently in therapy trying to sort through my heavy dissociative issues — I was so out of it, I didn't even realize I had them until a year ago. I feel like a 40-year-old in a disabled 24-year-old's body. I can't even function well enough to hold a job. 

    The main lesson I've learned is that even though they're the ones who brought me into this world, my parents were not fit to be parents. Truth be told, I'd much rather have never been born than have to deal with all this garbage these terrible human beings have left me with."


    3. "I was getting horribly bullied in school during my parents' divorce. I never told them while it was happening because I didn’t want to burden them with my problems when they were so sad and angry all of the time. I was 11 years old. Kids of divorce go from kids to little adults in the blink of an eye."

    Young girl getting bullied by a boy at school

    4. "What makes it worse is when each parent fixates on their own thing, and it never seems to occur to them that the kid has to cover both bases. One side of my family used to get upset with me for leaving their event 'early,' and the other side got upset with me for making them wait (as if it was my fucking idea to have those kind of holidays). Now, I hate Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays — all of it."


    5. "You spend your life living out of a bag, and it’s hell on your organization and stability. My parents divorced when I was 4, and every week, I had to pack a bag with my things. I took it for my stay at that specific parent's house, and I'd repack it at the end of the week to go back. It never ended — there was no 'settling in.'"


    6. "The feeling of shame, disappointment, and worthlessness you experience when your non-custodial parent is constantly trying to find ways to reduce the amount of child maintenance they have to pay (I grew up in the UK). They resented not being able to control what the other parent spent. My dad refused to pay for music lessons, school trips, and extracurricular activities, and constantly implied that my mum was trying to scam him out of more money than she needed. It really makes you feel like you don't actually deserve to have those things, and that wanting/asking for the bare minimum makes you 'the asshole.'"

    Upset young girl with parents fighting in the background

    7. "It can suck when your parents re-marry. For me and my siblings, it often felt like our dad had HIS family, and then there was just us. I don't really know how to explain it — I guess it just basically feels like you're not part of their family anymore."


    8. "My parents' divorce affected me in many ways. Getting in trouble at school for not having the right books/uniform because you forgot them at the other house or lost them altogether. Having to be very careful about being excited or positive about the other parent’s house. Always feeling like a houseguest in whichever house is not your main one. Generally being totally disorganized and a mess at all times, and becoming an adult who is a mess at all times."


    9. "The worst part was the anxiety around having your parents interact. Even 10 years later, I can't mention my mum around my dad because I have no idea what he'll do. He once saw my mum's new partner when dropping us off (he was doing something in the garage) and tried to fight him. You end up feeling like two different people — I had stuff at one house but not the other, so my entire daily routine and life was completely different at each house. The second you go to one house, it's like you shift and completely forget everything to do with anything at the other house. You can't mention anything you did at the other house, so the two parts of your life become so fractured. It didn't feel too bad at the time because it's just how it was. But now that I'm older, I look back and see how much it kinda fucked with me."

    Angry dad yelling at daughter

    10. "The worst one for me is seeing your step-siblings have the life you didn't where both parents are present, and they're closer to your parent than you were because you barely saw them."


    11. "When I was young, I mainly lived with my mom in Utah, and I'd visit my dad in California for my birthday in the summer (and for holidays). He was/is an amazing dad. He didn’t even spoil me — he just provided for me. He made my summers enjoyable, and loved me. Then, I’d have to go back to dusty old Utah to my miserable mom trapped in an abusive marriage with my five younger siblings. Everyone would trash my dad, and tell me I was spoiled. The kids would tear apart my gifts from my dad, and my stepdad would talk all this crap about how he could take my dad in a fight. My mom would always be like to me: 'Ugh, you sound just like your dad.'"


    12. "I was always just a guest at my mum's house, and when I moved out of my dad's at 18 years old, I was instantly just a guest any time I visited. It was never that 'going home' feeling, even though I grew up there. My step-sibling was allowed to move straight into my room."

    Upset male teen sitting on a couch

    13. "I am an adult who is a mess, and I really do think my lack of organization and even lack of decor has a lot to do with going back and forth from my parents' house. My parents literally alternated every other fucking day and weekend — every single weekday, we were at the other parent's house. Fortunately, my parents did alright with co-parenting and made sure we always had everything we needed at both houses. We were just more responsible with certain items from a young age, too (like homework and books for school). It wasn't until my dad relocated to a different state and I was in high school that I felt like I had my own space — but, I was a rebellious teenager at that point and didn't care."


    14. "The way the anxiety just grew on me toward the end of the week when I was going to my dad's, and then counting down the days to go back to my 'preferred' parent. But at the same time, I felt bad for my dad because I didn’t want to hurt him."


    15. And: "I developed a split personality over time. Your parents divorce because they couldn't get along, and that concept carries into how they keep their homes and what they expect from you. What may be 'normal' behavior for one parent may be completely unacceptable to the other. This creates a rift in your personality, wherein you try to appease both parents. It involves behaving like a completely different person during visitation times. I still struggle as a 30-something man because of this. I find myself projecting conflicting behaviors in regards to keeping my own home in order, my political views, and my religion."

    Sad young boy sitting in-between fighting parents

    Note: Some stories have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.