Adults Are Revealing What Their Childhood Was Like After Their Parents Divorced, And You May Not Consider Some Of These If You Grew Up In A Single Household

    "I think a lot of us were used as therapists by our parents, and we didn't even realize it."

    If you or someone you know has experienced their parents divorcing when they were younger, you probably understand how complicated and emotionally trying this time in someone's life can be.

    A child sitting in front of her parents while they argue on the couch

    To shed light on it, Reddit user u/hopelessmoderate asked the r/AskReddit community: "Those who are a child of divorced parents, what is something that those of us raised in a single house don’t understand or consider?"

    The thread garnered thousands of responses, so we gathered some of them for you to read below.

    1. "For me, it was weird being ‘part-time poor.' I lived in a tiny trailer with my mom, where we lived a painfully frugal life, and every other weekend, I would be eating a steak dinner at my dad’s house."


    A child holding a coin

    2. "Getting in trouble at school for not having the right books or uniform because you forgot them at the other house or lost them altogether."


    3. "The mental exhaustion that being a middleman for your parents takes on you. Going from one house to the next, listening to one parent bitch about the other parent. And then having to put on a brave face while listening to one parent trash [the other]. All the while trying not to lose respect for the parent in front of you while also trying not to harbor any feelings of resentment toward the parent at home that the parent in front of you was talking shit about."

    "I think a lot of us were used as therapists, and we ourselves don’t even realize it."


    4. "Having to be very careful about being excited or positive about the other parent’s house."


    A child standing with arms crossed and a mad expression on their face.

    5. "For me it was always awkward spending time with my father. It felt forced. Most of the time, we would end up watching TV for two to three days before heading back to my mother’s house. It lasted for maybe one to two years after the divorce, and then I would just go over for a day around Christmas time. Probably the minority here, but I always felt I was a burden as a kid, and we just never really clicked, so felt like strangers hanging out."


    6. "Sharing time on holidays. When you are older, it's very difficult to keep up with both your direct family and friends, much less your extended family."


    7. "When you say or do something that your parent doesn't like, and they tell you, 'You're just like your father/mother.' Yeah, no shit, I was made by the both of you. I get that you no longer like my dad/mom, but it hurts that you also hate half of what makes me me."


    A mother yelling at a child

    8. "No worse feeling than having to leave your 'preferred' household on a Sunday evening to go 'home' before school Monday morning."


    9. "'Do you act this way at your dad/mom's house?!' Parents can sometimes (hopefully unintentionally) use the kids as pawns. At 31, I still get envious of people even my own age whose parents are still together. Holidays are a stress-fest having to make sure to spend equal amounts of time at each parent's house. A lot of my childhood memories are either lost due to trauma or not very enjoyable to remember. I feel like I became an adult before the age of 10. Also, don't forget about the abandonment issues that arise later in life."


    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 are because you barely see them."


    Young boy standing back and watching a family.

    11. "Generally being totally disorganized and a mess at all times and becoming an adult who is a mess at all times."


    12. "The subtle shifts in your personality you have to make. I possess a lot of qualities from my mom that my dad hates, and a lot of qualities my dad has that my mom hates. My dad hates my laugh because it sounds like my mom's, so I try to have a different laugh around him. It’s really little things like that that take a really big toll on you. I always got physically ill before having to switch houses because of the stress."


    13. "Going to multiple Christmas lunches on Christmas Day was absolute bullshit. 25 years later, one of my parents says, 'But you always liked that.' Apparently, we have very different memories."


    Christmas Tree in Front of a Window with Bokeh.

    14. "Living out of a suitcase is a fucking horrible way for a child to live."


    "Yeah, then my parents would get mad when I forgot to pack my hairbrush or deodorant or something. I was an adult when I realized that instead of being mad that I would occasionally forget something when I was packing twice a week, they should have bought me duplicates of the necessities."


    15. "When we were little, mom worked full-time, and dad stayed home with us. When I was 6, they separated, and we only saw him once, maybe twice a year. I have never recovered from this sudden and unexplained abandonment."


    16. "How annoying it was to pack your shit every weekend."


    Man and woman stand at distance from each other in middle of child with a suitcase.

    17. "That it’s normal to have a social life outside family, but it’s difficult when you’re going out on your mother’s/father’s 'time.' Like, if you’re only with one parent on the weekend, you’re expected to not go out with friends because this is their 'time' with you."


    18. "Having brand new familial relationships when a parent remarries and then never seeing them again when that marriage fails as well."


    19. "How they use your actions to catch the other being a shitty parent. Literally weaponizing your actions."


    A child sitting alone with her teddy bear

    20. "How it will later come in handy and make you more understanding and empathetic. You live two different lives with different rules, possibly different cultures and surroundings. Your horizons are broadened, and you don’t even know it. You will also find out how manipulative and grimy a lot of adults are as most times one parent will be trashing the other. It ages a child."


    21. "There is always guilt about the parent you're not with. Are they lonely? Are they crying? I'm 53 now, and the guilt is still there for every holiday."


    22. "Using you as a messenger to the other parent."


    Mother and her teenage son arguing at home

    23. "The worst part was the anxiety around having your parents interact. Even 10 years later, I can't mention my mum around my dad as 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."


    24. "The embedded hero complex. Believing that they broke up because of you and feeling the weight of responsibility to make up for it by trying to save/fix everything/everyone."


    Did you grow up in a divorced household? If so, tell us below how your parents' divorce affected your childhood.