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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
Posted on: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
I am a child of divorce. I am a 52 year old father of three children. I am married but in a mixed marriage. We do not share the same faith background. I am the third child of four. I have two older sisters and a younger brother. My mom was 15 when she got pregnant with my oldest sister. My dad was 19. They were married 6 months before my sister was born. They had four kids in five years. My sisters are actually 11 months apart (Irish Twins).
My mom was raised Catholic and actually had the notion of being a nun. My father did not have a strong faith background and was nominally Christian. He converted to Catholicism before they were married. My sisters, brother and I were very close given our proximity in age. We were all baptized and received Holy Communion. My sisters were both confirmed but neither my brother nor I were confirmed.
About the time I was in seventh grade my parents began to fight. They would spend hours every night screaming at each other in the laundry room in the basement with the washer and dryer running, but it did little to muffle their yelling. My dad never inflicted any physical harm on my mother nor did she to him. They verbally abused each other for about a year. Then when I was in 8th grade they announced their divorce. The four of us were completely devastated. We huddled together to protect each other.
My Dad moved out. Over the next several years he would drive by the house and find ways to taunt her or try to reconcile with her. It was torture for all of us.
He remarried around the time I turned 16. From the very first day and up to this day I did not get along with his wife. She has always been emotionally unstable, and at one point attempted suicide. I hated my dad for the divorce, for marrying her, and I had little respect for him. I still have not completely reconciled with him. Our relationship is tense, and I see him almost every day.
My Mom stayed in the house and lives there still today. She remarried to a man I have not liked from the beginning. He has had health problems and has been on disability for the last 25 years. He only briefly worked when they were married. He did not own anything substantial at the time of their marriage. His medical bills are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars but are all taken care of through the VA. He is barely mobile and can hardly get around the house. He has driven us all away from our mother. When she calls us to help her with something, we are all reluctant because of the drama we have to deal with. I rarely talk to my mother on the phone because he is in the background interjecting comments.
I left the church as a teenager and did not return until my oldest daughter was born 18 years ago. My wife was raised in an Evangelical church, and she and I have gone to separate churches every Sunday for the past 18 years. She raised our daughters in her church, and I go to mass alone.
Posted on: Tuesday, February 02, 2016
The uproar over the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court, as well as over the Planned Parenthood videos of aborted infants, has brought to light in my heart the brutal, circular journey I myself have made from devout Catholic school boy of the 50s to passive, liberal “hippie” of the 60s and 70s, and back to recommitted catholic – a gradual process that started in the 80s and continues to this day.
Specifically here I feel called to reveal the mindset that allowed me to rationalize my participation in two abortions of my own children with two separate women during my 20’s – not in the form of a confession, but to illuminate how pernicious this type of thinking has become in our culture, and how difficult it can be to overcome without a foundation in faith.
I was in the mid 70’s a young man attempting to make a living as a songwriter and musician in Los Angeles. I met a young Hispanic woman who was bright, articulate and as totally engaged in the whole drug culture and sexual revolution as I was. We began an intimate relationship that resulted in the conception of a child. When she gently notified me of this event I did the typical male prevarication thing and we ended up deciding to seek an abortion. I say “we”, although I’m pretty sure in retrospect that was not the solution she was hoping for. So I gave her the money, she had the abortion and our relationship ended rather abruptly.
I eventually met my future first wife around 1977, a woman who had grown up in an abusive family environment as the only daughter of a pedophile father and violent mother. We moved in together and in a very short time she became pregnant. I remember the look of disappointment in her eyes as we discussed the inconvenience this child would place on our lives. This time I was an active participant in the murder. I clearly remember sitting outside the door and hearing the whirring and sucking sounds of the machinery as our child was removed from her womb and disposed of like so much trash – or possibly, as we now know, sold off in pieces to some research lab. I saw the raw effects on the mother immediately as she came out of the recovery room to be driven home by me, her accomplice. She was absolutely devastated by the experience and for several days nothing I could say or do was any comfort to her.
Eventually we moved on, got married and had two beautiful boys, although the marriage was very stormy and ended several years later in a bitter divorce. As I began to recover from my profligate life and tried to guide my children through the treacherous rapids of the post-divorce world, I started to feel the tug at my heart every time I became intimate with a new woman. But I eventually realized that my behavior was inconsistent with my beliefs, and I struggled with celibacy, slipping many times before falling in love with a woman who understood my dilemma and was willing to support a Christian courtship.
I am now over 30 years clean and sober and married to that same wonderful, faithful woman, who is a Catholic convert. We are active in our church and community and have started a very successful bible study in our parish. I have at long last accepted that human sexuality is not the ultimate physical/spiritual experience I formerly thought it to be, but only a dim reflection of man’s participation in God’s unending creative glory. Used morally, a very great good – used immorally, a very great evil. But the tale bears telling if for no other reason than perhaps the chance to stir the consciences of other folks like me who were led astray and now find their lives empty of meaning as they pursue the gods of mammon – yet may still hope to find the one God of the universe ready and waiting to love and forgive them.
My constant prayers go with them.
Posted on: Monday, January 25, 2016
I am a sixty-one year old adult child of divorce. My parents divorced in 1956 when I was two years old. My mother remarried in the same month that the divorce was final. My mother had full custody of me, and my new step-father raised me into adult-hood. I had minimal contact with my natural father especially after he remarried a couple of years later and produced four more children. He became busy taking care of his family, like we all do. But his absence in my life as I was growing up bothered me emotionally a great deal. I was in enough pain that I started smoking pot at about twelve years old and drinking alcohol at about thirteen whenever I could get it. Smoking pot lasted about twenty years, and I use alcohol to this day.
I found out that my mother became dissatisfied in their four year marriage and hooked up with a friend of my father's (while she was still married to my father). This new man in her life became my step-father, who raised me. I did not know this information until I was sixty years old, just a few months ago. All through my life none of my elders told me what really happened, not even my father. For at least fifty years I had misplaced blame for my parents' divorce. I blamed my father. When my father remarried, he was married until death, about forty-five years. My mother has been married four times during her life.
After learning this information now, I am in anguish thinking that if I had only known this information when I was twenty and was able to process it, maybe I could of had a relationship with my father over all of those years. In my humble opinion, I think the sexual revolution may have started a long time before the 1970's. My testimony to the negative effects of a divorce when children are involved is that I am sixty-one years old and I am still emotionally disturbed about my parents divorce that happened sixty years ago.
Submitted by R.A. October 2015.
Posted on: Tuesday, October 20, 2015
by s.f. (ny, ny)
When parents don't love each other, they don't love each others family. when they don't love each other's family, they don't love the family of their child. the child feels alone and can't show too much love or devotion to either side.
when the parents remarry and have children, they love that new spouse, and that new spouses family. the first child has to watch while the parent loves and gives preference to that new child's whole family.
this state can continue for the first child's entire life. watching the parents ignore 1/2 of the first child's family, and giving preference and love to the latter child's entire family.
i have lived this as the first child. the anger at the callousness and unfairness never really subsides. And then they wonder why you're angry and why you never really seem to "get over it."
when the parents don't love each other, they should just give the child up for adoption rather than making the child live like that.
Posted on: Thursday, August 27, 2015
I just want to say what my reaction was when I understood that night, when I was seven, what was the meaning of the word "divorce."
My entire sense of family as unity and sanctuary was swept away completely, as if the house itself had been taken away and we were all exposed to the elements and directed to fend for ourselves.
It brought on a sense of being unlovable, of possibly being at fault, of being horribly imperfect, of needing to be completely self-reliant, of needing to be perfect, of needing to never share any insecurity, problems, fears or anything else that might annoy other people.
Despite having been, in time, truly healed through grace, the wound ran deep. I was lucky in that I had two very good people as parents and had all 4 grandparents. Despite this obvious advantage, the lack of confidence, the lack of direction, and the cross of scrupulosity were crippling.
The grace of it is recognizing the same wounds in others; and knowing that just having the glimmer of an idea that we were individually created, by love and with a unique purpose, is an irresistible lure back to the trail that leaves one fascinated and starving for God and His love.
Between Mary Kay and Pro Life, God has put a fire in the belly, a courage and a generous, but always needing more of, patience. It is very easy to love when all these broken are seen as cherished children Jesus aches to bring to Heaven.
By J. A. Submitted August 25, 2015
Posted on: Friday, July 17, 2015
"Honestly I'm devastated by my sister's divorce. But I'll never tell her how much I miss my brother in law :/"
We found this sad image on Whisper.sh.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
My first step to help others is sharing my untold story.
I was born in 1969 and grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. My life as a child was not without tribulations but it was rich in memories of playing
outside, spending the summers on beautiful Cape Cod and spending time with family and friends. I live now in Canton, Georgia with my husband of thirteen
years and four beautiful children. Anyone who sees me and does not know my story would not see me as a victim or a survivor of anything, but I am a
refugee from nearly two decades of the Hook-Up Culture. The ideology of the Sexual Revolution, the belief that casual sex is harmless as long as you
use a condom, the notion that it is empowering for a woman to be free sexually, nearly killed me. I am moving into the realm of being a survivor. This
is my untold story.
Despite the bright and shiny veneer, my life for nearly two decades prior to meeting my husband of now 13 years and prior to us having our four beautiful children, was wrought with an ever-increasing darkness, degradation and hopelessness. For two decades my life was marked by alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse. This dark time, while not my fault, is my responsibility to share with others to expose the deceptions at work in my life through the culture.
What really crushed me spiritually and physically were my college years. Already partying and abusing alcohol in high school, I set off to Penn State “the party school”. At Penn State, I completely abandoned my faith and any notion of a spiritual life as I delved into Women’s Studies and other liberal academic pursuits. I learned that hooking up was not only acceptable but expected. One particular Frat Party during my Sophomore year marked the beginning of my spiral downward. I met a cute guy who really took an interest in me. We talked and I remember he had a great sense of humor, one that matched my sarcastic New England humor. He kept giving me beers and the sad thing is that his “generosity” did not even register as a “red flag” for me. That night he raped me in his room. I was intoxicated almost to the point of my usual black out. The next thing I knew a Rape Crisis team was whisking me to the ER or somewhere where I was given a physical exam. The doctor attending to me said that I sustained injuries and that this was no act of love. I met with a kind campus detective who showed me different pictures of suspects. The man I identified was in fact a serial rapist soon to be on trial from another victim. After that trauma, I became more sexually promiscuous. I blamed myself for the rape, living in shame and self-hatred. I slept with so many men I lost count after thirty.
My journey into survivorhood came when I met my husband. My husband was a devout Catholic who introduced me to the best and most highly skilled healing doctor in the world, Jesus Christ. My husband loved me into wholeness with acts not just words. He did sacrificial things for me that I never knew or even understood until after they were completed, things like fasting 40 days for my sobriety, praying over me in my sleep. You see my husband’s faith allowed him to see me as Christ sees me: spotless, without blemish. Then I began to see myself as being worthy of love. But the secret of my story is that his love brought me to my greater love: Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus Christ was I able to discover my true identity as an overcomer, a redeemed, beautiful, chosen, renewed, temple of the Holy Spirit. My one prayer is that God will use the transformation of my scars to help women reclaim the truth over their bodies, their lives.
Submitted on July 14, 2015.
Have you been harmed by sexual choices you made? Have you been harmed by the sexual, marital, or reproductive choices somebody else made? Please consider sharing your story. Go here to learn how.
Posted on: Friday, July 10, 2015
Dear Dr. Morse,
My name is Alicia. When I looked at the categories on your website, the one I wanted to select was "gay and lesbian lifestyle" refugee -- except in a peculiar way [Note from editor: Alicia is referring to the 12 Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, located here]. However, I've never had a lesbian relationship, and I've never been tempted to go out and get a girlfriend. It is also important for you to know that I have Asperger’s and that I am a Catholic convert.
I became active with an online community known as the Xena Online Community (XOC). It is for people who are fans of the Xena Warrior Princess TV series. The sexuality of the people on the board wasn't even a factor at first. The XOC had a large lesbian population but that wasn't the board's defining characteristic, and we had straight women and guys as well. Over time, the board became more skewed toward lesbian and the culture seemed to become more dysfunctional. I had many friendships that eventually fell apart.
That's my first problem when it comes to the marriage issue today. I don't know how to talk about it. I understand the way God's gift of sexuality works, I completely agree with the Church's teaching. I have done a lot of research but people on the XOC still called me a mindless sheep. That was actually where I ran into my first huge political struggle. It was right around the time the protect marriage amendment in Arizona went up for vote. At the beginning, the XOC people were pretty supportive of everyone's faith, but then people started posting the stuff about Christians being hateful. The militant lesbians of the XOC viewed the Xena board as their safe haven, and minorities like Christians were no longer welcome. That hurt, especially since the rules had changed on me without me knowing it. I've had a lot of friends, even Christian friends, post things in the last few days to the effect that Christians need to love people who identify as gay and lesbian before we do anything else. It hurts. I scream inside that I tried to do that, and they rejected me.
My first question: how do I cope with the memories of lost friendships? There are several people I used to be extremely close to who would now say that they hate me and I have no idea how much responsibility I bear.
My second question: how should I handle such situations in the future? The XOC was the first time in my life I'd felt accepted. The only advice I can get is "state your view charitably and agree to disagree." I guess that works in casual friendships, but it doesn't help much if your best friend just invited you to Gay Pride (completely out of the blue) and then took great offense when you said you couldn't go. The advice I usually get is "she shouldn't be your best friend, you should have other Christians" -- and I can't say anything out loud, but I always think that I tried to make best friends with other Christians and they rejected me. I don't think I can be effective in evangelizing unless I figure some of it out. If I make friends with someone, I give that person my whole self -- something I've had people tell me is a mistake.
Finally, a friend told me once that she didn't have a problem with me being Catholic, but that she had a problem with me refusing to give her blessing to her new same-sex relationship, then cited a couple of other Christians who'd just encouraged them. It seems like the world is exhorting us to keep our beliefs but be more loving in our expressions (whatever that means), and applauding "liberal" Christians who compromise.
I am looking for pastoral support on the questions outlined above. I would be honored to join the Ruth community, and I'm desperate for a spiritual director / pastoral support / resources on the emotional resonance of the marriage issue from the perspective from the outside.
Submitted on July 7, 2015.
Harmed by the Sexual Revolution? Go here to learn how to tell your story.
Posted on: Thursday, July 09, 2015
My parents divorced when I was about 9. I grew up in a home where marriage dysfunction was the norm. We went through 5 step moms. My brother and sister
all became close because we had to rely on each other.
I married my first wife when I was in my early twenties. I was emotionally very immature. I needed to be loved so I dated little and married fast. My 1st wife could not have kids so we adopted a beautiful boy. He was 3 weeks old. When our child was 3 years old we divorced, the child had an addictive personality and needed a dad, I was not there full time as my wife moved away. He became a drug addict and was in and out of jail. We tried to help him but as divided as we were, we were not much help. To make matters worse my second wife and I were battered in court for more child support so much that we decided to give me a vasectomy at the age of 30. The Dr. never even asked me why at such a young age, why would I want to sterilize myself. I could not imagine being beat up in court again because a marriage failed, the courts were used to hurt me because I hurt my wife by leaving her.
I'm now 57 and have been happily married for 18 years. I have one regret, it is I wish more than anything that I had children. I was emotionally dysfunctional when I first married, my family's role in the sexual revolution hurt me and I carried it on to hurt more people. Marriage is a beautiful thing, a sacrament in the Catholic church. Marriage is a moral obligation to raise our children and be a family. Its not a union of people that are selfishly focused on self pleasure. I have no children, I have no legacy because I messed up really bad. I just pray that my story can help a young person or couple from all the pain I inflicted on myself and others. God has the only plan that preserves families and your dignity, God wants what's best for you despite what your desires and hormones are telling you.
May God bless America! George
Submitted on July 8, 2015
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Posted on: Saturday, February 14, 2015
Life growing up was never easy for me. Maybe it was my sensitive temperament. I was shy, and a bit of a tomboy. Consequently, I was never popular in school. It was hard, but at least I had my family to turn to, right? I always had my brother to play with, and on occasion, my cousins too. But eventually things turned sour.
Occasional arguments between my parents turned into late night screaming matches. And I cried at night, trying hard to pretend I was asleep.
My father was not the perfect husband. He was often harsh and critical of my mother. She would say it was verbal abuse. Perhaps it was. But my mother was not perfect either. She responded to my fathers criticism by seeking comfort in another man. While I was too young to know about sex and affairs, I knew something felt wrong when he was around. My mom claims to this day that he was just a friend back then. But do you really need to kiss or have sex to have a emotional affair?
My parents separated on my 9th birthday. I'm not sure it really sank in right away. My dad offered to go to counseling, but my mom felt it was useless or too late. They fought like cats and dogs every time they see each other. They would constantly bad mouth each other in front of me and my brother. Finally a couple years passed and the divorce was finalized. My mother was free to marry the man she had befriended. On the surface I tried to be happy for her. I longed to live in a house again and have some stability.
But deep down inside, I hurt, and I hurt badly. But I was good at hiding the hurt. I was secretly depressed. Now, things were not good at school or at home. I tried to stay positive, but quite frequently I wished I'd die. My step father was no parent. He would occasionally make sexual innuendos at me. I was scared to shower when it was just me and him in the house. I would often hide in my bedroom, the basement, or ride my bike for hours. My brother had moved back with my father. We would see each other on the weekly visits, but things began to change with us as well.
I felt like a only child. I would get offended when people mistakenly or purposely called me by my step father's last name. You see, my maiden name was the only thing left I had to cling to of my parents marriage, and I wasn't giving it up for THAT last name.
I prayed and prayed that the Lord would save me from this pain. He did answer my prayer, but the healing took a long long time. I am grown up now, married with a family. I still get occasional boughts of depression, due largely from the insecurities I developed growing up.
My mother is divorced again, my father eventually remarried. My parents "get along" now when they see each other at family functions. But still, I admit, I sometimes resent the fact that, while both sets of my grandparents had been married for 50+ years, neither sets of my kids' grandparents are still together. My husband's parents are divorced too. Its definitely a game changer. I looked up to my grandparents marriages. Who will my kids look up to? Yes the sun has set on my parent's marriage, and I have accepted that it will never be repaired. And while the wounds of my past are not fresh, I know the scars are still there. They will always be there. Kids may move "past it", but they do not get "over it". It molds us to who we are, and its not always for the better.
Remember this when you choose divorce over reconciliation.