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My Parents Always Put Me in the Middle of Their Divorce

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From a teen in the U.S.: My parents have been separated for 2 years. At first I was very upset with my mom because she cheated on my father. Eventually I’ve grown past the anger I felt towards her but my dad is still very bitter. She got a lot of my dads money in the divorce, he is obviously upset about that which I understand. I feel like the details of their divorce and the problems in their marriage are none of my business which is why I try my best to stay out of it.

I’ve asked my dad not not talk to me about it because it upsets me. My dad expects me not to love my mom because of what she has done to him and he tried to force information soon me. I’ve asked him so many times not to but he just doesn’t stop. Tonight he sent to group message to my mom, myself, and my little sister calling my mom a whore for cheating on him and stealing his money. This is obviously very upsetting.

My dad is kind of unstable and I feel like I’m walking on egg shells around him because it just takes one smalll thing to set him off. He tries to pin me against my mom by telling me horrible things about her. And I’ll admit sometimes it works but I don’t want to hate my mom and I feel it’s unfair for my father expect me to not love her for what she has done to him. At the same time I don’t agree with what my mom had put him through it it makes me very sad to see how depressed he is because of her.

Am I wrong to still love my mom even though I know she has hurt my dad so deeply? And is it wrong for me to be upset with my dad for involving me and trying to make me hate my mom? I’m so worried about my dad it just seems like bad things keep happening to him and I’m concerned he might be suicidal. I want to be there for my dad because he’s going through a lot bit I can’t imagine my life without my mom. I’m trying to hold everyone up and keep the peace and make sure everyone else is okay but I feel like I’m drowning.

My Parents Always Put Me in the Middle of Their Divorce

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing. For your father to involve you in his fight with your mother is very, very unfair. You cannot and should not be his confessor, his therapist, or his ally against your mom. His fight with your mom is his fight with your mom.

My guess is that there is more to your parent’s divorce than your father is willing to admit or understand. Your mom didn’t “take his money”. A court of law awarded it to her. You don’t need to know why. It’s enough to know that there are generally two sides to the break down of a marriage. The court already dealt with that. You don’t need to.

Children of divorce can and do love both parents. You are not required to take sides. Often parents who were not good for each other are still loving and capable parents. Just because they can’t get along with each other does not mean that they can’t have a good relationship with you.

You cannot single handedly manage the stress of trying to “hold everyone up”. IT’s not your job!! I hope there are people in the extended family that you can look to for some support and help. Turn the care of your dad over to relatives or adult friends you trust. Your school counselor may be able to help you find a therapist to provide you with some support and some practical help. Often a therapist will ask parents to come in, either together or separately, to work on getting kids like you out of the middle.

I support you in refusing to talk to either parent about the other. Politely decline to comment if either bring it up. Remind them that you love them both. Change the subject. Respectfully withdraw from the conversation or leave the room. Reassure you dad that you do love him but loving him does not require that you hate your mom.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Parents Always Put Me in the Middle of Their Divorce

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Parents Always Put Me in the Middle of Their Divorce. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/07/15/my-parents-always-put-me-in-the-middle-of-their-divorce/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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