By: Kindall D.
My parents divorced when I was around 12 years old. I was still fairly young but old enough to understand that my parents had not been getting along and that something wasn’t right. I would see them argue and fight all the time. I’ll never forget once witnessing my mama trying to make my dad sleep on the couch. She was pulling the comforter and trying her best to remove him from their bed. She was arguing with him and my dad was just laying there stating he was not leaving the bed. I even remember at one point, my dad packed all of his things and got his own place while they were still married. I’ll never forget how happy my sisters and I were when my dad finally moved back in. They would make it work for a bit then they would be right back to arguing. Really, I never witnessed my parents being loving towards each other at all so when the divorce happened, it’s almost like I expected it.
As my parents were going through the divorce, my dad would often criticize my mother to my sisters and I by bringing up things she had supposedly done. He would talk bad about her and coax us into moving in with him once the divorce finalized.
“He would constantly blame my mother for the reason behind their divorce.”
When I was younger, I didn’t quite understand the damage this was doing to me. Fast forward to my young adulthood life, I thought I was never good enough for any man. I had it programmed in my head that if it didn’t work out, it was my fault. I was wired to think that I had to do it ALL in order for any man to be pleased with me. I didn’t quite understand how a man was supposed to treat me so I would stay with him no matter what.
“I would stay because I was so afraid that any man I was dating would leave me. I would try to hold on to them even when they weren’t treating me right.”
As I got older, I realized that what I was doing was a learned behavior. I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew about dating and love. I realized from several bad relationships that I was not supposed to accept this kind of treatment simply because it did not feel good. It did not feel right. I had to learn things the hard way.
My dad probably never fully realized the damage he was doing. I felt he just did not want to accept that his marriage didn’t work out. I also felt like he didn’t want my sisters and I to view him as “the bad guy.” He did not want to accept any blame in the divorce. For years I viewed my dad as someone who could do no wrong. I almost hated my mom due to my dad putting her down every chance he got. As I grew older into my late twenties, I started to make sense of everything and what was true and what was false. I started faulting my dad for all the bad relationships I had to endure. I felt everything he ever told me was a lie. I felt like I was betrayed.
I had to learn to accept my father as a man first, then a dad. I had to understand that he is human too and makes mistakes also. That’s how I forgave him. That’s how I allowed myself to heal and move on from that part of my past.
How do you think your childhood has shaped you? Do you think it’s a factor in how your love life is playing out?