Well that's an understatement. I'd say it's hard to have a conversation at all when your parents get divorced. In fact, this is how some of my conversations with my parents went right after their divorce:
Mom: "Hi Honey, how are you?"
Mom: "What's new?"
Mom: "Are you okay?"
Crickets. (Clearly I was SO not okay.)
Mom: "Okay, well, I guess I'll let you go."
I had nothing to say to her. I didn't even know where to start. How do you answer the question, are you okay? That's like asking, "I just hit you in the head with a shovel...oh and kneed you in the groin. How are you feeling?"
How am I feeling? Quite frankly, like shit (excuse the language, but just being as honest as possible.)
I used to wonder if it was just me. Are other ACOD's able to communicate with their parents naturally? Will I ever be able to communicate with them naturally again? Or has that been lost forever?
Luckily, I've begun to discover that the last question is not true. But my parents' divorce has certainly made communication much tougher. It's a struggle to keep my emotions in check when I talk to them. In the days, weeks and even months after their divorce, I just flat out didn't speak to my parents. I tried to forget that they even existed. Clearly, that didn't work. Because the truth is, I still need them in my life.
Things are different now. I have to put more energy and effort into my communication with my parents. Sometimes it's like a minefield, there are so many topics to avoid. But we're talking. And that's a start. It's definitely still a bit one-sided, as much of the conversation is focused on my life. But I'm starting to feel more comfortable asking them how they're doing. And yes, even talking about the divorce. I still tense up and I still get upset (and yes, even cry or yell), but I find that with every conversation, it gets a little bit easier. I've learned that I can have a conversation with my parents and still be in control. We don't have to talk about what I don't want to. If a difficult subject comes up, I can shut it down. I have the power to control how I react to the conversation and the direction I want it to go.
If you're in this situation and feeling like you need a break from talking to your parents, don't feel guilty. I took that break and it was good for me. It helped get me away from a really chaotic situation and sort out how I felt about everything. But a word of caution: don't let too much time go by without speaking to them. It will only allow bitterness to fester and may distance you from them in a really negative way. Only you can decide what kind of a relationship you want with your parents. Just make sure you're aware of the decisions you're making and how they may affect your relationship with them long-term. My advice? Keep the lines of communication open...if they're not operating at the moment. You never know when you may need them.
Need to talk, vent, cry, yell (through the virtual world), pout, sulk, etc.? I'm here. Just email me at acod16@gmail. Trust me, it's just as therapeutic for me to hear from you. Shows me I'm not alone, you know?