The Kids Are All Right… Or Are They?

You hear all the time that kids are resilient. Maybe they are. Maybe they acclimate to change a lot better than adults do. But even kids have their breaking points.

Both of my kids are on anti-anxiety and depression medication. The last medication she was on caused her to have suicidal ideations and feelings of self-harm. Does that sound resilient to you?

Rock Star was a sophomore in high school when she broke down one day at the thought of getting a B in a class. She felt enormous pressure to maintain a 4.0 so that she would be eligible for scholarships. Getting a B in her eyes meant she was failing and she wouldn’t get any money for college. I would have no way to pay for it and she might never become a nurse.

My daughter has always been a high achiever but I had never seen her like that before. She was 15 years old and had the weight of the world on her shoulders. That’s what her father’s affair did to her. Harley may be happy. Daddy may be happy. But my kid was a tightly wound ball of anxiety already.

If that wasn’t enough she was forced to move 600 miles away from her new friends and her new life a few months later. She had to start all over.

She was never happy here. She rarely brought friends over. Her senior year she ended up in an abusive relationship. To this day she still won’t tell me everything that happened. Just says it’s okay because everything she’s been through has made her stronger and brought her to where she is now.

Last year she cried when she called me, asking for rent money. She freaked out about going to the hospital when she got sick and nothing seemed to be working on her.

If kids are so resilient then why, five years later, does it still hurt her when she sees a father actually being a father to his daughter? Why does she still ache at the realization that she will never have that with her own father? Why does it still hurt when she remembers him walking right by her and then out the door into a new life without saying a single word to her? He left that day and moved to another state. Aside from her graduation he has not once traveled up to see either of his kids.

When she was home a few weekends ago she mentioned finding a therapist and her nurse practitioner putting her on new medication because her old medication wasn’t working any longer. I asked her a question about it and her response was something about childhood trauma issues.

Now, my child has been very vocal about the fact that she had a wonderful childhood so I was worried that I had missed something big. No, that wasn’t it. Apparently childhood trauma can be anything that happens before the age of 18. 

Her response when asked, “What childhood trauma?” was, “My father abandoning me and walking out of my life when I was 15.”

Children are resilient and yet five years later my daughter still needs therapy to deal with these unresolved issues. Five years later and her latest medication, the one that is supposed to help with the depression and anxiety, actually caused her to want to kill herself. On a positive note, her daddy and his whore are happy. If destroying her life was what it took to bring them to this place in their lives then, hey, who are we to stand in the way of their happiness?

Maybe it was a coincidence but up until the time her parents were divorcing she didn’t deal with anxiety. She was never medicated for depression or anxiety. She was never a bundle of raw, fragile nerves all the time. She didn’t complain of things “stressing her out” on a regular basis. Perhaps even if Jerry Lee and I had remained together she would still need medication for anxiety and depression. But I doubt it. She led a charmed life and there was never a need for it up until this point.

While Picasso was not nearly as enamored of Virginia as Rock Star was he has had his own problems. I suppose it could be a giant coincidence. God knows he had his issues when his dad and I were together.

He is more of an introvert than Rock Star and he can get overwhelmed with large groups of people. He also had some serious meltdowns after moving to Virginia which I attribute to losing all of his friends that he had known pretty much his entire life. It was a lot to wrap his head around. He did not like Virginia and did not like most of the people he encountered.

He actually really spread his wings when we moved. He prefers being around my side of the family and he was quickly accepted at his new school. Then he entered high school one year later and everything went to hell.

Nonetheless, he was not on anxiety or depression medication before the divorce. Now, five years later he’s taking medication for both of those and has been regularly seeing a therapist for almost a year. 

I would imagine it can’t be easy to have your father pretty much disown you when you’re a 13 year old boy. One day your dad is telling you that your parents haven’t been happy since having kids and the next day you never speak to him again.

I remember taking him to see a therapist right before D-Day because of his meltdowns regarding school. The therapist asked him if he had a magic remote control what he would have it do. “I’d make it so that my dad was better and he would play video games with me again and we could do the things we planned to do, like building a theater room.”

I remember him asking me if we were still going to keep Granny and Poppy in our life. I told him that they were his grandparents and I understood if he wanted to see them but I wasn’t going to be around them because they had betrayed me. I’m not sure exactly how I put it anymore, but the gist of it was, “I’m not going to but you are free to; I expect it and I encourage it.” At 13 years of age he decided, “No, I don’t think I can ever trust them again.”

That’s the part these people don’t realize. Their lying, cheating love isn’t just lying to the clueless spouse. In many instances they’re lying to the innocent children as well.

Both of my kids sympathized with their father and his supposed PTSD. He even admitted later that he was “probably” trying to create a distance so that it wouldn’t hurt so bad when he lost them. So generous of him.

My daughter wrote a research paper on it. My son sympathized and comforted him. Hell, if he had a magic remote control he wouldn’t use it to gain material goods; he would use it to make his father better so that they could do father-son things once again.

The damage he did was enormous. Five years later it reverberates throughout their lives. Therapy. Medication. Shitty relationships. Anxiety. Depression. Suicidal feelings. Crying. Fear. Hatred. Indifference. A longing to matter.

I’m not so sure kids are resilient. I think they don’t really have a choice in the matter. For some reason that inability to choose, and therefore, the need to roll with the punches, is called resilience. I wonder how they spin the anxiety, depression, and medication…

One thought on “The Kids Are All Right… Or Are They?

  1. Hug
    My personal opinion is once I accept a situation just is, I can find a way to live with it. I hate this, and I struggle with it, but it is always true.

    For the first year after ex left I felt it was very unfair. Unfair to expose your kids to an affair, unfair to abandon your kids and move away, unfair to have another baby who is related to your first kids, unfair to leave your wife after 25 years, unfair that people still liked him. Unfair that I had to be the sane parent, and do everything.

    It drove me crazy. I was so paranoid.

    Then, I stopped feeding my justified anger and just accepted there would never be an answer or explanation that made sense. He just is a selfish asshole.

    It’s been almost 2 years since d day and my life is simple. My kids seem pretty happy. My daughters severe anxiety has improved. I think ex was THE PROBLEM. Or, maybe she saw that I couldn’t manage everything and has grown up a bit. I can’t say, but I’m happy she is sometimes happy.

    I do know an easy divorce helped. The fact I was financially secure in my own job helped. Ex admitting he was an asshole and running away helped.

    I hope my kids look back at their childhood and see challenges and opportunities and parents who loved them and got sober and spent the next 6 years having fun.

    I hope they see their dad as a flawed and selfish person whose behaviour was only about him.

    I hope they see me as always having their back and being their for them.

    I wish I could have protected them from many things. I know I can’t protect them from the world. Being the mom is hard.

    Hugs to you. Your are doing a great job.

    Anne

    Liked by 2 people

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