My mother's lifelong divorce
My mother had 5 children. When her youngest was 3 years old (and I was 11) she decided to work whereupon financial issues came to plague her marriage.
My parents are Chinese immigrants who stereo-typically save as much as they can however my parents could not agree on a spending plan. My mother's income gave my father the excuse to earn less and save more - for himself.
The marriage headed steadily south for many years after that, many yelling at top of lungs fights, stewing silence and constant tension.
This went on for years until I was 20, a senior in college. After years fighting, talking about my father behind his back, alienating the children from her husband, my mother finally contacted an attorney to start the divorce process.
They went to court whereupon she had my 3 younger siblings testify against my father's parenting abilities.
As an adult, I recognize how utterly self-absorbed my mother was to do this to her teen children. The fact was, there was nothing to be gained from this gesture except lifelong regret from my siblings. Their accusations about my father were exaggerated by their siding with my mother.
The fact is, kids shouldn't have to choose sides but my mother made them.
The worst part is after the court hearing she ubruptly changed her mind about pursuing a divorce.
And so their marriage slogged on unhappily for another few years until the youngest child was ready to attend college.
Coincidentally, my mother decided it was time to move out right that summer. She finally separated by purchasing a house nearby.
My father was not a role model by any means, he cheated on his wife, physically abusive to his kids, left to have fun in Asia half of each year, did not extend any support to his children for college. However, he would not use his children to hurt his spouse.
My mother could have left much much earlier, she qualified for a decently sized mortgage. But she stayed with her husband out of financial convenience and exposed her 5 children to a hopeless marriage for many years. We grew up without an inkling of what constituted a good relationship. This is not a good foundation for daughters.
Several of my siblings have been in therapy for the past 10 years. My father died 4 years ago but my mother still rails about him with deep fury. There was so much damage, and yet my mom can't stop blaming my father.
I was alienated from my father after college, but began communicating and seeing him again a few years later. My understanding of their dynamics was slow to evolve. It took me a long time to figure out that my mom could have left a lot sooner. At this point of my life (48 years old) I spend a lot of time wondering how she could do all this to her kids.