(Closed) My parents' marriage screwed me up- anyone else??

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
2093 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Being single & loving it was one of THE most liberating things I did in my whole life. I’m 35, getting married for the first time in the SOUTH… The land of young marriage & babies galore. 


I used to be terrified of being single & never married. The Universe is funny in that, exactly what I feared I had to face after a broken engagement. 


I encourage you to stay in therapy and do things to increase your self-esteem. 


Post # 4
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Getting divorced in my mid-20s was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I much preferred being single in my mid to late 20s than my late teens and early 20s.  Don’t be in such a rush to get married.  I was and once I was married I had the horrible realization that there was nothing left to do except raise children and die.  Because I spent so much time focusing on meeting the guy and getting married, I never really did anything else so the marriage really didn’t go anywhere and I was divorced by my third anniversary.

I think part of me wanted to show that I was mature and could have a better marriage than my parents who divorced when I was 12.  They got married right out of high school so I figured waiting until after I graduated from college, I was in the clear and it was expected to get married.

What I found out much later was that there is a community of awesome young professionals that range in age from their mid-20s to their mid-30s that just enjoy being single, going out, and dating, without pressuring themselves to get married quickly.  I fell in with this crowd and got to really enjoy being young, single, and without kids or major responsibilities like a mortgage.  I went out every time somebody asked or it was a holiday or a Friday Happy Hour or a Sunday Funday beach day.  So long as it wasn’t illegal and I wasn’t going to hurt myself doing it I made sure to join in.  Along the way I made amazing friends who were also just enjoying being single and saving the worrying about marriage for later.

I will say that when he’s ready to propose, he will do it.  Some guys seem to have a switch and wake up one day ready to marry the next girl they date.  If you spend all of your relationship worrying yourself and naggin him about a proposal, it may never come.  Find a way to enjoy your life as it is and if you aren’t satisfied it may be more about not being satisfied with your life than wanting to get engaged and married pronto.

Post # 5
4272 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

It is a really long story so I will sum up my parent’s marriage the best I can: Infidelity, Suicide Threats, Physical Fights, Forcing kids to choose sides, Children outlet for anger by mother, Divorce, Forced to write testimony against my father, custody battles, therapy for children……

While I have a pretty happy marriage, I will say that it did impact my self-esteem quite a bit. I was terrified of serious relationships. In highschool and pretty much all through college I jumped from one relationship to the next. I was a major bitch to some of these poor guys too. I kid you not I would go on probably three dates in one day sometimes. I would usually stop calling if I felt it was getting too serious. I know awful….I remember one guy calling me out on it when I got an email from him. “Hey, I thought we had a great day yesterday. You havn’t been answering my calls and it has been weeks. What gives?”. I never responded to him. I just didn’t trust anyone. I thought they were all going to hurt me eventually so why bother. Obviously I got over it, but it took awhile. I think I turned my husband down 4 or 5 times when he was trying to ask me out.

My mom’s continued bitterness is still an issue to this day. I try my best to ignore it but yes she does get under my skin quite a bit.

Post # 6
2305 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

My parents relationship and divorce effected me- it made me afraid to be in a relationship. I always said I wouldn’t get married, because in my eyes, marraige ended up with people spreading lies, fights, court- just a mess. I had more control being single, since there wasn’t anyone to fight with and take half my stuff.

I’ve been in therapy for my depression, and one of the things we’ve talked about is my parents relationship, and how it effects my relationship with my SO. I have trust issues, because I just expect him to one day stop loving me, and packup and leave. Because that’s what always happend to my mom (she’s been divorced now twice), and I had really no other example. I ask my SO pretty much every week if he still loves me. I’m a high maitnence person because of my mental illness, and I feel bad that he stays with me.

But here’s what my therapist tells me- My SO is a grown man. He is not with me because I want him to be, but because HE wants to be with me. It’s not a one way street, and he is capable of making his choices, and his choice is me. I have to remind myself everyday that he wants to be with me, he chose me, and I chose him, and right now, we are happy. 

It’s hard getting over the whole “well eventually he might leave me” feeling, but relationships end in one of two ways- heart break or death. I’d rather try to be happy where I am now then worry about how our relationship will end. It’s hard, and I work on it every day, but it’s worth it!

Post # 7
2375 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Historically, women have it harder in divorces.  Why?  Because overwhelmingly they are less educated so they make less money and usually have been out of the work force due to children.  it’s a lot harder to come back emotionally when you don’t know how you’re going to pay rent, let alone feed the kids. 

If you want to actually do something about your fear of being single, learn to become independent.  Finish your education.  Have a career.  Have a financial nest egg.  Have friends, especially girlfriends that are also independent.  Freedom doens’t mean single.  I’m free because I know if, gods forbid, my fiance dropped dead tomorrow, I’m financially ok.  I don’t NEED him for anything.  I love him with all my heart, and I WANT him with me, but I’m self sufficient. 

Also, the key to confidence is faking it.  I know that sounds silly, but it’s true.  Hold your head up and walk tall.  When you tell yourself every day that you’re rocking your outfit, that you feel great, your brain starts believing it.  When you force your head up and your spine straight every day, it becomes natural. 

Post # 8
2457 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

It sounds like your parents did leave you with a lot of insecurity issues and helped with your lack of self-confidence. Mine did the same to me (Divorced as a kid, had to go to court, both remarried, re-divorced, anger issues with brothers, dad moved to another state). I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I was in a relationship and feared him leaving me more than anything. Poor guy, too, didn’t understand why I was so worried about it, but told me all the time he loved me.

I wish I had some super sound advice about this, but honestly, it was something I grew out of with time, and with love. I surrounded myself with some really great people who would do anything for me and made me feel loved, and I loved them, and it really helped me to cope with how I felt with all of that, and helped me to see the great things about myself that everyone had been telling me all along. I started doing things for myself, and following my career dreams. Now, I wasn’t single this entire time, but I had long bouts of being single where I was able to experiment and grow as a woman and individual.

When I met my DH, there was just something about him. He makes me feel so loved and secure, and I have never doubted for a moment that he would leave me. The minute I realized that, I knew that I have overcome a lot of my teenage/young adult issues. They’re not totally gone, but I have learned to love myself and be okay with who I am, and to trust my husband to love me and treat me the way I deserve.

Post # 9
4369 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
@Coral99:  Absolutely agree. Being single gave me time to be comfortable with myself and learn about myself as a person, not as part of a couple. 

Post # 10
8035 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@anon00:  Yup, my parents divorced and my SO is divorced so I’d by lying if I said it had no impact on me.

I definitely made some stupid relationship choices when I was younger, probably partly because of it.

I learned a valuable lesson, though… being single is much better than being in a bad relationship.

I am not sure why you have the view that being single is the kiss of death. I expected to read about how you are afraid to marry/commit. Just because your mom made some bad choices doesn’t mean you have to. I was single at the age of 25… after being in a bad on/off relationship for 5 years. It was terrifying at first but I grew to really enjoy it. After a year I started dating my SO. I think that experience was good for me. Of course I got lonely, but I knew that I could take care of myself if necessary. I also learned what I will and won’t put up with in a relationship.

I would think long and hard as to why you want to get married – make sure it’s for the right reasons. You’re young yet so there’s no rush. And yes, doing some things independently is always a good idea. Start small… go for a walk around the block by yourself. Take a class. Go to a movie with a friend.

Post # 11
5949 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@anon00:  I think childhood is a hurdle we spend the rest of our lives trying to get over…even in the best of circumstances, things affect us in negative ways, in spite of our parent’s best intentions.

My parents have been married for 36 years, and growing up was idyllic, if not almost fictionally great at times…both of my parents are highly intelligent, progressive thinkers who advocated my brother and I following our own conclusions and observations to their logical end over taking an authority figure at their word JUST BEAUSE THEY SAID SO and combine that with a rather confusing dynamic of discpline and free range parenting, and what you get are kids that can think for themselves, are comfortable in adult situations, conversations and can usually out think any person they come across as well as being fiercly independant and confident.

That being said, my father’s narcissistic tendencies and my mother’s passive acquiescence made it rather clear that as much as we were loved and adored, there was a point at which we were no longer a priority in ratio to my father’s ego or my mother’s need to placate it.

I cannot speak for my brother, but I know that it was a HUGE battle for me in the early years of my marriage to really trust Mr. 99, having been let down by the central male figure of my childhood time after time, I was completely unaware of just how hardened I had been by my father….who is a product of his own horrid upbringing, so dont’ hate on Daddy99 ladies, he’s a stellar guy in so many ways, if not totally messed up in the emotional department.

Either way, I mistook my protective measures in intimate relationships for self confidence and almost tanked our marriage in the process, because I was really waiting for Mr. 99 to let me down…and almost putting him in situations where there was no alternative but for him to fail…it was a bizarre little battle, but when he finally figured it out and called me on it…I tumbled like a house of cards, in our laundry room, incidentally….

and it was at that moment, a crying, gasping, frightened little girl showed herself and I’ve never felt so strong, letting him see that…Dad may have failed that little girl, but I wasn’t going to, and if my intelligence had gotten me anything, it was a marriage with a man that got me, under all the glamour and charisma…he knew what he was REALLY married to, and loved me anyway, and as much as he likes the Full Nona..as he calls her, his favorite person is the me, that no one else sees…and that is someone I didnt anyone would like…even me.

My point is, we all have moments of revelation, and that was mine…I had to wait 27 years to get it, and honestly it was frightening, and painful and generally unpleasant…but I’m better for it and a happier, healthier person and more available and confidant partner to Mr. 99, which is what he deserves.

Good luck either way, don’t be afraid to take the journey!

Post # 15
2305 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

View original reply
@anon00:  The best thing I did for myself was make friends out side of “Us”. I joined a roller derby league, and made female friends who wanted to be friends with ME. I have anxiety issues as well, and I rely heavily on my SO, but being able to do something small for me has helped me so much. 

I worry about everything, all the time. I worry about what happens if my SO gets bored, dies, packs up, whatever. I worry that my relationship will fall apart, and I will never have another meaningful one ever again. But I don’t let those worries bother me. I acknowledge them, I talk to my therapist or my SO about them, and I move on. Chances are I wil never stop worrying about life- that’s who I am regardless of my mental illnesses, but I don’t let them control me. I have before, and it’s a very scary world to live in. 

Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you are who he wants to be with, and you deserve it. Try talking to him about it. my SO knows all about my weird tendancies, and he has helped me through them, when they get the best of me and I sit down in our bed crying because I just KNOW he’s gonna leave me that night, because I burnt the food (which is all just in my head and not reality). It really sounds like you need to find something other then him to have- a hobby, a group, whatever. Branch out a bit to remind you what it’s like to be You and not a We. 


Post # 16
1176 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

If you’re not making significant progress on these issues, you might need to switch therapists. Therapy isn’t something you should have to spend years in to get anywhere.

Having read a lot of your posts now, I think you could benefit from CBT.

The topic ‘My parents' marriage screwed me up- anyone else??’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors