By Allan N. Schwartz
Were your parents divorced when you were a child or adolescent? Did your parents fight for control over you and your siblings? Did one of your parents try to turn you against the other parent? Did you get to visit and spend quality time with both your mother and father each?
Many people can answer yes to the first, second and third questions but no to the forth. With a more than fifty percent rate of divorce in the United States today most people can relate what it was like to live through a divorce with their parents. Unfortunately, they can also relate to what it was like to feel like pawns in the war that was waged by at least one parent against the other.
It is understandable that by the time two people are ready for divorce there are many angry, resentful and bitter feelings accumulated during the course of the marital relationship. Very few divorces are friendly and amicable with the former spouses becoming friends. Of course this does happen but it is more the exception than the rule. Having children to consider and care for does not seem to mediate the types of behavior displayed by many former spouses. In fact, all too often, the most resentful and angry of the two divorcing parents are all too willing to display a vindictiveness directed against the other parent by using the children as weapons in the divorce and post divorce war. These types of vengeful parents do not seem to understand that the only victims of this type of behavior are the children.
During my years as a psychotherapist I have experienced many cases in which parents wage bitter custody battles against one another. In these battles, one parent is attempting to obtain sole custody of the children while severely restricting the visiting rights of the other parent. Under these circumstances you might be led to believe that the battle was being waged against someone who was alcohol and drug addicted and was abusive to the children. At least that would make some sense of the angry situation. However, in all too many cases there is no such addictive or abusive process going on. Rather, the motivation of the vindictive parent is to exact revenge against the other parent for sins having been committed between the two of them and having to do with their relationship and having nothing to do with any legal or violent issues. For example, an angry wife and mother may feel so entirely disappointed by the divorce that she is swept away by anger, rage and the desire to punish the former spouse by demanding sole custody.
Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com