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 Nearly 30 years after her parents' divorce, Melissa is finally ready to confront her mother with Gary's help.

"I feel like I have problems from my childhood loneliness or the negative voice in my head that [says] I'm not good enough. I just need you to know that you hurt me," Melissa says. "I wanted you there, and I needed you, and I missed you. It affected me that you weren't there. I just feel like, you know, you didn't care about us."

Get Gary's five steps to a constructive conversation about divorce.

Rosemarie is initially reluctant to say she feels bad about what happened after the divorce. "I feel I did the best I could. When I married Melissa's father, I married him for life. When we didn't stay together, it made me incredibly angry. It changed my relationship with my children."

Gary helps Rosemarie understand that Melissa is talking to her about things she felt she missed with her. "I want you to still be able to understand her experience as a child was different somewhat than the experience you think she had as a child," Gary says.

Rosemarie finally tells Melissa what she wasn't able to during the divorce. "I feel bad. I adored you. You were my sanity. [You] were the one that would start dinner. You were the one that would clean the house. I knew when I came home things would be okay," Rosemarie says. "You did a good job. You did, and I appreciated that from you. ... I'm sorry, honey, for any discomfort, pain, anything. You know that, right?"

"I do now," Melissa says.
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FROM: Adult Children of Divorce Confront Their Parents
Published on March 14, 2008

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