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Gary says Rosemarie's tendency to rely on Melissa for support was fundamentally unfair. "As much as we know how difficult it is for [parents going through divorce], we want them to get their own help," he says. "You can't lean on your child to that extent where she becomes your sanity."

Rosemarie says she has always laid the blame for the divorce on her ex-husband, and this has left her angry for a very long time. "You're displacing it onto everybody else because you can't deal with it with your ex anymore. He won't have it," Gary says. "So now you're stuck exploding it to everywhere else. I think a crucial moment for you and for your daughter was when you said, 'I don't feel bad because I did everything I could.'"

Gary says sympathy and empathy for adult children of divorce is a critical process for parents. "You can feel bad for your child and even what you did that contributed to that problem and pain, and it doesn't make you a bad person. We know you tried your best," he says. "These parents did not intentionally try to hurt their children. ... But until you can just feel what it was like to be your daughter at that time, she has tremendous difficulty going on."
FROM: Adult Children of Divorce Confront Their Parents
Published on March 14, 2008


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