9 of 15
Together for the first time in nine years, the family's healing process begins with the girls opening up about their decade of pain. Colleen admits that she often treated Mollie more like a close girlfriend than a daughter. "I was really trying hard to manipulate your father," she says. "I just really wanted to save the marriage."

Jessica says she wishes her parents would have been more present. "Mom, you just, shut down emotionally for a while," she says. "And, Dad, just maybe not enough talking about it. That just kind of made us feel like he didn't care as much or weren't hurting as bad as we all were."

Amy says she wanted her parents to speak up more. "I think I was most angry about not being sort of made to talk about issues that I had," she says. Although Colleen says Amy's anger "scared the daylights" out of her, Tim says he thought they did the best they could. "We did get a lot of, 'Do you want to talk about it?' 'No,'" he says. "That may have been the response that we wanted. Maybe we didn't want to have to try and push you a little harder," Tim says.

Gary says if kids won't talk about divorce, it's probably because they don't want to hurt their parents. "It's the parents' job to say, ' I'm big enough. I'm capable. You can tell me whatever you need to tell me,'" Gary says.

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

Tim promises to work on his communication. "From this point on, I will not give up when you tell me that, 'I'm okay' and 'I don't want to talk about it,'" he says.

Colleen also apologizes to her family. "I'm sorry that I hurt you, and that I didn't listen when you needed me to listen, or that I wasn't there when you needed me to be there," she says.

After the talk, Jessica says she feels hopeful, and Mollie feels better knowing her parents understand what she went through. "It gives me hope that even though they're still divorced, I don't have to see it so broken," Amy says.
FROM: Adult Children of Divorce Confront Their Parents
Published on March 14, 2008


Next Story