So, my dad sent me an email on my birthday because he was concerned that in my emails I “specifically omit mention of her or to even ask how she is doing.” We have a really rough history. Basically, my dad being the head of the household failed in some terrible ways.
When he decided to leave my mom for Tracey, he did not choose to explain the decision to his two almost adult/young adult children. He sat me down and explained to me that Tracey was now the most important person in his life, not his children, and anyone that made her uncomfortable would have to exit his life. Both parents spoke ill of one another and (although he will not admit it now/mom has), they made us choose sides.
It turns out that many parents that divorce with children of an adult age make these mistakes:
More even than learning to see their parents (and themselves) in a new light, adult children of divorce can be stressed by the demands placed on them by parents. In the trauma of divorce, parents can overstep the healthy boundaries of their children by treating them as supportive friends.
Leaning on an adult child as a confidant, badmouthing the other parent, using the child to carry messages between their parents, or telling the child, “You’re just like your mother/father!” are ultimately all abuses of the parent-child relationship (2), and can be detrimental to the adult child’s own healing and development. Most parents would never consider treating young children in this manner.
I did not realize that there are groups for this overlooked collection of people (ACOD). I really thought I was crazy.