Around 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce and a quarter of families are led by a single parent, so growing up estranged from one parent is not uncommon. However, it's hard to really understand, when you look at a statistic, how all the people who make up that number are really coping with the situation.
Having your parents divorce is hard at any age, but particularly as a child when you are not privy to all the details and aren't yet old enough to really understand the situation in it's entirety.
Musician and Table Manners podcaster Jessie Ware has just reflected on what it’s like to navigate the whirling emotions that come after a bad divorce, discussing the feeling of failure around not being able to forgive her dad for cheating on her mum when Ware was a child.
Speaking on the How To Fail podcast with Elizabeth Day, Ware said: 'I was thinking about whether one of my failures should be about forgiveness because I didn’t speak to my father for years.
'I felt incredibly loyal to my mother, I felt like I took on the role of being like the dad in the house. We were all incredibly hurt by him and what he had done – he cheated on my mum, lots of people have that story. And there was the deceit.
'The way I thought I could support my mum – even though she didn’t want us not to see him, she never, ever said that – I felt like my loyalties lay with her. Even though she’d be saying ‘you should see your father, he’s your only father, he wants to see you.
'And it was my way of having a sense of control and power over punishing him: not speaking to him, the silent treatment, having that control. I regret it now because I actually think [of] the impact it had on all of us – because we all became a unit, my brother and my sister, we all stuck together and none of us were going to see him. I think we were just so hurt.'
Although everybody has their own story, with its own complicated mess of emotions and memories, Ware’s words will likely strike a chord with many people whose parents split up while growing up.
She went on to describe what her relationship is like with her father now, noting that it has been much better since she had children of her own. But, according to Ware, there was still so many 'words that were left unsaid'.
She added: 'I can have an acid tongue and I particularly know how to rile him and hurt him – it’s from this place of being an angry, hurt teenager who started to not speak [to my dad] when I was about 13.
'It was very destructive and it impacted my siblings and I in very different ways and I’ll never forgive him for that, but equally, people make mistakes. I’m still so impressed by him and respect him a lot.'
Jessie’s words will hopefully offer some reassuring guidance for anyone who still feels lost or is struggling to navigate their emotions around divorce at the moment.
If you are going through a divorce and are worried about your children or are struggling with the emotions around divorce in any way, you can find more information and support via Relate. For any general enquiries or to book an appointment with a counsellor, phone 0300 0030396 or contact your nearest local Relate.
Subscribe to Red now to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like