"Dr. Hirsch discusses the Broken Circle Project with Nick, Jessie and Karen.


My parents divorced when I was six months old, so I have never seen my parents living together or raising me together. I am usually the communicator between my parents so I am always involved in every decision that is made about me. Sometimes I wish my parents would be able to talk to each other and figure things out without having to communicate through me.

I wish that I would have been able to see a functioning relationship as I was growing up so I would know what a healthy relationship should be like for me in my future. I usually view relationships as a waste of time and feel like I don’t need an emotional or intimate relationship. I often see them as automatically going to fail and therefore, not worth my time.

Being a child of divorce has probably had the biggest impact on me – more than any other event in my life – but I have learned so much about what I want, and I hope I can develop a life-long relationship, raise healthy and happy kids, and be a good role model for my children in the future.     Sydney



The divorce of my parents was a great satisfaction to me, because it meant the end of fights and the beginning of a new stage in my life with a lot of peace. I had to become the man of the house during adolescence and take some responsibilities because my father left our home.

This event has helped a lot with my personal growth, because I became a more independent and secure person. Despite the distant relationship between my brothers and me with my father, it got better because, due to his absence at home, he paid more attention to us.

I learned that a divorce is not something to get traumatized about, but better yet a new opportunity to create wonderful things in your life; when two people don’t get along well, it is better to get separated - everyone deserves to be happy.     Arturo



My sister and I grew up in a family with a single pillar that was my mother; supported always and unconditionally by my maternal grandmother. When I am asked if this has affected me, I usually say I doubt it, but I know that it has. I think perhaps it has affected my way of thinking, of not needing a man to do “men’s” stuff, and also no fear of raising a child by my own if I don’t have a partner, etc.

It is difficult to know whether my life would have been better if my father had been with us during these years, but surely it would have been different. I respect both of my parents, but give special thanks to my mother - for the courage, strength and her unconditional support to motivate us to move forward.     Clara



I was pretty lucky with my situation. My brother and I were around 8 – 10 years old, and our parents were able to remain good friends after they split up. My mom was struggling with her idea that she was a lesbian, and when she knew she was, they got divorced. It affected my brother at the time a little more than it did me, but the situation to us quickly became water under the bridge because of our parents’ great relationship with one another.     Jon



I was 5 or 6 years old when my parents divorced. I had sensed tension for a while, so in a sense it was almost a relief when my dad moved out. I had a really hard time adjusting to bouncing between two households. The majority of my time was spent with my mom and I remember always missing my dad a lot. After my parents divorced I never wished for them to get back together because I knew that it simply wouldn’t work. Our family was more functional in two households.

Now I have major doubts about the possibility of a lasting, happy marriage. I think this is what gives me the most anxiety about relationships – after many years, no matter how great those years are, they can fall apart. If I find the right person I won’t let that stop me, but I know it will be hard to get past that. All of my relationships have been filled with anxiety about my partner leaving me or not wanting to be together anymore – especially towards the beginning.     Anney



My parents' divorce has caused me to dwell on the past and worry about the future. I've wasted so much time and opportunities in my recent life. Giving up that mentality can be very difficult. Divorce brings depression, yes – but what is worse is the stagnation that poisons your being. You lose faith in yourself and become content with your "broken family" situation. You accept it, and do so in a pessimistic and bitter manner.

I feel lucky that the raw impacts of divorce came into my life at a later time. I can't imagine having to struggle with such a deeply personal experience as a child. It has strengthened me as an adult, but probably would've broken me as a kid.     Bijan



My parents divorced when I was in fourth grade and I was completely blindsided by it. I remember reading a book about a girl close to my age whose parents were divorced and being delighted with the idea of double the toys and double the birthday presents! This was not the case and I learned very quickly just how angry my father was at my mother by enduring countless rants where he would slander every possible aspect of my mom.

As far as marriage for me, I find it to be a very dire quest. I grow anxious sometimes at the weight of having to choose the right "one" to marry on the first try, because I do not want to become a statistic. I know what the odds are for a successful marriage nowadays, let alone a marriage with a daughter from a divorced family. While I wish I could take away the pain my parents divorce made for everyone involved, I am also grateful for the insight and foresight it has brought me.     Kira


My parents separated before I was born, so I was raised with the idea that not living with both parents was something normal and for a long time I didn’t recognize the impact that the separation of my parents had on me. I grew up without brothers, just with my mother. The relationship with my father has not been very close. Just recently I started to reflect on the effect that being the son of separated parents has had on me; and contrary to what I thought at the beginning, this situation has influenced a lot in my personality.

One of the influences that the separation of my parents has had on me is the way I relate to other people. I always have given more importance to family and friends, and never paid too much attention to romantic relationships. I now see at this age my friends care to have stable and enduring romantic relationships, however for me this is not a priority and I have never included them in my priorities.     Omar



fraternal twins
This is definitely a topic we never talk about. I hope to get married and have a happy family and that we stay together, but in trying to find someone I know I have no standards for the guy to live up to, and I’m always afraid to stand up for what I want because I’m afraid they’ll say I’m a needy girlfriend and leave. I never had a person, on the male side, to tell me how I should be treated and how I’m special and only deserve someone who treats me right. It was a long path trying to learn that all by myself. Teagan (left)

This is a topic for me that does not get brought up often to get to talk about. It is harder for me to trust male figures in my life because of my dad leaving. The one man that was supposed to be there for me through thick and thin has never been there. I know in my future I do not want my kids to go through what my two sisters and I had to.     Nyssa (right)



My parents divorced my sophomore year of high school after it became apparent that my mother was an alcoholic and my father was codependent and abusive. The main thing I remember about that period was a sense of terror in the uncertainty: was dad in jail? Did mom drink her way back into the hospital? I remember feeling constantly defiant. I thought things like ‘They don’t deserve kids like me and Mary‘ or ‘maybe if I screamed louder, tried harder…’

I do talk to my parents now–not dad so much because I blame him for me having to live in a homeless shelter for a month and being sexually assaulted while I was there. My parents’ divorce made me feel more alone than I'd ever felt before.   Tony



My parents' divorce has impacted my life in multiple ways. While people often attach negative connotations to divorce and the repercussions it can have on families, there are a lot of positive outcomes that have evolved in my life because of my parents’ separation. The reality is that people change, relationships do not always last forever, and it is often more detrimental for kids to live in a chaotic home with two adults trying to make a bad marriage work than to just move on.

I truly believe that the divorce has made me a stronger, more flexible, and open-minded person. I am grateful to both of my parents for the impressions they have made on my life, for introducing me to other adults who have cared for and supported me, and for making an effort not to allow their own differences to get in the way of my relationships with them.     Mayumi



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