What Divorce Taught Me

Photo courtesy of Zachary Young

“You fat nasty bitch.”

The words uttered through the phone and echoed in my ears. It was my dad’s voice. Mom had just handed me the phone.

They had been arguing.

My parents were in the middle of their divorce and it wasn’t pretty.

Dad had been seeing another woman and mom caught him red handed.

We were coming from my Taekwondo class when she drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood. We found his truck parked on the street.

Suddenly dad walks out of the building and my mother jumps out of the car to confront him. Mom is hysterical. Dad manages to squeeze out a few words before my mom smacks him in the face.

I was just as — if not even more — shocked as my dad as he stood there and rubbed his bruised cheek while my mother vehemently stomped away.

She gets in the car and we speed off. My dad’s figure becoming blurry as my eyes begin to swell with tears and my heart thumping with fury.

That was the death of our family.

The divorce left my mother seriously injured. I would see her through the crack of the guest room door at my grandmother’s, weeping on the fouton bed.

I felt abandoned and confused. Our family was in shambles and my mom was an emotional wreck. After years of marriage, how could this happen?

I began to see less and less of my father. Ours turned into a long distance relationship.

On one hand I felt like I had lost my best friend, mentor, my greatest source of courage and strength.

On the other hand I was a witness to my mother’s heartbreak and shared her agony which eventually turned into bitter spite towards the man who betrayed her.

I felt her pain and a part of me despised my father for doing this to her and yet part of me still loved him.


The pain from that experience was too much for my little heart to bear. It sunk deep below into parts of my being I would only dare to recognize decades later.

I became aloof. Shutting myself off from the world. Creating a thick, impervious layer between my feelings and anyone or anything that could reach them.

Guarded and defensive I wandered through life harboring a pain-steeped hatred towards life and humanity.

Feelings of inadequacy reverberated through my entire being. I felt unloved, and unwanted.

I did my best to hide the scar. But the pain would come out abruptly and uncontrollably.

Soon my fists began to smash through doors and walls in the house.

My mother soon became the recipient of my displaced rage.

I became viciously defiant in school. Barely made it to graduation.


I would only see my father three months out of the year during the Summer. He acted as if nothing had happened. I didn’t have the courage to confront him.

I had a step mother now and I secretly despised her. I blamed her for tearing my family apart.

I expressed my disapproval one night while my father was driving. She was sitting in the passenger’s seat.

I said, “my mom’s spaghetti is better than yours!.”

My dad stomped on the brakes and the car jerked to a sudden halt. He turned around in his seat and yelled at me.

“Apologize right now!”

I gave in.

My anger grew a couple feet taller that night.

Later, as a teenager my mom suggested therapy, so I saw a shrink for a while. I was too stubborn to see she was only trying to help. I had made her out to be my enemy.

In fact, I felt like the whole world was against me. I thought, “fuck em all.”

The biggest lesson my parent’s divorce taught me was that relationships were ugly and messy.

No matter how hard you tried, things fell apart.

That the effects of divorce wage war on the hearts of all involved. And as children our allegiance is tested during the bitter dispute that ensues. Both sides claim the other is at fault and you’re stuck in the middle.

I learned its best not to pick sides. That it’s best to get all sides of the story and confront both parties about the pain felt from the experience.

I learned to forgive my parents. I realized they weren’t perfect.

I learned to love myself completely and independently outside of their influence.

I grew up and experienced THUG LIFE.

Life is messy and painful at times and our beliefs either make things better or worse.

It either makes you stronger or it takes you out of the game.

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JC Diaz

JC Diaz

Finding truth to questions like, “what should I eat today?”