I was eight when my parents got divorced, and I’ve been broken ever since

Published: May 18, 2017

Initially, I used to think that the divorce made me a stronger person. PHOTO: TWITTER

We all come into this world pure and innocent; unknowing of its harsh realities. We do not know of pain, of grief, of anything really. Our worlds revolve around our parents and when they decide to part ways, our entire world is torn apart.

I still don’t understand.

It’s been 16 years since my parents got divorced; 16 years of unanswered questions. I was only eight-years-old when it happened, I was just a child, but still, I was expected to act mature and more sensible than a child my age should ever asked to be.

My brother on the other hand, was only four-years-old and he couldn’t comprehend anything that was going on. I was expected to make decisions, decisions I didn’t know that children could make. I decided to live with my mother because I was more attached to her while my brother stayed with my dad because he somehow convinced him to.

For the longest time, I remembered being displaced and not knowing what to call home. I remember the uncountable trips to court so vividly – all of it. Looking back at everything that happened, I now realise how terrible a time it was for my parents, and for us.

Even today, I get teary eyed when I think of what my mother and brother went through. They have suffered more than I can even imagine. It was almost impossible for them to even see each other and separating a mother from her child is never okay.

I can still picture my brother’s face when he would cry because of how much he missed our mother. His small face would grow thin, his eyes would twinkle with tears, and the only thing I could do was comfort him, yet I wasn’t the one he wanted to be comforted by. After countless trips to court, the judge passed an order which allowed my brother to live with us for 15 days and with my father for the other 15. My mother opted otherwise, in order to keep my brother’s sanity intact. She knew he couldn’t handle moving back and forth, so she sacrificed what was most important to her for his well-being.

Initially, I used to think that the divorce made me a stronger person. I thought about all that it had taught me; how to deal with situations more sensibly, how to be more mature and how to look after myself.

Somehow, I’ve realised that strength was not the only thing it left me with. It changed my perception on so many things in life but one thing that it left me with was fear; fear of the unknown and that innocence I once had is something I can never get back.

I know that I was made to grow up early and that a lot of my childhood was taken away from me. And till today, I still feel the need to constantly be with my brother, just like I did when we were growing up; I still feel like I need my father to be there for my achievements, I still long for the family time I never got but I was witness to in households around me. I still want my mother to be happy, even if it for a fleeting moment, I know she deserves a life that is better.

It’s not easy coming from a broken family; it doesn’t affect you physically as much as it does mentally. You ultimately move on and learn to accept your reality but there are some things that remain abandoned until one day, when they come out in the shape of something you never expected.

There are so many people out there who rush into marriage based on impulsive decisions, sometimes not even considering a future with children. It’s a completely different story when a marriage involves only two people because they are old enough to face the music. The problem arises when there are children in the picture. There have been various cases where people have children out of family or societal pressure, and they are not ready for them mentally, physically or financially.

Many a times, children from broken homes end up becoming adults with broken spirits, they tend to lose hope and if it’s one thing that children need, it is the hope that things will eventually get better. Trust me when I say this, it is not a small thing. Having a child is a huge responsibility, and it is a big deal. To raise a good, and by good I mean a mentally stable person, is more than necessary in the society we live in.

One of the most difficult decisions I had to make was choosing between my mother and father, because it does become a question of choosing one over the other. The guilt lingers on, it may fade into the back of your mind, but it’s always there – ready to haunt you when you least think of it.

Children, consciously and unconsciously, follow in the footsteps of their parents no matter what they’re taught verbally, at the end of the day they will follow actions.

I’m not saying that every child from a broken home turns into a disturbed adult, but most of them do and that’s enough for parents to be a little more careful.

Onaissa Rizwani

Onaissa Rizwani

Film-making graduate from University of Karachi, still trying to figure life out. Loves travelling and photography.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Pakistani

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am so sorry you had to go through this. A the divorced father of two yong kids, I worry every day about what you have written. I am so sorry you still carry this painRecommend

  • Baloch

    My parents separated when I was 13 ( they eventually divorced). I am glad that they did divorce. Constant fighting was killing me inside and once they separated there was some peace at home. Because of conflict that I witnessed growing up, I am, to this day, averse to conflict. I do not like it on TV, in my home, on the street or within the friends and family. I am trying to give my children a life of peace filled with love.Recommend

  • NaughtyCaller

    Heart Wrenching. I am so sorry to read all this. May ALLAH ALMIGHTY bless you and your Brother with success and peace, in this world and thereafterRecommend

  • Milind A

    Best wishes bro!!!Recommend

  • Sarah

    I’m very sorry to hear what you and your brother went through as children. Indeed it is a difficult time for the kids. But sometimes it is for the good. Imagine if your parents remained together for the sake of you and your brother but lived in agony all their lives. I have a 2 year old son who was born after 12 years of marriage. My relationship with my husband was not the best and it has now got to the point where I’m developing heart issues and he is perhaps going through depression. The only reason I’m sticking around with him is our son and because I cannot seem to get the strength to take the decision to part ways. However as our son grows, he will witness and begin to understand the toxic relationship his parents have which is even worse. I’m in a situation where I really don’t know what to do.Recommend