Happy Guilty Holidays!

“As a parent, I can empathize with how difficult raising children can be. There are challenges, especially within the framework of divorce, when parental guilt can sometimes blur what should be the best decision.” – LZ Granderson

As a motherless daughter, holidays are hard. Actually most days are more hard than easy, and holidays are harder, even though I have been a motherless daughter for over 16 years and society tells me it should be easier by now. Thanks society for telling me when I am done feeling lost, lonely and miserable!

Then this year I decided to make the holidays even harder by deciding I want a divorce, yet I want to delay the inevitable conversation to try to give my children one last “happy” family holiday. I decided to wait because I am not sure if my oldest still believes in Santa Claus and I didn’t want to create any more sadness if she does not. I don’t want to hurt them around the holidays. Again I am trying to care for everyone else’s needs, and forget my own. I guess it’s good that I realize this.

But knowing what I know, I wonder if my guilt is clouding my decision, and making it more painful when it is finally revealed. I am going through the motions, leading a double life, and it’s so difficult to keep my shit together. I started to decorate today, and listened to my spouse tell me about renovation plans for the house and felt so deceitful. I felt like why should I bother, I am pretending to care and the renovations probably won’t happen because of me leaving, and feeling increasingly miserable and trying to make everyone else feel better and feeling like I am failing at everything. And then getting angry when no one notices that Mommy isn’t quite right. Feeling guilty that no matter what I do or when they will be hurt and question how much was real. Feeling guilty that I will upset my very intolerant spouse when he learns I am not completely straight anymore, and that my children will hear his ignorance and may be afraid to defend me. They should not have to have that conversation with their father, and I fear he will turn them against me.

Then today I was actually asked what is wrong with me, I don’t seem like myself. Because I want to try and wait until after the holidays, I said everything was fine. And now I am angry with myself that I wasn’t strong enough to say that what’s wrong is I am unhappy being married to him because I am in love with a woman, the love of my life, and I am tired of being his roommate and walking on eggshells about everything, that I am tired of not being happy. I wasn’t strong enough to deal with the guilt of hurting people three weeks before Christmas. I feel guilty because I told My Girl if he asks me straight out I will tell him, and I chickened out because it wasn’t the “right time.”

Parental guilt is rough. And the thing is, whether I do this now or wait it won’t really lessen the hurt or the guilt. My children won’t care I tried to protect them as long as possible so why is it so important to me? Yet I am still unable to stop feeling bad about the timing of my decision.  Why can’t I just be strong enough?  How unhappy must I be before I hurt too much to care about anyone else?


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