Saturday, March 19, 2011

Got Guilt?

Yes, yes I do.

Isn't it funny how we feel guilty for something we have no control over? For a decision that was forced upon us with no room for negotiation? It sounds crazy, but that's what many of us feel when our parents divorce. Guilt.

We feel guilty for ever being happy. We feel guilty over celebrating joyous occasions in our lives. It's almost like we think we don't deserve to be happy. Something horrible happened to us, so why would we ever be happy? This is a dangerous way of thinking and it can often prevent us from truly healing from our parents' divorce.

I often felt guilty over planning my own wedding while my parents were struggling with their problems. I saw their unhappiness and felt like I shouldn't be happy over planning my own wedding, even though I know that's not what my parents wanted. After all, how can you be happy over starting your life with someone when you watch your parents' marriage go downhill?

It's a struggle I've faced. How do I enjoy my life again without feeling guilt over the sadness that my family is enduring? How do I experience joy apart from what's going on with my parents? It's not easy. I just know I have to find out. After all, what other choice do I have? It's either move on with my life or lay down and die.

Many of us ACOD's haven't enjoyed holidays for a long time. We dread the special occasions, feeling like we don't have a complete family to share them with. But we deserve to enjoy these times. We didn't make the decision to get divorced: our parents did. So why are we making ourselves pay for it?

I definitely don't have the answers here. Guilt is a burden I struggle with everyday. Sometimes I even blame myself for what's happened. Maybe if I had seen what was happening sooner I could've done something about it. But that's ridiculous, isn't it? This was a problem between my parents, I had no part of it. It just seems like I did because it affects my life too.

Fellow ACOD's, we have got to find a way to be happy and enjoy life again. And that means different things for each of us. So I'll end with this: find what makes you happy and do it. It won't magically make things better, but at least you'll realize there is life after your parents' divorce.

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Anonymous said...

Hello there! I found your blog through another blog. I'm also an ACOD and i'm so very glad that I've found this. Like I told the last blogger - Things like this give me comfort to know that i'm not the only one suffering.
Kara G

MVroom said...

Thanks Kara! I'm so glad you found the blog and that it has been helpful for you!

Anonymous said...

My parents aren't divorced, but I can understand feeling guilty. I'm the type of person who feels guilty after an argument or if a friendship fell apart... even if it wasn't really my fault in the first place. I think it's just a natural reaction to wishing you could have done something to fix the situation, wishing that it would have never happened at all. I think in your case it could be helpful to step into your parents shoes (as uncomfortable as that might seem). They are moving forward with divorce because, in its simplest form, they're seeking happiness... seeking happiness so much that they are willing to sacrifice a family unit. Your parents are moving forward with a divorce because they're seeking happiness, so it's only fair for you to move on past the guilt... and start focusing on your own happiness. Your own marriage. And life after your parents' divorce. You said it best: You deserve happiness.


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