It's tough not feeling like a failure after divorce. I was watching Kathy Griffin on My Life on The D-List. This comedienne is brash, tough, saucy, and irreverent. Yet when she spoke about her divorce, her eyes teared up, her voice thickened, and I could hear her anguish when she admitted, "I feel like such a failure." It was the one serious moment in an otherwise hilarious show.
Those words resonate with me to the extent that I can't get Kathy's statement out of my head. My family is Roman Catholic, and yet my parents divorced when I was 3 years old. My entire childhood felt like a stigma. Everyone else's parents were married, but mine were not. Being a child, I felt that if I was just a little bit better, if I was good enough and behaved, then Mom and Dad would get back together again.
In addition, my grandmother, who was a staunch, old-fashioned Catholic, just wouldn't leave the divorce alone. She kept discussing it whenever my brother and I came to visit. We would lurk in a corner as she harangued us about my mother and the situation. We came away feeling that the divorce was all our fault, and it affected our relationship with our grandmother, who we never quite learned to love.
Fast forward to when I chose my husband. I fell in love with his stable family almost as much as I fell in love with him. His mom and dad had been married all his life. Better yet, he had grown up in the town he'd been born in. I mixed his family up with Donna Reed and Father Knows Best - the two families I craved most - and being so full of Catholic guilt, and so young and naive, I just didn't know any better.
This child of divorce was so determined not to get divorced herself, that when the worst thing that could possibly happen did, my jerry-rigged world shattered. Since then I've dealt with the loss; but I am still dealing with not feeling like a failure.
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