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Christmas Time

R Updated
Over the festive period the time spent separated from our children and family, even our past in laws, can be a very difficult time. Nobody knows why and how family matters more than anything like the divorced or the separated. Its been 5 years for me now and it is true what they say, it does get easier every time. At the start in so much pain I could not even pretend I was interested. I wrapped myself in a ball and spent the afternoon with my sister, curtains closed in a bedroom. This year my pain is not quite over. I have long since learned to live with it. "Living with it" is what the bereaved say often and as a divorced person I believe its exactly the same. Actually its worse in the beginning because the "departed" in our lives are living and can appear again in different ways to prod open wounds. I found myself actually needing to take the pain away and to find some relief from it. I have written about this quite alot and I am reminded again of good techniques: my bike, swimming, walking in the park, loud music and bad techniques: beer, wine, etc.. Sadly for me I know what it can be like to get to the point when there are worse than bad techniques that spring to mind, smashing a car, physical harm to myself etc.. Thankfully those days are long behind me but what remains is a knowledge I never had before about how people can be driven to extremes. My sympathy goes out to anyone who is hurting at this time. I believe the path forward literally is about trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, to rebuild self esteem when you cant even find the jigsaw puzzle that will put it back together. I started to feel better when I could process all that had happened and see the truth in it. I don't think that "loving ourselves" is something owned by religious faith. I think its an innate part of human nature which is unfortunately constantly undermined by circumstance. In the beginning of separation from children we might be tempted to text or phone when the child is with OW / OM. Somehow I managed to get this right from the start but of course I made some mistakes along the way. There was the time when I did want to speak to my 14 year old daughter about a simple practical thing and in the process received abusive texts myself from my ex. You hear that your girl is not happy, you might even hear OW or her new partner and you know that all you are doing is making the whole situation all the more difficult for your child. So you stop making contact and for a time your whole world stops until they are back with you and your world can begin again. Even though my daughter is an adult now I know she still likes to keep time spent with Mum and Dad separate. But she texts more and lets me know whats happening with her. She is a brave girl and has for more than a year started to make her own decisions about her life. As for me, well dare I say it but Christmas is largely now just another day. Thats alot better I think than feeling like it no longer applied to me. I think the more that family units become broken the more the adverts on the TV which portray the happy fulfilled, prosperous family unit no longer apply to the reality of the world we live in. I hope that whatever plans people make they can be based on living a peaceful life and one where the view from wherever you are up the mountain can be enjoyed at least for a time.

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Christmas is more than one day, we all know that. It's too many days.We all learn to live and process them as best we can and we shouldn't ask or expect more of ourselves than that. First rule in all of this is "love yourself, trust yourself" and then slowly, with caution, trust others.
Carly XXX
It is such a tough time, I can't wait for it to be over. The only thing I look forward to is a week off work!! I'm lucky to have a lovely daughter, mum, dad and partner but it's still tough and like many my family is also broken as I have a sone that doesn't talk to me. Tonight I'm sitting at home with my daughter who was supposed to have been picked up by her dad and taken to a family gathering which I know she was looking looking forward to. He didn't turn up, no text, nothing. He probably spent the afternoon in the pub and is comatosed somewhere. My daughter is putting a brave face on it, she says she isn't bothered but I know she is. How can people hurt their childeren like that? I never would have thought it of him but then I never would have thought that he would cheat and he did. I keep telling myself that Christmas is just one day, but with sooo much media hype since November it's very hard to not feel low when your own life doesn't fit into "the perfect life" synario. I suspect his perfect life isn't so perfect which is why he needs to drown his sorrows, but I will keep calm and give my daughter the best Christmas I can. Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas x
I agree with your comments too. My children (now 19 and 21) still have their issues after the family breakdown - and it's not just a marriage breakdown, in my case it has been a family breakdown, despite my best efforts to make it not so. My son is dealing with his monsters now - I am sick with worry - things too raw to talk about - even here. But we are walking wounded at this stage - but walking - hey ho (ho ho)
Totally agree with your comments about now understanding how people are driven to extremes! I used to feel sympathy for people doing crazy and destructive things after breakups, but assume they were a little unstable to begin with. Now I marvel at how much self-control most separating people have in the face of those intense emotions. Thank God they pass and the pain fades over time. As horrible as this experience is, it really does give you a good understanding of why it is such an enormous life stressor as well as how tough Christmas can be when you're not part of the happy family crowd.