I’m a bad father

Amongst the many blogs I read, I periodically check in on Tim Bray‘s. Back in February, he wrote an entry titled Love Your Children, where he linked to Daniel Steinberg’s blog titled Dear Elena, which after reading the first entry, I had to subscribe to it, too. (If you decide to read it, I suggest starting from the first entry and working your way towards the most recent one.)

At first, I thought I shared a lot with Daniel, in that I am also the father of two daughters. From his blog, it’s clear that he has a lot of fond memories and love for his daughters, and his recent loss is having an incredible impact on his family’s life. I try my best to sympathize and as I read what more and more he writes, I’m filled with an incredible sense of sadness. At first, I thought it was because I could share in his pain, his loss, but I’ve never lost a loved one like he has; I really have no idea what he’s gone through. Then, it struck me: reading what he’s written makes me sad because I don’t feel the same way about my own kids. I don’t know how I’d feel if one of my daughters had suddenly passed away, but I’m haunted by the feeling that I wouldn’t feel the same way he seems to, based on what he’s written. Somehow, that’s made me feel–or, realize–that I really am the bad father I’ve always suspected I am.

This week, I’m busy preparing to get my things in order to leave this weekend. My wife and I are separating and in a sense, I’m losing both of my children. I have no idea what to expect, how it will and should make me feel, or if I’m even doing “the right thing,” but I know that the way I currently feel about my life and my family, I don’t belong here. I don’t belong. Those three words sound so strange but they sound so right. They really describe how I feel about me and how I fit into this world. I just don’t belong.

I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last four years now and I’ve been told that I’m not like everyone else. I’m not normal. I don’t belong. Maybe I’m not just a bad father, but I’m a bad person. I treat people poorly. I know I do. But, not just other people, I treat myself the same way. I don’t like me and I don’t really expect other people to like me, either.

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