Here’s why a person will lend a helping hand with other people’s kids while being an absentee parent with her own

Addiction tears families apart. Ideally, recovery reunites them. But that is not always the case. There’s often nothing but pain when you try
to make things up to the kids. “You think that’s going to make up for all the time you’ve been gone?” Obviously not, yet a bitter ex or angry kids will insist the parent continue doomed attempts to make them whole. Not only do you have your own guilt but you have the inflicted punishment from the people you most want to please but you cannot. All stick and no carrot, hence no point in even seeing the kids because maybe some things cannot be fixed and all efforts to remedy the past destroy the present and make a future inconceivable. You are reminded of why you left in the first place, and you miss the days when you pined for the idea of your children, far from the actual physical kids. Other people’s kids, on the other hand, make you feel like a hero. Everything you do for those kids is extra, over and above your nonexistent obligation. You owe them nothing so you can never fall behind and your extra credit never expires. “Their own mother doesn’t even do this for them!” You bask in the praise. The birthday present your child would have scorned is received with gratitude by an unrelated child. It is very soothing to hear you are not so bad after all. And that is why the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot.

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