Sometimes it rears its head quite unexpectedly.  Sure, I feel guilty about many things.  Like blowing $250 on a Wii and then blowing another $300 (I couldn't resist the deal) on an Xbox 360.  And not studying for my quals.  But one thing I've never felt guilty about is how I have dealt with my in-laws.  Sure, I feel guilty about not spending time with my family.  But that's my family.  They're not crazy.  I've never felt guilty about not spending time with my in-laws.  Rather, I rejoice whenever I manage to weasel my way out of seeing/hearing from them.  And after the stuff they pulled last Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as this past Thanksgiving, I felt absolutely no guilt when I put my foot down and told my husband that we were not going to see them this Christmas.  I even gave him quite the time for being so silly as to feel guilty about celebrating Christmas with his new family (that is me and him and the dog).

It's all very logical to me.  The in-laws are not pleasant to be around.  In fact, it really sucks to be anywhere within 15 miles of them.  Therefore, why would I spend my holidays with these people when doing so would just ruin my holidays?  Sure, there's room for change, but I'm not going to keep subjecting myself to this torture every year hoping they will change when I have given them no reason to by not "punishing" them for their wrongdoings.  I didn't need to convince myself that it was okay not to see them this year.

But then my wuss of a husband couldn't break the news to them himself, which left the matter in my hands.  So last night, I called my sister-in-law (don't ask me who put her in charge) and informed her that we would be out-of-town and unable to make it to their place on Christmas.  Now she has issues with wanting the like-the-movies perfect Christmas, but I was still surprised at how abruptly she wanted to get off the phone with me after I let that bit of news drop.  And I could hear the disappointment in her voice.  Which shouldn't have mattered to me because really, in all honesty, I don't give a crap about how she feels after all that she's done to me.  But it did matter.  And I've spent all day feeling guilty about crushing her hopes for a happy family Christmas.  It would have been a fake happy family Christmas because I sure as hell wouldn't have been happy being treated like an outsider and all.  But I guess it would have been happy for her.

One side of me says, "So what?  That's what they deserve for refusing to accept me as part of the family.  If you can't treat the wife well, then you don't get the pleasure of your brother/son visiting."  But the other side says, "But it's the holidays."  This nagging guilt is bothering me way more than it should.  Can it be that all of their crazy Chinese guilt brainwashing has had some effect on me?  Or have I just gone soft?  Probably a little of both.  Luckily for me, it's not like I can actually change my mind without alerting them to my little "we're going out-of-town" lie, so I'll just have to live with the guilt for a little longer.  Another two hours should do it.  I should be over it by then.  Nothing like a little Gears of War to cure my little case of guilt.

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