Shame in Divorce is Arbitrary
Although divorce has become common place within society here in the United States, the burden of shame, failure, and blame continues to fall on the shoulders of the individual divorcee. In earlier times in our country, the external pressures coming from church, community, and family was different than it is now, but I can imagine that there is still pressure. And I'm thinking maybe the main feeling of failure falls on you from inside yourself. I want to give you a little side story about myself so you will know that I understand what you're going through.
For a really long time after my divorce was final, I felt hollow. I felt like a complete failure. My parents have been married for over 50 years and theirs is a happy marriage. They really do like, as well as love, each other. I've got two siblings who are each married harmoniously to a great gals.
In a sense, you could say their marriages mirror my parent's union—they like and love each other and have happy home lives. I also have relatives who are happily married. Some of the people in my family refer to me as "The Smart One" because I was the first member of the family to go to college. So here I was, "The Smart One," a complete and utter failure at the most important job of my life. At least that's the way I thought about myself at the time.
At the age of 33, I gave my wife my house and everything in it and I moved into a small, two-bedroom apartment. I bought some cheap furniture; I was driving a leased Pontiac Grand-Am; I had no bank accounts or assets. I did have $18,000 in debt (credit card bills of $8,000 and my student loan of $10,000.
) And yet, I was full of joy because I no longer had to live with an unhappy person, and I knew the kids were going to be in my life. My early difficult years of being divorced have passed. I was able to move past a sense of shame and failure. I lived through the challenging interfaces with the ex.
My kids grew up and became wonderful young women, one of them a mother herself. I say this to let you know that you can get there from where you are right now. I did. Here are some tips that you should find helpful: Shame Is Arbitrary. Arbitrary means that each individual gets to decide if a thing is "so.
" You are the one who gets to decide if divorce is shameful. Oh, you're going to get plenty of input to help you decide. Your parents, your granny, great Aunt Susie, your church and the world at large all have opinions about this. But only you have walked in your boots.
You're the only one who existed within that marriage. Only you knows the words that got spoken (or screamed.) Only you know why the divorce really happened. And you don't have to explain your actions to anyone. You only need to explain it to yourself. And only you get to decide if the divorce is shameful or not.
Remove yourself from all that input from others and decide if you are feeling shame, where that shame is coming from? The opinions of others? Well shame on them for adding to your burden! You Aren't Dancing Solo. Your former spouse also had a part to play in this divorce. You didn't create it all by yourself.
It isn't necessary or wise to assume all the blame for the divorce yourself. Only assume your piece of it, and yes, you did have a part in it or it couldn't be happening to you. If you don't see your role in the creation of your divorce, this is now your current assignment: find out what you did to make it happen. By not making a correction, you'll make the mistake again. Agh! Blame is Blasphemous. Did you know that the word blame comes from blaspheme - to speak evil of? I'd like to think that, for the sake of your children, you are not blaming their other parent.
They need to love him or her. And I'd also like to think that you are not blaming yourself. You are a wonder-filled individual! Find that individual and praise him or her and lose the blaming.
Divorce is a powerful impetus to escalate your growth as an individual. You can remove the same in divorce and avoid the feeling of failure from all those external pressures if you will look for it's lessons and work to create more happiness for you and your children.
Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com
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