Mediating Conflict,
Embracing Peace

Avoiding the plague of divorce-related shame

Have you ever heard the expression “Should goes with shame”? How about the expression “Shoulda-woulda-coulda”? These expressions serve to ease the minds of individuals whose brains and hearts are constricted with shame and other destructive negative emotions. Not all negative emotions are destructive. Guilt, for example, can be constructive if the guilt in question is legitimate and the individual feeling the guilt learns from whatever experience produced it. However, other negative emotions are destructive. Shame is one of the more destructive emotions that individuals experience.

Renowned author and shame scholar Brene Brown frequently writes about the destructive nature of shame. Unlike potentially constructive guilt, shame is rooted in feelings of humiliation. Humiliation is potentially traumatizing and is not a constructive state of mind. Many cultural influences may lead individuals who are divorcing or divorced to feel shame about the supposed “failure” of their marriages. It is important not to become overwhelmed by the plague of divorce-related shame.

We frequently write about how important it is to take excellent care of yourself during the divorce process and to continue taking excellent care of yourself in the wake of your divorce. Not only does self-care empower you to make the best decisions possible during your divorce process, it helps to enable you to make a bright and healthy future for yourself and your loved ones.

If you feel guilt about the ways in which you have behaved in the past, you can channel that guilt into more positive behaviors moving forward. But if you get pulled down by shame, you may find that it is impossibly difficult to recover from these feelings of humiliation. No one benefits from such shame. If you are feeling overwhelmed by destructive negative emotions, please do not hesitate to seek support until you have effectively worked through them.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Enough With Divorce Shame,” Tracy Schorn, March 4, 2015