When a divorce becomes inevitable, you may be asking yourself a lot of hard-to-answer questions: Was I at fault for the collapse of my marriage? What will my kids, family and friends think of me now? Will people assume I am a bad person because my spouse wanted to split up? How can I possibly face everybody?
You may be experiencing powerful feelings of guilt or shame associated with your divorce. It’s very understandable and expected. However, to move forward with your life, you need to process those negative feelings thoroughly – and find a way to bid them goodbye.
How to cope
Imagine counseling a friend who is enduring what you are right now. What would you say to that person to reassure them? You would probably encourage them to be practical and objective, even though their situation is fraught with emotion.
- Using this strategy, you will most likely see that you did nothing wrong. Although the marriage ultimately came apart, you are not the one at fault. You hung in there as best and as long as you could, under the circumstances.
- Maybe you took care of the children and shielded them from the turmoil at home. You took care of yourself by working every day, maintaining your usual routine and managing the household.
- See the positive side. You deserve a pat on the back for soldiering on amidst so much uncertainty and unhappiness.
Banishing destructive thoughts connected with blaming yourself
Take a step back. Assess the situation. There is nothing defective about you that caused your marriage to end. Remind yourself that marriages often founder due to factors beyond your control.
- You are not foolish or naïve just because you could not see the weaknesses in your marital relationship or your spouse.
- You are not by nature suspicious or cynical.
- There was no way to guess or foresee that things were unraveling.
It’s over. Don’t wallow in blame or shame. Get the advice you need to end the marriage legally, then gather your courage and resources to start fresh.