Severing the Imagined Connection Between Dishonor and Divorce
Deciding to end a marriage can be agonizing for many reasons. One thing that can hold people back both before and after divorce is feeling shame about the relationship ending. Sometimes the focus can remain on guilt and blame to the point that it's difficult to see anything else or move on. These negative feelings are often self-imposed and serve no purpose but to make you feel as though you failed at something no one could have saved. By severing the imagined connection between dishonor and divorce, you will have the chance to gain a healthier perspective and move on more quickly from this life transition.
For some, the idea of going through a divorce is synonymous with being a failure. Hanging onto a relationship that isn't working to avoid feeling like a disappointment to yourself or others will only end up causing more harm. Enduring in an unhealthy relationship dynamic for the sake of appearances or to avoid facing reality is hurtful for you and your spouse. The longer you remain in this state, the more painful it becomes.
Stepping away from the concept of shame and looking at the situation honestly, you may be able to recognize that you are two people who are making one another unhappy and would be far better off apart. Seeing divorce through this lens can help you shift away from shame-based thinking and towards a perspective that views leaving the marriage as an act of self-empowerment. It takes courage to recognize when a relationship is not working and release yourself from the ideas holding you back from moving on with your life.
Sometimes the shameful messages in your life may be coming from other people or old beliefs you have held for a long time without knowing why. If family and friends in your world are making you feel ashamed of leaving an unhappy marriage, it may be time to consider the health of those relationships.
Deciding you are done with an unhealthy marriage can have a positive, but sometimes challenging, domino effect when it comes to making other important relationship decisions. There are times when others are more comfortable seeing people in their lives remain the same, even when it’s not healthy or in their best interest. When you make a radical change for your own well-being, it may threaten people in your life who have their own issues. Depending on your connection, you may need to reconsider how much time you are spending with loved ones who are not being supportive. If these are individuals you will have to see, you may need to set appropriate boundaries and remind them that you are moving forward with your life.
The connection between dishonor and divorce is often the product of negative self-talk and obsolete social programing. Your shame-based feelings may be coming from old messages you learned growing up. These ideas can be like old recordings that run in the back of your mind without you even noticing. If you can, examine where these dishonor-based ideas may be coming from and consider ways to rewrite the messages. It may also help to work with a trained therapist as you explore your thoughts and feelings.
Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience assisting clients during and after divorce, and can help you determine your next steps.