Divorce and Self-Blame

You hear it all the time, it takes two to tango. It is true that divorce is often the result of both people making mistakes, there is a lot of self-blame that occurs. Is it justified? Not usually.

Before I knew anyone who was divorced, I assumed that there was a lot of anger directed at their ex. However, as I continue to meet more and more divorced or divorcing couples, I noticed a trend of self-blame. The blame and guilt seemed to be there despite them doing nothing necessarily blame-worthy. There wasn’t an affair, there was no big blow-up fight in which name-calling occurred. Sure, there were disagreements and arguments, but nothing abnormal. Still, they felt as though the divorce was a self-caused failure.

“I could have done better.”

I hear this a lot and sure, it may be true. But that also rings true for most things in our lives. We rarely give 100% effort, we could have done things better. However, in the context of divorce, I think it is a pointless sentiment. Sometimes even when we give everything we have, divorce still happens. It isn’t anything you could have done, it just wasn’t a good fit. After all, it takes both people giving their all, wanting to be in a marriage, and putting in the time and energy to make it succeed. You can’t be happily married when you are the only party trying to do better.

“I should have done x, y, z.”

Laboring over what you did or should have done isn’t helpful in the moment. Instead, look at what you can do moving forward to improve your ability to communicate and grow emotionally. You would never start running while looking backward, it is a good way to trip! Instead, keep your head looking at the path ahead, it is a much more efficient way to go through life.

“There is something inherently wrong in me.”

This is a natural feeling when going through a divorce. No, there is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken, you are growing. While we all have challenges and past pain to deal with, it is normal. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with you, think about what is right in you. What are the attributes within yourself that you want to accentuate? What do you want to use to create the new you in this new phase of your life?

If you are thinking of a divorce or going through one currently and would like the assistance of a divorce mediator, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center to schedule your FREE consultation.

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