Divorce is not a bad word. When spoken out loud, the word “divorce” usually causes some type of negative reaction whether visible or internal. For people amid divorce, shame is often the reaction or feeling experienced. Shame is powerful but it is also unproductive and can be paralyzing.
Shame is consuming and paralyzing
I met with a woman not too long ago for a divorce consultation. She and her husband had been separated for over a year. She knew that she did not want to be married. Yet, she was not taking any affirmative action to end the marriage or engage in a divorce process. This woman shared with me that she had been in therapy since the separation. Much time in therapy related to the shame she felt. She felt ashamed that this was her second divorce. She saw herself as a failure in marriage and picking mates. Her counselor helped her work through the intense feelings and shame. After a year in therapy, she was in a better place to make decisions and plan her life going forward.
Divorce does not mean failure
Divorce happens. A lot. People who divorce are not failures. They are people – people who have or are experiencing one of the most difficult times in their lives. They deserve compassion. If you are going through a divorce, you need to be compassionate to yourself. Resist the temptation to blame or criticize yourself. Instead, be kind and supportive of yourself just as you would do for a friend going through a divorce.
Compassion is important
I take pride in being able to help people through the gut-wrenching, life-altering event of divorce. Others characterize my work as “so depressing” and cast mild looks of horror upon discovering that I am a divorce lawyer. I do not feel my work is depressing. I work with everyday people experiencing a tough time in their lives. Compassion is key.