Article written by Michaela Madden
When faced with divorce, it is all too common to find yourself consumed by self-blame and criticism. However, in order to find happiness in your new chapter; you first need to find forgiveness. Beyond letting go of blame or grudges that you hold against others, you also need to find forgiveness for yourself. In the following article, we are going to discuss how you can finally beat the blame game and find the happiness you deserve following your divorce.
Self-Blame from "Breaking Up" Your Family
When your divorce involves children, many people feel responsible for "breaking up the family." While this is far from the truth, you still may feel at fault for not being able to give your children a traditional two-parent household (read more about redefining the modern family here). When you begin to feel this guilt, it is essential to recognize the long hours of decision-making it took to get to this point. Divorce is not something that happens over night and is certainly not a decision made lightly. Recognize the strength it took for you to take this path. It is better to show your children two happy households rather than one unhappy home. Embracing forgiveness in this context acknowledges that ending a marriage can sometimes be the most compassionate choice for the entire family.
Society's Divorce Stigma
In a society that often views divorce as a failure, it’s not uncommon to feel judged and condemned for your decision to dissolve your marriage. These expectations and external pressure can make you question your decision, triggering feelings of guilt and self-blame for not “doing the right thing”. In your forgiveness journey, it’s essential to recognize that societal norms should not dictate our feelings of self-worth. Additionally, prioritizing our personal well-being and happiness is an act of courage, not failure.
One of our least favourite versions of the blame game is holding yourself and your imperfections accountable for the relationship's breakdown. Do you find yourself asking if your love or your actions just weren't enough? Or else wondering if there was more you could have done to salvage the marriage? Self-compassion and forgiveness becomes even more of a priority here. Everyone is human. We all have imperfections and make mistakes. Relationships require effort from both parties and when things don't work out, you should never carry that blame alone.
Your Path to Healing
If you are struggling to find forgiveness, start by taking the time to seek support in understanding your emotions. You can engage in self-reflection, taking accountability for any of your own faults while also letting them go in an effort to move forward. It is also important to surround yourself with a strong support system of friends, family, and/or professional counselors that can provide you with the guidance you need on this path towards forgiveness. Lastly, accept that mistakes and imperfections are part of life's journey. They don't define your past, and they certainly can't define your future. Taking things one day at a time, with forgiveness you will find the light at the end of this tunnel.