Divorce Hurts. Individual Responsibility Heals

by : Len Stauffenger

Our earliest efforts to handle pain include running from it, avoiding it at any cost, saturating it with alcohol, and numbing it with drugs. None of these work. What does work is wrapping our arms around the pain and just sitting with it. Look at it. Feel it. Be objective. It will begin to heal if you do.

Divorce is painful. You've felt that one. Don't like it; don't want it. Oh no! I'm stuck with it. You could act like an adult with maturity to see if you can find some realistic ways to both learn what you need to learn and to make the hurt stop.

Many negative emotions come up over divorce: shame, blame, guilt, embarrassment, fear. I can assure you that once you go through this trauma, at some point in your life you'll be able to look back as I just did and ask "What kinds of negative emotions were there?" and be able to recite them without one emotional ripple.

How do you get to that point? If you live long enough, time alone will provide the distance you need to become objective. If you use your ability to reason, you will see that you can distance yourself from the pain and you'll become more objective about it. If you have friends you trust, you'll listen to the lessons they've learned and learn from them yourself.

Let us examine ways to look at the pain. The first thing you should do is to quite blaming someone else. It took both of you to create this divorce. It might appear that you are innocent, but trust me, whatever you did or did not do played a part in the divorce.

Let's look at a tough example. Maybe you really were a great wife and you did everything a wife should do, but your husband just never appreciated you. And you're thinking, how was I responsible for our divorce?

My question to you would be, "Whatever flaws your ex had, was there any sign of them before you got married? Or before you had children? Was there anything you consciously or unconsciously ignored or blinded yourself to?" Your responsibility may be nothing more than the fact that you knew he was selfish but you married him anyway.

This is a lesson that applies to everything that makes you unhappy in your life, whether it's your boss, your lover or your children. Don't do what everyone else does, which is to blame the other person or the situation. Instead, the first question should be "What's my role in this? How am I causing this or contributing to this?" Just remember, it's not about fault; it's really about consequences.

When you get this, it's a wonderful tool for your life because it allows you to solve your problems. This isn't about fault; it's about self-discovery. The more you know about yourself and the reasons for your actions and your motivation, the more satisfying and fulfilling your life becomes, because you're no longer operating on automatic pilot.

From a place of no blame, simply look at the situation. Look at it from the perspective of a wise elder. If it's painful, simply sit with the pain. Let it wash over you. Observe how it makes you feel. I promise you that it will not kill you. Once you feel it, it will begin to disappear. If you refuse to look at it, it will remain forever. Does it make you uncomfortable? Does it make you want to run? Drink? Eat? Don't let yourself get sidestepped into these behaviors. Just sit with it and it will run it's course. Divorce is painful, but you don't need to allow blame, guilt, or embarrassment to continue forever if you will permit yourself some self-discovery.