Why Do You Feel Guilty After Divorce?
There are many reasons that you may feel guilty after divorce. Some reasons may be valid, but most are not. For instance, you may feel guilty if you had an affair – this would be a valid reason for feeling remorse. On the other hand, if your ex had a controlling personality, he may convince you that all of the problems in the marriage were because of you and tell you that it is all your fault, causing you to feel guilty – this would be an invalid reason to feel guilt.
Other reasons you may feel guilty include religious reasons, that you destroyed your children’s life or that you did something wrong that caused your husband to leave or to have an affair.
What Is Guilt?
According to the World English dictionary, guilt is: 1) The fact or state of having done wrong or committed an offence. 2) Responsibility for a criminal or moral offence deserving punishment or a penalty. 3) Remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence.
In other words, Guilt is a sense of remorse for past thoughts, feelings or actions. Guilt may also be a feeling that you should have done or said something or that you should be doing something.
6 Steps to Stop Feeling Guilty After Divorce
1. Sit quietly with yourself and reflect on the reason why you feel guilty after divorce. Did you actually do something that you need to feel guilty about? The act of leaving and divorcing your husband, in of itself is not a valid reason to feel guilty, as you more than likely had very good sound reasons for leaving. Recognize and identify with your guilty feelings and ask yourself if you believe you did something wrong or immoral deep in your heart.
2. Acknowledge what you did wrong. Accept that you are human and are not perfect. It is not the first mistake that you ever made, nor will it be the last. The past is gone and you cannot change it.
3. If there is no valid reason for you to feel guilty, ask yourself why you are allowing other peoples opinions and circumstances dictate your feelings. No one else can feel your feelings or live your life. You are not responsible for what another person believes, says or does. You may have been conditioned to believe that divorce is a sin or that it is the woman’s job to keep the husband happy. These are beliefs of other people and there is nothing stating that they need to be yours and they are often the root of women feeling guilty after divorce.
4. What positive experiences are you getting from feeling guilty? It may be a way to avoid grieving or accepting the end of your marriage. There may or may not be a positive reason for feeling guilty. Be honest with yourself when contemplating this question.
5. Seek forgiveness from all whom are involved. In a divorce, this may also include the children. You may need to ask your ex or your children for forgiveness for any part you had in the separation. Above all, FORGIVE YOURSELF!
6. Learn from any mistakes that you made. Let go of the past and move on. Let go of the “should haves,” “should not haves,” “could haves” and “if only’s.” If you are continually asking yourself these questions you are living in the past, which means you are not creating the future you want. Feeling guilty over divorce keeps you stuck in the past. It’s time to move on.
If your guilt seems to be eating you alive, consider scheduling a “Getting Unstuck” session with Cindy and discover what your next steps are, based on your personal situation.