Divorce shaming is real. Sometimes, it’s why people stay in failed or abusive marriages. Other times, after the divorce, shame is the very thing keeping them from enjoying what’s supposedly a fresh chapter in their life. Either way, divorce shaming makes people miserable. If you’re thinking about breaking up with your spouse or you’ve just gotten out of a nasty court battle, don’t be stuck in the “disgrace” or “scandal” of this life transition. Deal with the unpleasant feelings, but will yourself to move forward.

The Faces of Shame

A lot of factors come into play, but everything boils down to two types of guilt: one from the society and one from direct experience. The former often comes from family and friends who have the strongest beliefs in marriage. You’ll hear different statements ranging from the deeply religious to downright judgemental, like “How can you be so selfish?” or “Didn’t you think about your kids?” No matter how hard you shut off these statements, plunging you further into that pit of shame. The popularity of social media, which makes it easier for people to hate on others, doesn’t help. It’s pointless to look at images of #relationshipgoals and news of whirlwind romances.

Divorce shame can also come from personal experience. You might be the one who wants the divorce, so it feels like you have given up. That sense of failure takes you on a guilt trip that you carry over to your life after divorce. Because you messed up big time, you’re afraid to date again. You feel undeserving of happiness, and blame yourself for why your children have drifted away from you.

In other instances, the shame comes from your nasty experience in court. Your ex might have tainted your reputation. You were probably forced to disclose details that were humiliating, such as money problems or intimacy issues. That horrible experience can inevitably affect your self-esteem. It’s ideal to work with an experienced divorce attorney. If you feel unsure, you can get in touch with the previous clients of a potential attorney in Denver.

The No-shame Action Plan

happy woman

Overcoming divorce shame is all about changing your perspective. For one, understand that you have no control over what people will say about your decisions. It’s a tragedy, but on the flip side, they have no final say about what you do with your marriage or your life as a whole. You don’t need to take their comments and advice to heart because they’re outsiders who don’t have the whole picture of what you went through. Another mindset change that you need to embrace is that your marriage or divorce doesn’t define your life. Your relationship is just one aspect of your existence. Failure in it doesn’t necessarily have to spell doom in others. Instead of focusing on one bad thing, look on the bright side. Words of encouragement, such as “I am loved” or “I am victorious,” can make a difference in your life.

In the end, divorce can affect a person’s emotional well-being in so many ways. If you’ve been feeling a sense of shame or guilt for so long, it’s time to get out of that pit. Move forward and practice self-care.