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5 Steps To Overcome Divorce Shame

Beverly Price May 2023

Empowered Divorce Thought Leader: Beverly Price

Divorce can often trigger feelings of shame due to the stigma that still surrounds it.

Unlike guilt, shame is the belief that you are bad because of something that happened to you. Overcoming shame associated with divorce can be a challenging and lengthy process, but it’s possible.

“Acknowledge that your ex is doing the best they can, and so are you.”

Free Yourself From Divorce Shame:

To start living a more fulfilling life, here are five steps you can take: practice self-compassion and compassion for others, identify your triggers, challenge shame-based thoughts, surround yourself with positive people, and commit to personal growth.

To begin freeing yourself from divorce shame, here are five steps [1] you can take:

  1. Practice self-compassion and compassion for others.

Inner peace is essential for happiness, and you can’t achieve that by constantly criticizing yourself or others. Acknowledge that your ex is doing the best they can, and so are you. Softening your feelings towards your ex and yourself can lead to improved mental health and manifestation of positive experiences in life.

  1. Identify your triggers.

What causes you to feel shame? Is it critical relatives, social media, or comparing yourself to your ex’s new life? Once you’ve identified your triggers, avoid them, and develop coping skills to prevent acting from a place of shame.

  1. Challenge shame-based thoughts.

Thoughts and feelings are not necessarily true, and they can be changed. When negative thoughts arise, ask yourself if they are valid, what evidence supports them, and whether they help or hurt. This shift in perspective can be liberating.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people.

If you’ve internalized negative messages from childhood, you may attract people who confirm your misguided notions. End relationships with individuals who make you feel bad about yourself or limit your contact with them. Spend time with those who treat you well and make you feel good about yourself.

  1. Commit to personal growth.

If you’ve suffered childhood trauma, it’s essential to work through your wounds and develop coping skills. Seek therapy, join a support group, or talk to a trusted friend or relative. Remember that you are more than the bad things that have happened to you, and you can choose how to act.

Shame can be corrosive, making you believe that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, which can lead to projecting blame onto your ex or withdrawing from life altogether. High-conflict divorces often involve individuals who haven’t worked through their shame, leading to chronic litigation, custody battles, and hostile co-parenting. This focus on blame and externalizing problems only perpetuates bitterness and detracts from potential new opportunities and relationships.

The Commitment Of “‘Til Death Do Us Part”:

Many people feel ashamed of admitting that they are divorcing due to the oath that many married couples take in front of family and friends, the commitment of “’til death do us part.” While many marriages are successful, others find they are unable to make it work. The emotional demands of a close friendship, coupled with cohabiting and sexual intimacy, make it difficult to make a marriage work successfully over the course of a lifetime.

“Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel your emotions.”

It’s essential to understand that divorce does not define you as a person. It does not make you any less of a valuable human being. While it’s natural to feel a sense of loss, sadness, and uncertainty after a divorce, it’s crucial to focus on the positive aspects of your life and the future.

Remember that healing takes time and effort. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel your emotions. Seek support from a divorce coach, family or friends. Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as exercise or mindfulness practices.

Finally, focus on personal growth and self-discovery. Use this time to learn more about yourself, your needs, and your goals. Explore new hobbies, take classes, or travel to new places. This is an opportunity to create the life you want, on your terms.

A Divorce Coach:

A divorce coach – one of the most can help a woman navigate the challenging road through divorce. Not only are they there for education, support and understanding, but in many cases like mine, they are there to help you develop skills and tactics to cope with shame and other negative emotions. 

In conclusion, divorce shame can be a significant barrier to moving on after a divorce, but it is possible to overcome it. By practicing self-compassion, identifying your triggers, challenging shame-based thoughts, surrounding yourself with positive people, and committing to personal growth, you can break free from the toxic emotions associated with divorce and start living a fulfilling life. Remember that divorce does not define you, and healing takes time, but with effort, professional guidance and support, you can create a brighter future for yourself.

[1]Women’s Divorce:  https://www.womansdivorce.com/divorce-guilt.html

[2] Psychology Today:  

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-is-2020/202008/the-psychology-shame-and-divorce

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About the Author:

Beverly Price, MBA, Certified Divorce Coach®, podcast host, and Founder of Her Empowered Divorce, combines divorce and empowerment coaching to provide education, support, and insight to guide women from beginning to end of the divorce process, and to conquer its emotional, technical, financial and logistical challenges and fears. 

She coaches women through the ups and downs and grow from self-doubt to self-love quicker, with less pain, more knowledge and more support than she had.  She has a personal history with divorce, co-parenting, domestic violence and more. Combining her personal experience with her training, professional certifications and business knowledge, she can help women by supporting them along their journey, helping them to work through resentments, time management, communication, overwhelm, fear, sadness and shock. You can schedule a complimentary consultation with Beverly at https://www.herempowereddivorce.com