"This type of judgment is not a constructive use of your time, and the effort that it takes to exert that judgment is not a constructive use of your feelings."
The divorce experience does not start the first time you walk in for your consultation with your family law attorney, and it does not end when the divorce decree is finalized. The length of time that it takes to go through the motions and settle the situation on a legal, financial, and emotional level requires constant management.
This may require your divorce to be a thought in your head more frequently than you would like. As difficult as it may be to deal with, it is important to ignore the urge that some develop to judge yourself for having to deal with everything involved in getting a divorce.
For many, their natural inkling when facing the aftermath of a difficult situation that they were a major part of is to judge themselves for every entering that situation in the first place. They look down on themselves and question their own thoughts processes, to the point that many develop a distrust for their own decisions.
They become unsure of themselves and what it means to make a major life decision. Some look to retreat to what is familiar, and for those that do, that may mean their parents or moving to their hometown, where they feel emotionally safe.
Manifestation of guilt
However, they still may be forced to deal with judgement coming from within. For those that do, it can manifest a level of guilt. After all, you may not be the only one who has to go through the emotional steps to recover from your divorce.
You may have family members or friends, who are forced to deal with the emotional fallout from the divorce you experienced and have to decide how to process it all. These types of relationships can change, and as a result, the internal judgment for yourself may be intensifying.
This type of judgment is not a constructive use of your time, and the effort that it takes to exert that judgment is not a constructive use of your feelings. Internalizing this level of blame is not healthy and does nothing to improve your situation moving forward.
Just because others may or may not be judging you for your divorce, does not mean you have to do the same. You do not have to engage in this type of emotional warfare, especially against yourself. You have enough tangible issues to deal with after your divorce is finalized that the amount of effort that you waste judging yourself is effort that could be placed elsewhere.
You may come from a religion, a culture, or a family that emphasizes the finality in saying “I do” to someone. They may not understand the circumstances that you were facing in your marriage and may have a problem with you having gone through a divorce.
This type of pressure coming from outside forces reinforces the self-judgment and breeds the guilt. You feel bad for having disappointed your religious beliefs, your cultural standards, or your family by ending an unhappy and dysfunctional marriage, and you feel bad for having to come to grips with how your divorce interacts with your religion, your culture, or your family.
Processing and moving forward
Processing those emotions can be complicated, because you may not want to change your religious beliefs, ignore your cultural background, or disown family members. It may take assistance from a mental health professional, equipped with the knowledge and the background to help you navigate the intricacies of this situation.
While you may need assistance processing the emotions in the situation, taking the standards set by other avenues or family members to heart and allowing them to control how you treat yourself does not benefit your overall health and wellness and distracts your focus from the future that you are working toward.
Judging yourself for your being a part of a marriage that was unsustainable does not lead you to meeting someone new or reaching an emotional resolution, regarding your ex-spouse. You do not become a better person or a better future partner by doing that. You become entrapped by your own emotional actions.
You are choosing to judge yourself. While bad facts may exist in your case that may have prevented your divorce case from going the exact way you may desire, you are choosing to dwell and hold yourself accountable for something that has long since ended.
You need to be able to move on, and that starts with letting go of the guilt, the judgment, and all of the emotional baggage that may come with surviving a divorce. You need to embrace the freedom and potential of post-divorce life and create a new story for yourself judgment-free.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.