Here’s hoping that your summer has gotten off to a good start. At Surviving Your Split, all engines are running to make this your Summer of Feeling Better….even if you can’t shake your divorce.
This week, let’s attack that divorce elephant in the room—the one that may have been with us since we were young, the one that seems to follow us like a ghost even years after the divorce.
It is the dirty, pervasive, bigger, scarier version of its cousin, Guilt. And it can be the biggest obstacle to letting go of the past and moving on with your life. But today, we are going to start putting Shame in its place.
Understanding the Enemy: Shame
Shame is a beast. Some of us may have carried the shame burden for as long as we remember without even knowing what it was—even before divorce.
Best-selling author and renowned shame researcher Dr. Brene Brown studies shame and often points out the difference between shame and guilt. Simply, guilt is feeling bad for something you did. Shame is feeling bad for who you are.
These differences may seem slight, but they’re HUGE. Overcoming divorce guilt, can be done when you learn to forgive yourself with the Forgiveness Mindset and embrace letting go of what occurred in the past.
However, learning to overcome our sense of divorce shame can take a lot more work because shame is this permeating feeling—something that maybe we were even raised with and has been a part of our lives for a long time. Anytime our parents or teachers said, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” or anytime we have told ourselves that we are bad people, that we are unworthy of love and happiness, shame has been allowed to fester.
And when that sense of shame has been in us, certain events can really take us over the edge, such as when we divorce. We have a tendency to view ourselves through this toxic prism and say, “See?!?! I knew it! Because I am not a good person, that’s why the divorce happened! The divorce confirms this! And because I’m not a good person, I don’t deserve to move on and be happy! I deserve to feel like crap!”
But I’m here to tell you that those thoughts are just the Shame Monster, and the Shame Monster is full of shit.
Check out this awesome clip below, where Dr. Brown discusses Shame and how you can start countering it and getting your life back.
What always blows me away when watching this clip are the things that Shame needs to survive: Secrecy, Silence, and Judgement. After divorce, when we hide that we thing we are unworthy people, shame exists. When we refuse to talk about divorce shame and get it out in the open and admit what we feel, it will thrive in our souls. And when we continue to judge ourselves and put ourselves down, shame continues to mutate like some sort of super-virus with an unknown cure.
How on earth are we supposed to heal and move the hell on with that toxicity invading our lives?!
But guess what? You can move beyond it by embracing the following.