There is nothing that can be more painful, and empowering, than healing from and moving forward after divorce. And more specifically, from the process of understanding what really happened.
Not just looking back and re-living the awful behavior of our partner; the infidelity, the verbal abuse, the self-centeredness, the insensitivity, the lack of passion, lack of attention and inability to partner fully, but understanding the real reasons that things didn’t work out in the first place.
I knew early on in my marriage that mine was not the right marriage, or relationship, for me. Of course I didn’t know it intellectually, but rather way, deep down inside; in a place thickly covered by fear, sadness, disappointment, and a desire to make it work as I believed I was supposed to do.
Many years later, as my courage, confidence and shear unhappiness allowed me to set my “knowing” free and eventually divorce, I found myself in the process of moving forward after divorce. And even my “knowing” that divorce was the right thing for us did not prevent the pain, the sadness and the exhaustion of doing the hard work of understanding what happened, so that I could begin to create the life I truly did want.
Initially this process began with the comfort of fully exploring (elaborating) and accepting all of the things that my husband had done to prevent our marriage from working. All of his inadequacies, his imperfections and his inability and unwillingness to do what it would take to make it a salvageable relationship.
After all, his choices, his behavior and his lack of contribution to the solution was the “real” reason for the divorce, wasn’t it?
My friends and family were perfectly happy discussing (over and over again), how imperfect he was. How at fault he was. Clearly they all could see the truth as well. Or, what I realize now, was their attempt to make me feel better by perpetuating the justification of why I made the right decision.
As I began to create my new, empowered, and “ideal” life, I began to let go of my sadness, my anger and my frustration with beginning anew, and instead, embrace it. And as I did, with the help of my own amazing coaches and new friends, I also began to question if I had been truly honest about what really happened in our relationship and marriage. It was pointed out to me that I had never asked myself the most important question of all, what role had I played in it not working out?
And so I did.
What I learned is that it is in answering this question that the greatest amount of healing is done. The self-exploration around how I had contributed to the dynamic of our relationship was ultimately the key to having everything I want. And it in no way marginalized, diminished or condoned the role my husband played. The truth; there wasn’t anything either one of us could have done to make the relationship or marriage work, for many reasons. But I now understand exactly what I want to receive and what I want to bring to the table in a new relationship.
It isn’t easy to ask the question, “what did I do?”, because it forces us to face our own inadequacies and imperfections. And if you did not initiate your divorce, and don’t fully understand what happened, this will be particularly painful. I strongly recommend that you get the kind of support you need and deserve to do this self-exploration in a safe and comfortable way.
So, if you haven’t asked yourself this question, why not?
- Is it that you feel that you, in no way, deserved the kind of treatment you have gotten from your Ex so no matter what you did, it is irrelevant?
- Is it that his/her infidelity or abusive behavior far exceeds anything you might have contributed so anything you did is insignificant relative to how horrible you have been treated?
- Or is it that when married, no matter what we contribute, there is an “obligation” to stay in the marriage and make it work? Especially for the children?
Here’s the truth; the greatest gift you can give yourself is to understand your role in the demise of your relationship and marriage, despite what your Ex has done. Not only will this set you free, but it is the way to begin the process of letting go of what was to make room for what will be.
I am in no way saying that this is easy, far from it. But it is in this journey to understanding that true healing becomes possible.