Forgiving Yourself

Yes, it’s true that in the beginning throes of divorce it is highly likely that you will place most of the blame on the opposite spouse.  This is a protective position, one that may be necessary for you to survive the divorce process with your ego intact.  It is the anger you experience at this time which helps fuel your lawyer to get the best settlement he can for you. ” Your lawyer repeats your version over and over in court as well as to the other lawyer.  Your belief in your version and the idea that there can be no alternative version becomes reinforced, In this situation it becomes almost impossible to see what your part in the breakdown of the marriage could be.”*

If you take a closer look, you will realize that you, too, probably made some (maybe small) contribution to the divorce.  It is hard to acknowledge one’s own contribution to the train wreck of divorce.  I know that it was always easier to blame my spouse than it was to look at my own actions.  Some of us will have had an affair during our  marriage which we now look upon as deceitful. Yet, at the time, the affair met a need that our husband/wife could not provide for us which made it necessary in it’s own right.  Some of us changed during the course of our marriages and fell out of love with the man/woman we were married to, but didn’t have the nerve to tell him/her. Maybe some of us became colossal “nags”, making it difficult to put up with us.  Maybe some of us had jobs that took us out of town so much that we eventually alienated our spouses.

The point is, there are always two sides in the divorce story, and if you are honest with yourself, you will acknowledge his/her faults along with your own. “When contemplating forgiveness, we need to look dispassionately at our heartache and see what part both parties have contributed.”*

Forgiving ourselves for the injustices we may have committed, is almost always more difficult that forgiving others.  One of the reasons for this is the sense of guilt we have for not being able to stop ourselves or for not playing fair.  You may have told yourself:  “…but I’m a better person than he/she is.” And then you look at your past actions and become ashamed.  This is when you most need to forgive yourself, and take responsibility for your actions.  And tell yourself it will never happen again, that it happened in a moment of weakness and that you are a stronger person now.  Taking responsibility is harder, but we ultimately feel better.  We have a choice*

If we can learn how to forgive the other person in the relationship then surely we can learn how to forgive ourselves.  The times, situations, children, travel, relatives  … there are many excuses for marriages becoming undone. “Forgiveness is the neurological traffic director for injuries in your psyche.  It is a way of life.  This strategy is for every slight that the world throws at you, whether fate, bad luck, or accidents of birth.  Forgiveness is one of the greatest tools for redrawing the neuropathways of your brain.”*

*Lowrance, Michele, The Good Karma  Divorce (New York: Harper Collins, 2010)