Many of us after divorce often feel jilted of what we once believed would be our future, and because of another (our ex) our life path veered off course through no choice of our own. Though that may or may not be true, we are nonetheless; left to deal with the aftermath that is divorce.
After divorce, many of us feel like victims, especially if we did not choose to leave. There are also a whole host of emotions to contend with such as: being sad, frightened as to what to do next, anger that spreads far and wide and the big kahuna is feeling like a failure. And, though those feelings are all natural and will take time to work through, the one thing you can do for yourself along the journey of healing is to not think of yourself as a VICTIM.
The word victim means “somebody hurt or killed or harmed or duped.” So, according to that definition, is everyone who gets divorced a victim? The most likely answer to that would be yes, you are a victim. You have been hurt, you been harmed, lied to or cheated on or treated badly or called names or dumped. All those things are possible and probable, and playing the victim for a little while may help you garner sympathy while you try to grieve, but keeping it going for the long haul is not healthy for you and for the people closest to you.
If you truly want to recover from your divorce, there comes a time when playing the victim needs to stop, and it’s time to pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off and start your new life. I’m not trying to make it sound simple or easy, because it’s not. But, you have two choices. Play the victim and blame everyone else for the rest of your life, or go out and grab the life you want. And THAT is a simple choice, isn’t it?
As those who have embarked on the quest for happiness after divorce know quite well, a crucial milestone on the path involves taking personal responsibility. Taking personal responsibility means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways in which you can be happy despite others' (negative) behaviors and despite the external circumstances. A person who has taken personal responsibility recognizes an all-important truth about happiness: your happiness depends much more on your attitude than it does on objective, external circumstances. And, by not taking responsibility for ourselves, we too often allow others to take responsibility for us. And in doing this we are essentially giving them permission to take charge of our lives.
One way to do this is to take control of your life. Here are a few suggestions:
Take back ownership of yourself.
This is much easier said than done since this involves extricating yourself from a relationship where you’ve really been a passive participant. It means standing your ground and not being satisfied with the status quo. But before you can fully take your life back you may need to acknowledge regret for time lost. The only way to move forward is to acknowledge what has happened to you—how you got there, and what you need to do that’s different from what you’ve done so far.
It’s also about recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting that you have been responsible in part for the life you find yourself in, since you allowed he or she to treat you the way they did. It’s also about shifting your attention to your own needs and goals, by prioritizing what is most important to you. In this way you will foster your self-esteem that has most likely knocked down a few notches.
Recognize and acknowledge you hold the power to your future happiness.
You may have felt out of control by past events, but it is now up to you to make your future your own. Now is the moment. The past is just a memory. The future is a mental projection. You can choose to dwell back in the past for learning and reflection. You can choose to dwell in the future for visualization and practical planning. However, any time your awareness floats away to the past or future frequently for negative purposes, you are suffocating your ability to thrive in the only moment you ever have… the now.
Challenges are gifts for your growth.
Without challenges you cannot unlock your full potential. If we begin to look at obstacles as opportunities for growth it shifts our whole way of thinking and creates opportunities of self-discovery instead of falling back into the VICTIM mindset. The world needs the richness of who you are, and it is through your experiences in life that you unfold into that completeness. How can you demonstrate willpower and strength if your resolve has never been tested? How can you role model love and compassion if you have never faced the opposite? Knowing there is a higher purpose within dark times, is what leads you to be at peace in the midst of those storms.
Forgiveness is choosing happiness over hurt.
We do not forgive others in order to free them of the situation, burden, guilt or regret. We forgive others to free ourselves and walk into compassion and love by doing so. It is in freeing ourselves that our energy level rises, our consciousness rises, and in doing so those around us benefit too. The words of forgiveness have a positive impact on those we forgive, but ultimately forgiveness is a choice that allows us to be happy again. This doesn’t mean you ever have to utter the words I forgive you to your ex, it’s good enough to think it, and in truth it may take a very long time to get there. Although, after divorce, the most important person you can forgive would be forgiving yourself. After all, it all begins with you.
Monday nights on ABC is the night my daughter and I sit together to watch the Bachelor, or its sister show The Bachelorette. It has enough drama and sabotage to make most people want to steer clear of competing for affection in this way, but the ratings are high and they just keep the show coming every season. Frankly, I am amazed that the show is still on after nearly 15 years, but then again I’m not.
I think we as a country are obsessed with relationships and finding love, why else would women and men put their hearts in harm’s way to “find love” on a television show? I’m positive that many of them are there just for their 15 minutes of fame, but others believe they can find their prince or princess in this format. To that point, online dating is exploding because it can match people in different geographical areas with each other.
Regardless how couples meet today, relationships still end in heartbreak and divorce, but, why? So many of us put a lot of time and emphasis into finding someone to love and to love us, but yet our relationships and marriages still fall apart. What’s the problem?
Well, one can say by looking at what’s happening in our country right now that we are a bunch of whiners and arguers. I’m not trying to be controversial or political, just stating current facts. Honestly someone who whines and argues a lot is not someone I would like to plan my forever with, which would explain partially why I am divorced. But in truth, there are many deeper reasons why men and women struggle with keeping a healthy relationship going strong.
Here is a list of 5 mistakes men and women make before getting married.
1. You hate being single. Let’s be honest, many people hate being single, but is that a reason to latch on to someone? There is a huge difference between wanting to enjoy a relationship and feeling that you are doomed for single-hood if you are not coupled with someone. What many fail to realize is: if you are not comfortable in your own skin you will settle for people and situations that are wrong for you.
2. You believe that finding the right one will bring you happiness. Let’s be real, if you don’t love yourself enough to be alone, then how will you know who the “right” one is? Being in love and being loved is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world, but expecting another to make you happy is a recipe for disaster. What many fail to realize is: you have to be happy and content with yourself before you will be able to receive the everlasting kind of love in your life you deserve.
3. You make the other person your world. This is especially true for women, though the occasional man will do the same. We all know of women who have suddenly found themselves in a relationship and the guy becomes her everything in a short amount of time. Her dreams, hobbies, and passions suddenly center on him. He IS her new-found hobby. Initially it will feel good to their partners’ ego, but most men will bail before walking down the aisle with this kind of woman, since they realize it is way too much responsibility in being the center of someone’s world. For those who do take the marital plunge, it won’t be long before the woman realizes she sold herself out and resentment will bloom loudly damaging the already fragile relationship. That said it is extremely important that we make our relationships our priority, while cherishing and appreciating our partners. What many fail to realize is: keeping our relationships a priority is different than making the other person your world. It is important to have other interests to keep you grounded and involved in their own life.
4. You are not clear about expectations. Many couples do not start out making their expectations clear from the onset. It is imperative that each understands what the other person’s expectations are about having a family, division of labor, money, where you want to live, how often you want sex, etc. But many couples do not have those conversations or if they do it’s more surface talk than getting to the nitty gritty. They assume that all will just fall into place, but it won’t and doesn’t for the majority of couples. What many fail to realize is: we each go into marriage with preconceived notions of what our life will look like. For many it will look like their parents’ marriage, but that may not even register for the person they are marrying. You cannot walk down the aisle without putting the work in to see if you and your spouse to be are on the same page. For if you are not willing to put the work in before it will be a costly mistake since changing another persons expectations is a futile task.
5. You both do not have similar communication styles. This is similar to expectations because it is quite difficult, or near to impossible to change a person’s communication style since it makes up who they are. Many couples believe their arguments never get resolved because one partner likes to confront, while the other wants to avoid. It is a typical scenario in relationships; however it can make each person feel unheard and unloved. Having different communication styles can destroy relationships, and is one of the top predictors for divorce, but it doesn’t have to be the ruination of your relationship. Partners can learn to relate to each other more positively, but they will have to work at it. What many fail to realize is: different communication styles only become a problem when partners don’t understand their differences and fail to accommodate one another. But the good news is that you can learn to communicate to your differences.
Wishing you success in your journey to find the love you deserve!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers!!
Whether you are a part of a couple or not, try to remember that it is truly better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.
When I think of all the years I spent dreading this Hallmark holiday, it makes me sad. However, I am now filled with love and gratitude for all the loved ones I have in my life.
If you are without a partner and have children, you were their first love so why not shower them with attention and make a special dinner and a yummy chocolate dessert.
If you are alone, then splurge on yourself doing whatever makes you happy.
It is all about your mindset!
Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t!
And, be grateful for everything big and small!
Wishing showers of love to you all!!!
Has been writing most of her adult life on various topics important to women and children. If you are contemplating divorce, then you should check out her e-book.
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