You Are Not Your Divorce

Our traumas help to form us, but we do have to let them define us.   You are not what happened to you. You are not your suffering.  The first step in healing is taking ownership of your reactions and choosing to respond in a manner which will help you let go of the past.

You will always see the event as a delineation in your memories; there is a “you” before and a different “you” after that has been changed by the trauma. When you become stuck, you view the repercussions of the event as malevolent and place the responsibility for the changed self on the event.

It happened.  It hurt.  It changed you.  By letting it define you, you simply give it more power.  You have the ability to create beauty out of the pain.

One of the most powerful images I held in my mind during my divorce was that of how I handled a fallen tree in my garden.  I had a large tree come down in an area where I had cultivated a beautiful woodland garden.  Those delicate plants were now exposed to the harsh midday sun and would not survive.  I mourned the loss of the area for a day or so and then I went to work.  I dug up and moved all of the shade-lovers and replanted them in new areas that would still give them the shelter they needed.  I then loaded up my car with sun-loving plants from the nursery (yes, this was the fun part!) that I never had space for before. I was able to create a new, different, but even more beautiful garden where the tree had fallen.

Are you letting your divorce define you? Do you give it (or your ex) the power to control your life now?  This is a choice and you can change your mind.

Consciously Choosing to Move Forward.


9 thoughts on “You Are Not Your Divorce

  1. This is, I think, the biggest struggle for some people. To shrug off the victim label and create something new…. That is both the challenge and the sweet opportunity…. 🙂

  2. This new reality (divorce) is still very new in my case. (I found out this was coming mid-April). Having said that, I still see great value in what you’re saying.

    I am still coming to grips with all of it. I haven’t worked entirely through range of anger, sadness and general despondency but I’m getting there. I do believe that, ultimately, I will find happiness and self-esteem again. In fact, although we have only scratched the surface of separation and divorce, there are already things I am looking forward to (like not being treated like a daycare provider, cook and maid by my soon-to-be ex).

    Please, keep writing. What you are doing here is a tremendous help to me and I am truly thankful for your work and words.

    1. In those early months, hold onto any of those little things you can look forward to. Those are your life rafts as you navigate to your new shore.

      Be patient with yourself. Healing takes time. I’m almost three years out, and my life is much more good than bad, but there are still remnants of my wounds. It’s important to do the work to heal, yet continue to live during the process. Life is not a waiting room.

      (wow. I may have reached a new metaphor record here:) )

      …and don’t worry, I have hundreds of post ideas and a book in the works…this girl ain’t ready to shut up yet:)

  3. He was cheating on me for years and then left me to marry his trainer 32 years younger. He was diagnoised a narcissist and mentally and emotionally abused me for the 10 years of our marriage .Everythingwas ALWAYS my fault. No matter what would hapen he would blame me and yell and scream.
    He was 18 years older when we met. I was divoreced(last man and father to my 2 children (now 18 and 20 left me for a man). This man was the lkindest most loving caring fun man I ever met. He insisted I did not work and jsut be a mom and wife. I gave up my pharmaceutical career and did that and was on top of the world. Seven years in to our marraige he started taking trips on his own and spendign days at the beach alone etc. No more sex and he yelled at me more and more. He said it was teh bad economy, but long after our divorce I learned he started a new life with his 30 year old trainer (whom he married).
    He is 65 and she is 31 and they are so in love. Together for over 3 years, I gave up my dreams and goals to be his wife. He was so abusive that I ended up in the hospital having kidney surgery (while I was under anesthesia he walked out and sent divorce papers 2 weeks later) To this day he never said one word to me and if I run in to him he hides or runs the other way. This makes me feel so worthless. I was home every day ..gave up all my friends to just be a wife and mom. He has an awful prenup (he had me sign and said just sign this you wil never ever see it again) It was a business contract that if he ever got tired of me I get 100K and and must evict his home. We sold my home and put hte $$ in to remodeling his home ..where he lives with his new bride.
    The pain is so deep and I cannot snap out of it! Everytiem I run into them together they start kissing and make sure I see it! He is a wealthy businessman and she a trainer who was in heavy debt and now debt free and a new life of luxury. I said no to dating him at first because I felt he was a wealthy playboy that was too old for me. At that tiem he won over my children adn then me. I want to let go of the hurt and am so upset how this girl took my life and he threw me in the trash after 10 years of caring for him and his 90 year old father. The father used to say no one in the world has cared for him like me. I have no self esteem and can easily be controled…I was a dream for him, but then he found a younger more hoyt model!

  4. I went back to graduate school and have a year to go on my master. I became active in a foundation that helps children beat cancer and I go to church every day and hand all this to God. I am struggling something awful with lonliness and am scared to death to date. My ex is on top of the world thriving with his bride 34 years his junior. He goes about town telling everyoen how she never gets sick nor ever gets tired. At 31 I was like that too!
    Men NEVER have to pay for their pain they cause others….I will never understand!

    1. Well here’s hoping my wife “pays” for the pain she has caused me and indirectly caused our kids by her selfish actions (2 affairs and an ugly slide into the world of dominants and submissives, which she tried to bring me into. I’ve wondered if this is what being sexually assaulted feels like. Probably only scratching the surface of that which makes me have so much more compassion for victims of the real thing).

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