From time to time when talking to clients, they tell me they were caught off guard by their divorce.
Some even proclaim their spouses left them “one day, without any warning!” I usually respond by asking: “Is that actually true? Were there really no warning signs?”
Upon deeper reflection, in almost every case some “warning” signs were already present.
Often, they were evident looking quite a way back. Consequently, the day their partner left actually took place after an accumulation of many previous warning signs. Sadly, they were overlooked or dismissed.
While that doesn’t soften the blow of the experience, it puts another perspective on the importance of being aware of what’s going on in your relationship. That means keeping your eyes wide open even when you’d prefer not to “see.”
Think back on all the times you felt something was not quite right, but you just couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Or you couldn’t decide what to do about it or how to address the issues.
Those were warning signs, whether you decided to act on them or not.
Most of us weren’t raised with the knowledge of how to tune in to our emotions, let alone to someone else’s emotions. So, it can be easier to look the other way, dismiss the behavior … or just do nothing about it. Nevertheless, they were “warning signs” indicating all was not okay.
Think back to some incidents when you chose, perhaps and most probably unconsciously, to brush those signs away. How often did that happen? From that viewpoint does the fatal moment still look like “one day, without any warning?”
When life throws a curve ball at you, it’s important to stop, digest the circumstances and ask yourself some serious questions:
- What part did I play in this experience?
- What did I miss that I can now see more clearly?
- What can I do, moving forward, to prevent this from happening again?
- What lessons can I learn that can help me transform my life in better ways?
We call this doing the “inner work.” That means taking responsibility for your role, actions or inactions. That way you can heal more quickly and move on, especially from feeling like being a victim in your life.
Owning your part, forgiving yourself for any mistakes, and identifying the lessons that come with the experience will give you control over tomorrow, as well as your entire future. And that is essential if you are to grow and create better times ahead. No doubt, this can be a tough step to take – accepting responsibility for understanding how you came to this point in your life – but it is also a valuable step in the right direction.
Letting go of victimhood can lead to personal empowerment, greater self-esteem, and the confidence to know you are the creator in your life from this day forward.
Perhaps that is the true “gift” you can receive from the pain of a breakup or divorce. You cannot move forward when you are focused on looking behind. Is it time to let go of some of the blame and anger so you can reframe your life in the direction you want to take it? I sincerely hope so. And I encourage you to reach out to a therapist, coach, support group or other trusted help through the process.
If you’d like to share your wisdom on how you took steps toward personal empowerment during or after your divorce, or if you’d like to share some warning signs that you overlooked while you were married, I would all appreciate your contribution. Please share in the comments section below!
Wishing you a bright future!