Does my divorce mean I'm a failure?

posted 21 Feb 2011, 05:37 by Collaborative Divorce News   [ updated 21 Feb 2011, 05:39 ]
This question hits a very raw nerve for many people facing divorce.  Marriage, we were always taught, is for life - otherwise why bother getting married?  So when it doesn’t last a lifetime, it seems someone must be to blame.  “Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I should have spoken up earlier.  Maybe I should have seen it coming.  Maybe I was too passive, too bossy, too preoccupied.  Maybe I’m just useless at relationships.”  Sound familiar?

There are all kinds of other mishaps in life that we easily forgive ourselves for, but the prospect of divorce can press all our self-blame buttons.  Why?

I recently conducted some research into what marriage means to us, and discovered that it cuts across all the key reference points we use for conceptualising our world and our place within it.  It contributes to our understanding of ourselves and others in legal, moral, emotional, political and developmental terms.  You don’t even have to like or approve of marriage for it to hold this level of impact.  In fact, not liking it indicates its power just as much as liking it does.

Now, if we take just one of those domains - moral - and remind ourselves that our cultural history is steeped with the notion that marriage is good - so divorce, therefore, is bad - it instantly becomes clear why your divorce is making you feel you’re suddenly living on the wrong side of the tracks, whether it was your choice or not.  This is a feeling, remember, not a thought.  Rationally you may know the relationship was irreparable, going nowhere, over.  But this isn’t enough to dispel those gnawings of primitive, reactive guilt and sense of failure.

It might surprise you to know that Collaborative Practice takes all this into account.  Whether the person you’re working with is a Family Consultant (Counsellor/Psychotherapist), a lawyer or a financial adviser, we’ll be listening to what’s happened, how you feel about it and what you need, but never judging you.  Those moralising days are long gone.  Our holistic interdisciplinary approach just focuses on helping you achieve whatever it is you need to build the best future for your children, yourself and your ex, emotionally, practically and financially.

It can be a tough challenge, but if by working together we can keep your divorce out of court, that’s a success, not a failure.