End Marriage Guilt – Secret Tips for Letting Go of Guilt
Guilt is a painful, uncomfortable, and often persistent emotion that many people I work with experience. You will learn about John and Dana’s experience and at the end are my 3 Secret Tips for Letting Go of Guilt, International Relationship Coaching and Divorce.
Take the case of John, after many years of endless agony and indecision, he recently left his marriage of 23 years to a woman who adored him. He wasn’t seeing anyone else. He loved her and cared for her, but he no longer wanted to be with her. They had nothing to talk about or in common and being around her and her home made him feel trapped and depressed.
He’s so relieved to have his own space, but he feels guilty about it. He told me, “Nicola, my wife has done nothing wrong and is begging me to come back. She keeps asking me when I’m coming home and suggesting vacations or weekend breaks we can take, to try to lure me back, I feel terrible with this is guilt. What should I do? John has no real reason to give it to him and it hurts him. He also called me to ask if he should tell him the truth about his intention to divorce or tell him gently over time. He felt mean, selfish and guilty , which was keeping him up at night.His kids are 19 and 21 and he also has guilt around them, although he said they took it well.He booked a VIP day with me to deal with these difficult feelings and we came up with actions that could take to get over the guilt.Below is a summary of what I said or you can skip to the next for my 3 secret tips for letting go of guilt.
Nicola Divorce Coach said
First of all, unless your wife is blind to the last 5 years that she said she was dying, deep down she knows the truth. She may not want to admit it, but she will have felt the withdrawal. It is likely that she will ask you back and her comments that the separation is only temporary is her way of coping. Most likely, she is trying not to face reality, pretending not to recognize the end.
She’s hurt, of course, and why not? Any romantic breakup is excruciatingly painful, let alone a 23-year marriage. But if you continue to be very nice and nice out of pity, you are giving mixed messages. This is worse for her as confused. To make a complete emotional separation and avoid hurting her further, you must be kind, firm, and limit or cut off contact.
John, you have taken action and you have taken a brave step. You said you were relieved; this is because you are listening to your true desires and have stopped lying to yourself. The guilt can be overwhelming, but we can get past these feelings and let them go (see my secrets below). The voice that says “How dare you put yourself first? She needs you and you need to go take care of her” needs to be challenged. Listening to this voice would be a mistake, since you would be lying to yourself and to her.
Nor does it matter whether or not he has done something wrong. The end of love is not right or wrong. It’s just the end of love. You are not an evil and selfish man. You are realizing the truth, that we can only be responsible for our own happiness, no one else’s. Therefore, you should focus on your own happiness. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them. You are trying to be honest, which is essential in life.
So I said to John, “Ask yourself, is it your wife who wants you to let her down gently, or will you feel better doing it gradually? Often when we can’t stand our own feelings, we avoid them by pushing them out.” to other people. We think (and hope) that by making them feel better, we can make ourselves feel better. Forgive me for saying this again, but you have to be responsible for your own feelings and ask her to do the same. uncomfortable feelings hurt but are necessary. By telling the truth you are putting yourself first, which we all deserve. Where is the morality of lying, of pretending to have feelings that you don’t? In the long run, the lies will resurface causing even more damage.
Dana was another woman I worked with, she also carried an enormous amount of guilt. She left her marriage after 2 years, with her one-year-old son. Her husband was emotionally abusive, it started as soon as they got married. Her attitude towards her changed and he began to constantly criticize everything he did, said and wore. During the first months of their marriage, she had two miscarriages. This was an extremely painful experience. She needed her love and support from her more than anything else, but he blamed her and became more aggressive and angry. From that moment on, she felt trapped. She hoped that when her child was born, he would change and be more loving. But the opposite happened, she became even more irritable and demanding. What bothered her most was her lack of interest in her son and her outbursts of anger when things didn’t go his way. He was never violent, but his moods were intolerable. She decided enough was enough, when he went out one day, she packed her bags and left.
Dana felt so guilty because when he found out she was gone, he broke down, begged her to forgive him, and told her he was sorry. She was calling and emailing frequently trying to get her back in a minute, saying that she had ruined her and her children’s lives and that the only decent thing she could make of her was to go back. Then the next minute she calls her names saying that she has destroyed the family name and brought shame on him and both families. Ella Dana knew inside of her that she had done what she had to do, but her guilt kept her up all night, she felt exhausted and depressed.
If any of this resonates with you, my heart goes out to you. If you are feeling guilty right now, rest assured that you are not alone, it is incredibly common. I have developed many techniques to help people deal with guilt and move past it.
Nicola’s secret to letting go of guilt Tip #1 – Distinguishing between need and love when ending a relationship
The guilt at ending your relationship shows your caring and sensitive side, but you have to distinguish between need and love. As we often confuse the two. Does your partner need you or love you? The need makes us feel valuable, when someone needs us and depends on us, it makes us feel important. But many would rather someone love us for our true flawed selves than for what we can do for them, would you agree? Do they NEED your financial, emotional and domestic support? Honestly, the overtime needs can seem overwhelming and demanding. So if you’re considering staying in a deeply unhappy marriage because your spouse needs you, it could be a sign that you need it for your own needs as well, as opposed to just your partners.
Nicola’s secret to letting go of guilt tip No2 – Did you do it on purpose? What does the word “Guilt” mean?
I always share in my one-on-one sessions that guilt is an often misunderstood and misused label that we give ourselves. Did you know that according to the English dictionary’s definition of guilt, guilt means “the intent to harm”? Did you deliberately set out to harm your children or spouse? Another definition online states that guilt is “the fact of having committed an offense, a crime, a violation or an evil”. Until now, with the exception of one person, all those with whom I have had the pleasure of working have not committed any crime or wanted to destroy anything or anyone. Perhaps a better description of how you feel is discomfort and concern about your care for the other person(s) involved. If you’re dealing with the end of your marriage and/or going through a divorce, chances are you already have enough on your plate to label yourself with a useless word. Ending a relationship that no longer serves you, your spouse, or your family does not make you a bad person. And I guess you didn’t do it on purpose.
Nicola’s Secret to Letting Go Guilt Tip No3 – Who Benefits?
When you feel guilty, ask yourself who is suffering and who is benefiting. So let’s say you stay up all night worrying, feeling sick and guilty about something, who suffers? Yes you suffer. Is this helping your ex-spouse? Your children? Does this benefit anyone? No, really all you are doing is punishing yourself, punishing yourself affects your health and your ability to care for yourself and others. So it doesn’t make sense. It serves no one.
To let go of guilt, ask yourself these questions: 1, Is there an action I can take that will help me let go of this feeling? Is there anything I can do in my power now to improve the situation or make me feel more comfortable? If so, take action, whether it’s an apology, a gesture of goodwill, a plan to help your child adjust, an action for your ex. If not, thank your mind for drawing your attention to the feeling. Ask him to show you any actions or amends you can make in the future. So just be at peace knowing that there is nothing you can do, let the painful thoughts go, knowing that they are not helping anyone. Lastly, remember that the blame is only your loving side coming out and that you deserve your own love. Give yourself love today, letting go of guilt.
Keep in mind that if you have ended or are ending your marriage, you may understandably feel responsible for your unhappiness. But the truth is that if you stayed in the marriage you would be miserable and they would be happy. So, in a nutshell: either you’re miserable for a long time, or they’re miserable until they accept it and walk away. As mentioned above, each one is responsible for his own happiness. You and only you are responsible for yours.