“Funny” things happen when we are faced with divorce. People around us seem to behave differently; some friends and family stick to you like glue with their love and support while others abruptly vanish. Depending on the circumstances, your “soon-to-be ex” can become nearly unrecognizable, hiding behind a mask of hurtful words and unloving behavior. And you? You are left standing with feelings of guilt laced with rejection. I ‘get’ it…I ‘get’you…because that was me. And not just once but, three times.
Guilt by definition is “the feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc. whether real or imagined”. For many of us, a divorce will trigger feelings of guilt. All too often we have done things to others that we are not proud of, hurting the other deeply…as well as ourselves. Speaking from my own experience, ill behavior by both parties resulted in divorce. I was left a single parent of a 14 month old child, with very little money…and dressed in guilt. (that was my 2nd divorce—similar patterns repeated in the 3rd along with the arrival of my second child)
The most challenging was the guilt I had attached to money. Money is a survival issue…and I was alone to raise first one child, then two. “Why didn’t I save more?” “I should not have given him money to pay for his car, his tuition, etc.” “What have I been spending my money on? I’m drowning in debt!” Oftentimes my guilt over money would throw me into a state of panic and anxiety, rendering me powerless. I felt like a fool.
“The only way to heal the wounds of the past, ultimately, is to forgive them and let them go.” ~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love.
If you let it, guilt will render you disabled and sabotage any chance you have of experiencing true wealth and success. Guilt is a negative emotion attached to the past and takes root in fear. In order to release the guilt, you must change the negative thoughts and feelings surrounding your divorce and money. The only way to do this is through forgiveness…forgive yourself of any and all perceived wrong-doing as well as your former spouse/partner. Forgiveness is the path that leads you out of the past and into the present moment. Real transformation of the self and your financial circumstances comes from the consciousness with which you are doing it. To be conscious is to be in the present moment. Therefore, real transformation cannot occur so long as you harbor feelings of guilt or any other negative emotion or thought.
If you have feelings of guilt about your divorce I now ask you, “Are you ready and willing to feel better now? Are you ready and willing to release your guilt, release the past, so that you may move into the present moment and make the necessary changes to create a life of financial empowerment and joy?” If you answered “yes”, here are a few ideas to help you on your path to transformation…
1. Gain clarity on what your guilt is attached to… I suggest you record your thoughts and feelings in a journal. What is your story? Is your guilt attached to money, your ex-spouse/partner, your children? Be clear about accountability…own what is yours and recognize what is not. Take your time with this. Be gentle, be compassionate, be honest.
2. If your guilt is attached to money—what dis-empowering expressions leave you “stuck”? Do you hear yourself saying “I’ll never get myself out of debt.” or “I’ll never have enough money…” “I don’t see myself getting out of this rut and having abundance and happiness.” Time to create positive expressions to support what you want in your life. Key is…you must believe these new statements. So play, experiment. Try this–“I have enough money to support all of my needs.” “I am very careful in how I spend my money.” These new expressions can take the form of a prayer or affirmation. Either way, they will ease the guilt and open the channel to feeling empowered.
3. “Let go, let God”…This always seems to work for me. After having done item #1…I take my journal and tear out the pages. I get a lighter and go outside. I then say something like a prayer, “I forgive myself (and others by name) of all real and perceived wrong-doings. I release my guilt, I release my past. I step firmly into the present, now at peace.” I take the lighter and burn the pages from the journal. So be it.
I believe we have a choice in how we learn and move through our life lessons and transitions. We can do so through joy or pain. Decision is yours. Either way, the lesson will be learned. Personally, my lessons of guilt, divorce, bankruptcy, and forgiveness were learned through pain and suffering. I realize now that it doesn’t have to be that way…for anyone.