Owning your divorce and ignoring critical opinions

Divorce no longer carries the stigma that it did in the past. There was a time when divorce was not socially acceptable, and individuals often stayed in dysfunctional marriages simply to avoid the harsh judgment of others.

Obviously, divorce is more common now and much more socially acceptable. But that doesn’t mean judgment and criticism have completely gone away. After a lot of soul-searching, some people find that they are judgmental about divorce, which can be a real problem if they end up facing their own divorce later on.

Common, negative judgments about divorcees include assumptions that they are lazy, selfish, bad at interpersonal communication, unwilling to put their children’s needs first . . . the list goes on and on. But are any of these assumptions actually true? In most cases, the answer is no.

It is a lot more tempting to judge someone else’s actions when you have not faced a similar experience. There are numerous online opinion pieces (like the one linked at the bottom of this piece) that discuss experiencing divorce firsthand rather than simply observing it. The author of the piece below refers to her former self as a “judgmental idiot that completely discounted the anguish a toxic relationship can place on a soul.”

Divorce is already difficult enough without having to worry about harsh judgments from others or unreasonable self-judgments. If you are facing divorce and struggling with these kinds of issues, perhaps you are still holding on to some past prejudices without realizing it.

Everyone needs to “own” his or her experiences in life, including difficult experiences such as divorce. If you feel that your decision to divorce is necessary and justified, then you need not listen to any critics – including the ones in your head.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Things I Used To Judge About Divorcees (Until I Was One),” Jenny Erikson, Nov. 25, 2014

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