At worst, your story can keep you stuck, sometimes for years, in a toxic stew of negativity about a part of your life. At best, it can suck the joy out of your life and unconsciously influence you as you attempt to rebuild. How do you know if your story is sabotaging you?
Ask yourself these questions:
–During conversations with your friends and family, do you often find yourself bringing up how your divorce is impacting you or the latest antics of your Ex?
–Are you talking about your divorce or your Ex to people you’ve just met or don’t know well?
–Do you feel your divorce and, by extension, your Ex is to blame for your situation, feelings or challenges?
–Are you more drawn to people who sympathize and/or agree with your position?
–When someone asks you about your Ex, do you use it as an opportunity to get in a jab about him or her?
–Is there clearly a “bad character” in your story and it’s not you?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your story is holding you back. This is good to know. It’s an important step in shifting beyond a limited interpretation of past events that impedes your current progress.
By repeatedly telling the story of how you got, or continue to get, screwed by your Ex, you are firmly keeping yourself in the victim position. This is a completely powerless, frustrating and toxic place to be. And, it keeps you from moving on. But, “it’s what happened” you may say. And I say, it’s one way of looking at what happened—there are many truths unexamined that could propel you forward if you’re willing to look.Breaking free requires the willingness to look at your own role in what went down. Click To Tweet
Breaking free requires the willingness to look at your own role in what went down. Maybe you didn’t actively do anything but you passively allowed things that weren’t OK with you. This is just as important to acknowledge and “own” about your role.
I’ll give you an example from my own divorce. While I was married, I allowed my then husband to take most of the money out of our house and savings and put it into a real estate deal. We lost it all. WOW. Most of the money I’d saved for 10 years, plus the money in our house, was gone in one fell swoop.
Although I’d had serious doubts about the deal, I now see that I was in the grip of my long-standing pattern of giving in to keep the peace. The deal tanked and, shortly after, so did the marriage. For a while, I embraced being a victim. I simply wasn’t ready to own the fact that I was just as responsible for the loss as he was. But, I came to realize the truth. At any point I could have stood up to him and simply said, “No.”
That experience taught me the painful, real-world consequences of not trusting my intuition and not standing up for myself. This was a very expensive lesson but a very important one. Although there were millions of small ways I was abandoning myself in my marriage by not being true to myself, it took this one breathtaking event to wake me up. Now that I understand and own my “role” in our relationship dynamic, I don’t have to repeat that pattern again.
What can you learn about yourself by revisiting your divorce story? Try looking at the story from the opposite point of view and see what insights you get? Or, forget sides and pretend you’re a social scientist studying the divorce for research. From this neutral place, write about the “husband” and “wife” as subjects of your study. See if this helps you glean a deeper insight into your own role in your marriage dynamic.