If you're here, you're feeling it: Guilt. The five letter word that tears at your spirit.
As I write this, I still feel guilt sometimes. I feel it when I think about my role in the destruction of my marriage, It is extremely easy to lay blame entirely on him, because of how he treated me, but to fully move on and achieve acceptance, I think it's important to own my contribution to how things fell apart.
I was in a relationship that was extremely toxic. What's crazy to me now is that I had no idea how toxic it was while I was in it. My relative inexperience with romantic-relationships is probably why I didn't fully grasp just how detrimental my marriage was to my mental health. At that point in my life, besides my ex-husband, I had been in only 1 other relationship. So there I was, in my second ever romantic-relationship, married, at the age of 29, trying to figure out why I felt so bad about myself and like I was walking on eggshells all the fucking time.
It took some powerful events to completely shift my understanding of how my marriage functioned. Surprisingly, these events weren't of the verbally-abusive nature (that I so often experienced with my ex while married). Rather, these events happened outside the marriage. They were ground-shattering, life-altering, unbelievably magical, amazing events that shone a light on what it felt like to be treated with dignity, love, acceptance, and respect. This completely different experience opened my eyes to what life could be like; what true happiness could actually feel like.
Even so, there is guilt. This is mainly because I had created a scenario where him treating me like shit was o.k. (in his mind). That would have been his understanding of our relationship. So I feel guilt that I willingly went along with an extremely unhealthy relationship-dynamic for 7 years, allowing everything to be about him. Making him happy. Not rocking the boat. Putting his needs and feelings first in every situation, even though he hurt me, a lot. I feel guilty because this skewed his understanding of what was acceptable behaviour. He probably believed this was perfectly acceptable behaviour in a relationship.
And even though it was exactly what I needed to do to not be completely destroyed, I feel guilty about leaving my marriage. I feel guilty about hurting him.
But my guilt is somewhat of a misplaced feeling. It is all about him, again. All about his feelings. All about his hurt. It has nothing to do with me.
To move past the guilt, it's so important to acknowledge that your happiness is important. You deserve respect. You are worth more than a verbally-abusive, soul-crushing marriage.
And honestly, feeling guilty about his hurt isn't giving him enough credit. Yes, I'm sure I created an enormous pain in his heart and affected him deeply, but he will be o.k. in the end. He'll move on. He'll find someone new. His life will continue. Very possibly, the universe will open up and present him with someone that will change his life in a ground-shattering way. The way that pushes him to treat that person with ultimate love, respect and dignity. Even if that doesn't happen, I am not responsible for him anymore.
I am only responsible for myself and creating a beautiful life for me.
And removing myself from that relationship was the most important step in creating a beautiful life for me.
Do not feel guilty for removing yourself from a toxic place. Do not feel guilty for hurting someone who has hurt you hundreds of times in the past. Do not feel guilt for leaving someone who forced you to experience trauma and completely altered your mental health.
Do not feel guilty for changing your life to make room for beauty and happiness.
I think guilt is 100% natural in this scenario, when you are dealing with what I'm dealing with; however, guilt can be overcome. You can move past guilt. It takes time, but it can happen.
And if you do feel guilt, give it time.
It will pass and you will move on.
Your happiness is so important. You deserve a beautiful life.
Founder of the site Divorced at 30, Alexandra is a blogger who is passionate about speaking her truth. She is on a healing journey as she enters this new chapter in her life. A mental health advocate, she is passionate about motivating others to find “the light” and attain peace.