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  • Angela D. Holmes

How To Break Free From SHAME!

So today you are hit with a new uncontrollable emotion. It seems that on this journey of healing from divorce you begin to feel… uhhm… somewhat schizophrenic. As if you have multiple personalities, but one thing that you know for sure is that your emotions are multifaceted.

You may find yourself gripped with fear when you see a married couple or when you visit your children’s school and see the father, mother and children hop into the car and drive off giggling. You may begin to blame yourself that your family is no longer complete. There is a breach, a broken seal, a broken covenant.

Your mind may flood with some of the following - what will people think, do they know? What are they saying about me?How can I raise my children alone? People will see me as a woman who could not keep her husband. A flood of overwhelming “what if’s” bombard your intellect. Unintentionally you may find yourself walking with your head down, quiet and withdrawn, secluding yourself and never wanting to face your ex-husband, especially if he is with the woman that he left you for. Or quite possibly YOU broke the covenant of your vow and you are in an all-out battle with yourself. Shame, regret and fear moves in.

For me this surfaced at the grocery store one hot summer’s day in July, 2006. I began to see couples with children, happy, laughing and engaged, I began to feel a bout of anxiety. I looked a little further and it appeared that multiple people in the store were staring at me. I began to think, do they know that my ex-husband left me for his co-worker? Were they in this store together? And did these people know all about it? I thought everyone (even those that I did not know) was looking at me, and in my mind they knew that I was a mother of 3 children with no father.

I began to feel pitiful and shame overtook me. My mind continued in paranoia and a false sense of ridicule. It was convinced that this divorce was my fault and shame stripped me of my peace of mind. Divorced?You’re not supposed to be divorced! What a shame - another statistic of a woman with children without their father! I wore sunglasses, hats, and stayed at home as much as possible (Crazy right!). I allowed my mind to dig the sanity out of me. This is embarrassing, what did YOU do wrong, NO one wants you! The evil voice of shame became an earsplitting, forceful sound in my head. This chain of shame and paranoia had to be broken!

I knew there was something greater to all of this. I was filled with so much pain and fear that I began to degrade myself, and shame walked right through that open door. So I began to dig into prayer and seek God, as there had to be a way out of these emotions. I knew I had to fight to keep my sanity.

Let's take a look at the word Shame: a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute: a: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety ability.

If you find yourself drowning in sorrow, pity and isolation, this is where you will find shame. As I respond to the needs of hurting women, shame is what rears its ugly head. Not resolving it to divorce only, even in life’s mishaps and mistakes we tend to fall into the black hole of shame.

“Your purpose is greater than your failures and mistakes.” - Dr. Myles Munroe

Don’t let people label you as disgraceful and defeated. We can be so critical of others, so self-righteous! Divorced does not mean that you should never recover, never feel the exhilarating emotion of happiness again. God loves you!

We are to deal with the consequences of our wrong decisions, accept chastisement, pay fees, retribution,whatever the sacrifice is, and turn from those things.Divorced from your spouse in no way means that you are divorced from God; God forgives and God forgets, and so must you!

What I am suggesting is that if you are divorced, your life has not ended. Why are your knuckles dragging on the ground, your shoulders drooped and you have gone into protective service?By the way, this was me.I did not know my value!

Whether you were the culprit of dismantling your divorce or not, shame is right there to greet you. What we tend to overlook is the word of God, but there is a resounding cry from the bible to liberate you.

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”.

Who told you to put on the garments of shame? If God says you are free and unbound, why wear these garments unnecessarily?Let go and don’t allow anyone to hold you to your past.

You have to know that there is a purpose in your pain. There is a release and it is real.Now back to me;I was choking with every breath I took, my heart raced constantly, solemnness and shame hovered over me like a dirty cloud. I am sure you can relate to these emotions.

These were mental choices that I made – yes, I made the choice to take on these emotions.

The authentic “me” was so non-existent that I could not even dream or conjure up a happy thought. Along with shame came its ugly cousin, depression. I was, to say the least, a chaotic mess! The shame that I felt was an additive’ it added on to all the areas in my life that were not healed and had never actually been addressed. It was a fight with ME daily.

It was all sequential.

A) I had fear of not knowing how I would support my children and myself.

B) Embarrassment of not knowing what to do in life, period.

C) Shame of the situation that I was in because I was concerned with what people would think and how society sees a divorced woman, single with 3 small children.

You have to fight for your sanity, conquer your emotions, and don’t give in!

It’s time for you to get out of this rut and start the healing process. The following are 5 steps to help you move forward and break you free from SHAME.

  1. Forgive! Yes, you must forgive. It frees you, it liberates you, it builds you and it strengthens you. Breathe, it’s OK to forgive, this does not mean that your offender has the upper hand. But what it does mean, is that you are ready to move on. This is the greatest good that you can do for yourself. Forgive freely with nothing attached. If you don’t, you hold yourself hostage not your offender. Study it, ingest it, become it. Healing and moving forward starts with forgiveness.

  2. Deal with what’s real, be honest!No more blame! Accept where you are and make a plan to move forward. Admit your faults and make amends, what did you learn about you through this tumultuous experience?Dealing doesn’t admit fault,but it does mean that you are ready for growth. Face your emotional state so that you can spend time working on recovering and healing.

  3. Ask for help, get the support you need. Shame puts the cuffs on and Pride tightens them. Your mind effects your body and your health. Allow yourself to heal, its OK! Lean on somebody. Asking for help and being honest about the way you feel is the pathway to a successful and emotionally healthy life.

  4. Keep it current, you won’t survive in the past. Let go of past hurt and pain. As well as good and bad memories of your EX. Stop thinking about him and focus on you.Reaching back and reminiscing will only bring more grief and anger. Embrace the hope that is in today. Focus on who you are now and who you will become.Change is tough, but change is necessary. Today is a new day,live and thrive in your now.Your future lies on the inside of you, don’t let it die.

  5. What are you thinking? You are in control of your thoughts, no one can stop you from thinking big. But that’s what you fear, the opinion of others. That type of thinking stinks. Stop the obsessive thoughts of the things you cannot change. Let go of the things that you have no control over. What are your thoughts right now? Are they full of doubt? Are you identifying all of your cant’s and inabilities? Productive meaningful thoughts will turn your dreams into reality. Ask God to perform His word over your life. What do you have to work with?Get a vision and believe it. Your character is the absolute complete sum of your thoughts.

You are not alone, and you are worth your weight in gold! Move forward in life, dream, visualize and conquer! Keep fighting!

Your pain is perfecting and polishing your purpose!

Remember! #YourMarriageEndedNotYourLife

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