The Vengeful Divorce
How wanting to get even can ruin you and your divorce
Posted January 9, 2015
Oh, how we all like to be right! Being right feels so good, and being wrong reminds us of our imperfections. The desire to be right starts even as young children – the sounds of “Are too!” and “Am not!” echoing across the playground. As we move into adulthood, most of us learn to admit when we are wrong, at least to some extent. But when faced with a divorce, your reaction may be to go straight back to that childish behavior. Certainly the end of our marriage is not our fault. If “he” or “she” hadn’t done “A” “B” or “C," or they had done “X” “Y” or “Z," we wouldn’t be in this situation! Ergo: our soon to be ex is wrong, or at a minimum wronged us, and NOT the other way around. Because they have wronged us we are the victims, and as victims we are entitled to revenge for having to endure this divorce that was forced upon us by no fault of our own.
What? Really? You have no responsibility for your own divorce? You want the world to proclaim you the good guy? Who are you kidding? It takes two, and even if there was that “thing”, the straw that broke the camel’s back, your troubles started a long time ago if you are getting divorced. So, if nothing other than you stayed too long in a marriage that wasn’t truly lifting your life and your soul, you played a role. Only when you admit that to yourself, and stop placing blame, can you start to rid yourself of your “victim role” and look at making your own new future.
When you go through your divorce with the goal of revenge, there is no winning. When you view your divorce in terms of black and white, good and bad, victim and evil doer, your perceptions of reality become distorted. You cannot clearly evaluate decisions for your future when you are focused on someone else. You will inevitably gauge your options according to what will hurt your soon-to-be ex or exact that “price” you think they owe you, not how it will affect you or your future. When the motivation in your divorce is punishment, you lose both. Decisions made during your divorce need to be made at your highest points of clarity, after you have clearly envisioned and planned and budgeted and considered your future goals. Distorting your vision and ignoring your future trying to prove the other kid on the playground wrong will only hurt you. Decisions made during your divorce impact your future. The money you throw at getting divorced will not be available for your future. You do not get a do-over on your divorce once it’s done, so decide what matters. You don’t get the money and time back you spent arguing about minutia. Prioritize and focus on your own life during your divorce – your future life.
And if you really think you are getting back at someone by putting negative energy into making them “realize” their errors – think again. First, no matter what you do, your soon to be ex is not likely to suddenly exclaim “I was a horrible person, and you were perfect!” (and I can assure you no judge is going to proclaim you the saint and your soon to be ex the sinner either – it’s not their job and they don’t care). Second, showing your soon to be ex how miserable they have made you is not really revenge either. If you really want “revenge," then become totally, utterly, and thoroughly happy, however you define that. If you currently can’t see your way to happy, then get counseling or coaching. Holding a grudge only holds you back – letting go is your freedom. How will you know when you have reached divorce health? You will wish your soon to be ex a happy life, too.