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Overcoming the Shame of Divorce - Revealing True Story

Written by: Anna from StoryOfAwakening



Time to Read 9 min

It is time to say it out loud: marriage in its traditional sense is outdated.

Our society is in crisis because its people are in an emotional mess.

Men, women, and children worldwide feel depressed, angry, and scared because nobody has taught them how to cultivate deep, meaningful relationships.

But the quality of our relationships determines the well-being of our society.

We all long for happier, deeper, more meaningful connections. I know that because this yearning has never left my side. Has it left yours? I believe not.

Though now, a question arises: “Where to start?” I kept asking myself that over and over again until, one day, I stumbled onto a quote. It was from Mahatma Gandhi:

“If You want to change the world, start with yourself.”

I finally knew what to do next.

I had to go back to my origin story, to my childhood. We all grow up watching and imitating our parents and subconsciously continue doing that as grownups. So, what kind of an example did I have growing up?

Divorce no One — Story of My Parents

Like so many of you in our modern society, I, too, grew up in a broken family.

Though, back then, in the 1980s, there was nothing modern about the country of my birth. It was a little poor post-Soviet state in the Baltic region of Europe. Fear, depression, and corruption dominated every inch of that land.

Although new life-changing winds of freedom were rapidly gathering on the horizon, the everyday life of an ordinary middle-class family was still very rigid and haunted by old religious dogmas.

In the midst of all that, my parents finally built up enough courage and had a decent Mexican soap opera-type divorce. Later, my dad got remarried and divorced again.

Now, let’s come back to the moment in time when my parents were still married.

It took them about five years to understand that they had no love or respect for each other. They never learned to love each other in a way that made them both happy. Regardless, they stayed together for almost twenty long and miserable years. Why? Because divorce was something utterly embarrassing back then. It was equal to failure, and people just didn’t do that!

When they finally did announce the news about their separation, surprisingly, all I felt was relief and happiness for myself, my brothers, and my parents. I was only eleven years old but already knew that we all had a chance to start something better now. Despite the sadness I felt over their separation, I knew that somehow life should be a bit lighter and more meaningful.


Now, it seems to me that the understanding: of “together until death to us part or you shall go to hell” has backfired on us badly. It has injected us with a high dose of crippling fear.

If you are together with someone not out of love and respect but because you fear the judgment of society and God or because you have a paper that says so, you are genuinely in prison.

Most of your valued life’s energy goes into dealing with misery and despair. You are full of sadness, anger, and bitterness. You have no time to see what’s going on around you. You have unknowingly chosen the role of a victim. As a result, you pay no attention to what you are creating in your life anymore, personally and collectively.

What kind of children grows up in such families? Broken ones.

What kind of a world will they create? A broken one.

Love is meant to be free. Free from all the restrictions of our current society. It’s not about owning someone or bending them to your needs.

Love is meant to be endlessly growing and expanding. It’s about supporting and inspiring one another, and the people around us.

Most importantly, it all begins with you!

You will be loved the way you love yourself. You can only love others the way you love yourself. And your children will learn from your example because at first, you are all they know of love.

Each person comes into your life to teach you something new about love, life, the world, and yourself. If you find yourself stuck in a toxic relationship, it is because you chose that commitment to grow on every level of your existence. No one else!

Even if this seems relatively hard to accept at first, it is actually good news! “How?” you might ask. Because this also means you have the power to break free from it!

Now, let's fast forward on our timeline.

Divorce no Two — Story of My Marriage

About twenty years later, I found myself in the same situation as my parents. I was suffering in a broken marriage.

Just like our parents before us, we never learned how to love each other. Nobody had taught us that, and we were too proud to seek help. It was still very much a taboo in our country.

We definitely did not give up easily. I did not want to become one of “those” divorced single mothers. (Can you feel my ego and shame working their magic right there?)

The funny thing is that I also felt like my parents. I felt like a failure and was utterly afraid of what others might think of me if I told them the truth.

Still, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t accept each other for who we were back then. The fundamental values were too different.


So I remember this one morning.

I woke up, got in front of the mirror, and finally opened my eyes.

I mean, really opened them!

The person looking back at me felt like a complete stranger — a sad, old, bitter lady with nothing but emptiness in her eyes. And I was still only in my twenties! How could I have allowed myself to drift so far?

And then it hit me — hard!

We had been so caught up in our own issues that we forgot to pay attention to the one thing that really mattered — our children.

And by the time I woke up from that nightmare we had created, they were deeply confused, sad, and scared.

That was the one moment in my life when I could actually feel my heart breaking into a million tiny little pieces.

I was completely and utterly ashamed because, screw everything else, I had failed my children!

I realized right then and there that this one was all on me. The moment I decided to become a mother, my children’s well-being was placed in my hands. That is by far the greatest gift one could have, and I failed to honor and appreciate it.

So, right then and there, I built up my courage and made one of the toughest decisions I had ever made. One that I vowed I would never make.

I asked for a divorce.

Beginning From the Scratch

That meant I had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about marriage and relationships.

The values I had within me came from my parents and a society that was no longer serving my needs. Remember? Divorce and separation were equal to failure, and people just did not do that! You suffer “till death do you part”!

I suddenly found myself under an avalanche of questions.

I knew what I valued in relationships — sincerity, connection, joy, harmony, and fulfillment, among many other features. But I had never witnessed a relationship like that in my local community. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it. But it’s true.

That goes to show you just how deeply the collective pain runs in our society. This sadness truly is difficult to measure.

Now let me ask you again the same two questions I did before and which I kept asking myself over and over again back then:

What kind of children grow up in such families? Broken ones.

What kind of a world will they create? A broken one.

I didn’t want my children to become these “broken ones” who, in return, go out there one day and follow the same patterns that got us into this mess in the first place. It had to stop with me!

So, how do you break the pattern? You focus on healing yourself.

Try to shut off the outside world with its never-ending demands and go within. What are your values? I mean, really yours? Not your mothers, grandfathers, teachers, or politicians.

What gives you joy? What makes you feel loved? How do you want to live your life? And most importantly, what kind of person do you want to become? How will others remember you one day?

The chances are that many of these answers will make you blush at first. You may feel embarrassed and ashamed even because one of the biggest obstacles will raise its threatening head — fear.

What will others think of me?

Now, there is a great quote from Winston Churchill that helped me get through that phase:

“When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60, you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.”

It may sound harsh, but in reality, it isn’t. 
As you get older and become wiser, sooner or later, you will realize that happiness does not start from the outside world. What others think has no value. Quite the opposite — it starts from within your own soul. If you live your life according to your own unique set of values, that make you feel love and joy, the rest of the world will follow your example.

People who cannot accept that, who cannot bear to see you happy living life on your own terms, don’t have to be a part of your life anymore. They have served their purpose on your journey. They have taught you everything you need to know. Thank them and allow them to move on.

That is absolutely a good thing because now you have room for new ones. People from “your tribe” will start showing up. People who will love you for who you are and support you on your journey of growth. You will not end up alone!

Your life will transform in the best way imaginable, all because you decided not to be ashamed of what you need and who you truly are anymore.

The Outcome

I finally chose divorce because I love my children, myself, and the father of my children. I believe that we all deserve to have a life and a partner who brings out the best in us. Why should I keep myself or the father of my children away from such joy? I chose not to.

And more importantly, I will not hurt my children the same way my parents unknowingly hurt me, just because they believed in an outdated tradition for too long or because they were scared of change.

My children are growing up in a healthy family — a healthy, divorced family.

They are loved by a mother who is completely and utterly proud to be one of “those” divorced moms! They are loved by a father who is confident and happy again. Today, they are full of so much love and joy! Looking at them now, I couldn’t be more proud of the transformation they have made.

Children like that are much more likely to break free from our society’s outdated rules and create better ones!

I still believe in marriage, and so should you. But in a different kind of marriage, a newer version of this beautiful commitment.

Imagine waking up every morning and choosing to love the person next to you out of your free will because you simply want to love him or her with all your heart! Because loving each other makes sense and feels right! I am a living example of that possibility.

Is it really worth wasting your life in a marriage that feels unnatural and is filled with nothing but suffering? Is this the example our generation should set for our children?

Final Thoughts

Now, knowing all of the above, it is your time to decide what kind of future you want to create for yourself and your children. This is your opportunity to change the world for the better, and you need nothing more than yourself and the will to re-learn and re-evaluate.

I challenge you to let go of the shame that is not yours, to begin with, and choose love over fear.

I challenge you to help others do the same.

Remember, you do have a choice — always! Just take the first step, and the path will reveal itself to you. I promise!

To wiser days and enlightened ways,


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