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Are Guilt and Shame Good for Divorce?

Posted By: alex

If you are going through a family law divorce in Spokane, it may be helpful to think about how both guilt and shame affect you and the other party’s behavior in the proceedings. A recent study found that guilt is good and shame is bad when it comes to cooperating and being more collaborative during a divorce.

Guilt is, of course, focused on the harm you have or think you have caused others. In the case of divorce, it was found that men and women who feel guilty during family law proceedings in Spokane may be more likely to collaborate, compromise, and defer to the other when necessary.

Shame, however, is focused on one’s own feeling of not being worthy or competent, and people who feel shame seek to compensate by affirming their own self-centered agenda as a statement of their own worth. This means they will generally be less cooperative or collaborative in a family law proceeding.

One way to think of guilt and shame is to consider guilt as an outward-focused feeling that motivates one to make right the harm one has done to others, whether real or imagined. It motivates one to be passive rather than aggressive. Shame, on the other hand, is an inward-focused feeling that motivates one to be more competent, which usually manifests in aggressive or selfish behavior. Guilt leads to the condition psychologists call neurosis, while shame is at the root of narcissism. So if a family law court in Spokane had to choose between parties who either feel guilty or shameful, guilt is likely preferred for pragmatic reasons.

A healthier way of dealing with your feelings during divorce is to accept the reality that the marriage did not work, but rather than blame yourself or the other party, work together on making the divorce work when the marriage didn’t. If you have children, you will always be in some kind of relationship with your ex-spouse. Determining to be motivated by feelings of equality and respect is far healthier than perhaps compromising your rights away due to guilt, or being a jerk because of shame.

Collaborative divorce is a family law alternative in Spokane that provides the context for both parties to be on equal ground and proceed to come to an agreement that is in the best interests of all. Usually, counseling is also available if either party wishes to take advantage of it in order to work through feelings of guilt or shame, as well, and perhaps having a more successful marriage with a new partner someday down the road.

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