I know about abandonment and divorce. It stabs at your heart with a pain so deep you don’t think you can breathe. Being abandoned by someone you still love is devastating.
Having someone leave you hurts on so many levels. It sabotages your sense of self-worth, rocks your sense of security, and can leave you bitter inside at the sheer injustice of it all.
When Abandonment and Divorce Leave You Bitter
It’s hard not to be hurt and bitter when your spouse moves on without you. You have a right to be hurt and the last thing you need to do is brush that pain under the rug. On the other hand, anger that simmers in your heart and mind can root in your being if you don’t find a way to move past it.
Staying stuck in bitterness steals your peace and leaves you with feelings of turmoil and emptiness that may even make it hard to pray or feel God’s presence. God wants better than that for you! I’m confident that you do too.
Fighting the Pain of Abandonment and Divorce
When you’ve been abandoned you may feel like you’ve earned the right to be bitter. The unfairness of being left by your spouse can dominate your thoughts. You may burn with a pain you think nobody else can truly understand.
If this is where you are, I understand. It may seem like focusing on the injustice of being abandoned makes sense. After all, your life has been turned upside down because of someone else’s decision.
So, why would anyone want to let go of this justified anger?
Why I Decided Not to Choose Bitterness
Justified or not, my bitterness only hurt me. I came to realize that I didn’t want to live my life being bitter over the choices someone else had made. You don’t have to either. I had been hurt by someone else’s decisions but I didn’t need to keep beating myself over the head with his choices. I had choices to make for myself.
Yes, you can learn to let go of bitterness for your own mental health and for the quality of your own life and the lives of your children. You can claim for yourself a more peaceful and joyful life. Let’s get started now.
4 Steps toward Overcoming Bitterness Caused by Abandonment and Divorce
Finding peace when what you’re feeling is bitter takes a lot of venting, effort, and prayer so let’s look at tips that can launch you on your way.
- Find a Positive Way to Vent. When you bottle feelings up inside of you, they just fester. You may find it hard to shift your thoughts away from your hurts. Find a friend who is willing to let you express those hurts without adding their own frustrations about your ex. You may also wish to talk with a counselor who is skilled in helping people work through the emotional issues of divorce. Also, think about what bitterness and anger are doing to your body. Physical activity can help you relieve some of the physical tension you may be feeling. You may also find relaxation exercises to be helpful.
- Decide Not to Settle in Bitterness. Moving beyond bitterness will likely take intention and effort on your part because justified anger and bitterness can be hard to shed. Bitterness occurs when angry thoughts have become entrenched in your brain and soured your heart. It can be like a piece of molding cheese you over looked in the back of your refrigerator. Bitterness grows and it stinks. Don’t live that way!
- Stop the Spores of Bitterness. Mold can ruin some cheeses. Ignore that mold and it will grow in ways that are hard to swallow. It’s that way with your thinking when you let the spores of bitterness grow. So ask yourself, what thoughts do I have that feed my anger and bitterness? Work on stopping those thoughts when they pop up. Instead, dwell on thoughts that shift you from bitterness to peace. This will take practice and prayer but you can do it!
- Pray. I’m not giving you a patronizing “just-pray-about-it” answer that brushes off the seriousness of your struggles. But, I do want you to know that God is with you and has compassion for you. He knows the path to your better, more peaceful life. You really don’t have to figure out how to let go of bitterness on your own. God will help you if you lean into him. And, I believe God wants to help you because he loves you and because the torment of bitterness can create a barrier between you and God’s peace.
You cannot go back and undo the past but you can choose thoughts that help you to move to a more positive place. You can let go of anger and bitterness. You can.
Talk with God
Jesus you know what deceit and abandonment feel like. You feel my pain and want for me to be set free of its grip. I don’t want to spend my life imprisoned by my own thoughts of anger and bitterness no matter how just they may be. Help me to shift my focus from the hurts to your hope. Help me to know that you will never abandon me. Thank you for loving me just as I am. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
No one will be able stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5