6 Reasons Banishing Self-Pity Empowers You To Heal From Divorce Faster Than Playing The Victim

Breakups and divorce are painful but they don't have to destroy you!

6 Reasons Banishing Self-Pity Empowers You To Heal From Divorce Faster Than Playing The Victim Vin Stratton/unsplash

Be honest: Are you playing the victim after your divorce or breakup? Are thoughts of self-pity filling your mind, keeping you from healing and moving on?

Your person has left you. You are alone and devastated — that is a truly horrible thing.

Perhaps you are convinced that your ex is a horrible person to just walk out on you; you may even believe nothing was wrong with your relationship to begin with.


Maybe you are telling yourself that you are the victim in all of this.

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Now, I'm not saying that you haven’t been blindsided and hurt deeply — this is how it feels at the end of a relationship.


But I would argue that perhaps what you are telling yourself isn't, in fact, true.

If you continue to play the victim in your breakup and take no responsibility for its demise, then healing will take much longer.

So, if you are left wondering how to get over a breakup or divorce, it's important you to learn how to stop self-pity from taking over your healing.

Here are 6 reasons why banishing self-pity empowers healing from a heartbreak, so you can stop playing the victim and move on.

1. You will retain your power.

When my ex decided he didn’t want to be married to me anymore, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that my marriage of 18 years was over.


Believe me, the instinct to curl up in a ball and give up was strong. And, to be honest, I did for a while.

Then, I met a woman who had already been through a divorce and she changed my life. She told me that it was important to pick my head up and figure out how to move forward.

She told me that I had to move out of our family home and bring everything that was important to me with me. She encouraged me to find a lawyer and make a plan for what I wanted my next steps to be.

She encouraged me to keep talking and being honest with my kids about what was going on. And she encouraged me to love myself in spite of the fact that my soon-to-be ex no longer did.


The things she taught me were the best lessons I ever learned. I wanted more than anything to just give up. Instead, I took a good look at what I wanted my life to look like and how to get it, and I set out to do just that.

I found a therapist and a lawyer. With their help, I defined who I was and what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. Instead of waiting for my ex to file for divorce, I did it.

I stood up for myself during our divorce negotiations and got what I needed to move forward and be safe. I spent many hours talking to my kids about what was going on so that they could understand and move forward, as well.

By doing all of those things — by not lying down and letting my ex run roughshod over me, by not feeling sorry for myself that I was being abandoned, by not blaming him for everything but understanding my own part in the divorce — I was able to retain my power and get what I needed to move forward and be happy.


2. You will be able to make changes.

When I worked with my therapist around what happened in my marriage, I learned a lot about myself and my role in its demise.

Right after my husband left me, I spent a lot of time angry at him for walking away without making an effort to fix our marriage. We had a family and history and had made vows, and he had just walked away.

However, with time I was able to see that, while I didn’t walk away from our marriage, I did play a role in its demise.

I knew that I had been unhappy for a long time and hadn’t expressed that unhappiness in a productive way.

I had merely sulked and gone silent, hoping for change that would never come because of the lack of communication between us. I never talked to my husband about what I was feeling. Instead, I only complained to my friends.


I took for granted that he would always be with me, no matter how I treated him.

And none of these things were okay.

My ex, of course, bore half of the blame for the demise of our marriage, but playing the victim and waiting in vain for him to take responsibility for his part was only causing me to become angrier.

And then I realized that I can’t change him — but I can change myself.

So, I did. I set out to learn everything about myself and everything about what a healthy relationship looks like. I learned about the importance of communication, honesty, empathy, and forgiveness.

I learned that I wasn’t so good at some (or all) of those things in my marriage and that I needed to make changes.


And I did.

Now, I am in a healthy relationship, one in which I can practice the skills I learned instead of playing the victim. How lucky am I?

If I had continued to play the victim, expecting him to change and take responsibility for what happened, I never would have gotten where I am today.

3. You will be in control of your emotions.

When you aren’t playing the victim, you maintain control not only of your emotions but also of how your relationship with your ex plays out.

I have a client who is constantly reaching out to her ex via text and phone to find out what happened in their relationship and to see what she could do to fix things. She berates him for leaving her and questions his worth as a person, all the while begging him to take her back.


At first he engaged with her, but eventually blocked her because he just couldn’t take her anger and self-pity any longer. He no longer respected her as a person and was happy to share that with all their friends.

I have been working with my client to stop reaching out to her ex, to accept her role for the end of their relationship, and to realize that begging and berating makes things worse and not better.

Reaching out the way she was and being rejected over and over was damaging her relationship with herself and hindering her healing.

So, if you find yourself seeking and reaching out to your ex, overcome with emotions and feelings of self-loathing, stop for a moment and get in touch with reality. Your relationship involved two people and its demise did, too.


Hold your head up high, maintain your pride, and don’t debase yourself in front of him — you will feel better about yourself and heal much faster.

RELATED: The 5 Best Things To Do After A Breakup To Get Over Him Faster (And Help You Heal)

4. Finding your next person will be easier.

I have been on dates where men go on and on about their exes and how horrible they were and how they had been used and abused and cast aside.

One man spent a full hour talking about how horrible is wife was and how she used to tell him that he was too judgmental and how stupid she was because of it. He actually turned to me and said, "You have known me now for an hour, you know how non-judgmental I am."


That was the only date that I almost walked out of.

If you are no longer playing the victim after your breakup, you will not only be more confident in yourself but you will also be way more attractive to a prospective partner.

The self-confidence that comes from not being a victim is very sexy — and so is not spending hours talking about how you had been wronged and how broken you are because of it.

Who wants to get involved with someone who is broken by someone else?

So, take back the power from your ex and recognize your role in what happened. If you can accept it then you will be in way better shape to meet someone and fall in love again.

5. You will "win" the breakup.


My Millennial daughter and her friends have translated this term for me — that the first person who is happy after a break up is "wins."

With that concept in mind, let’s talk about the person who is playing the victim.

The person who lays on the couch eating ice cream and never showers. The person who talks to anyone who will listen to them about how they were wronged.

The person who calls their ex over and over and over, begging for a second chance. The person who hates themselves for being left behind.


Do you think that you will be truly happy if this is what your life looks like? Do you think that the people around you will see you as happy? Do you think your ex will regret leaving you?

The answers to all of those questions should be "no."

So, pick your head up and look ahead, not back. Be determined to not play the victim, but to look forward in your life and get the happiness you seek.

Don’t let any ex hold you back. And picture the look on their faces when they see you, happy and beautiful, living a full life without them. You will have officially "won!"

Playing the victim after a breakup is not uncommon.

When the heart is suffering, the brain will do anything to try to ease the pain.


Playing the victim seems to help heartbreak because it convinces you that you are not at fault, and if you can blame someone else, the pain is temporarily relieved.

If you continue playing the victim after a breakup, you might feel better in the short run.

But in the long run, you won’t heal. You will be stuck on this gerbil wheel of self-pity and recriminations, and you won’t have a chance to live a happy life.

Just get yourself up off your couch of self-pity and take back your power. Take a good hard look at your role in the demise of your relationship and be determined to make changes.

Keep control of your emotions so that they don’t control you, and have faith that your next person is right around the corner.


Most importantly, know that letting go of playing the victim, taking responsibility, and making changes will make you stronger and more confident, which will mean that you can have a truly happy life.

I know because I did and today I am happy. Truly happy.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.