If the thought of separation comes up during a partnership, an emotion often appears that you did not expect at that moment: you are ashamed because you want to separate or have separated. You can find out here what shame actually is and the reasons behind it in the event of a breakup.
According to the Dictionary of Psychology, shame is “a negative emotion that arises when one feels that one does not live up to certain values, norms, rules, or claims. … Shame is one of the self-centered emotions …”
I find this definition very appropriate, because you perceive shame as negative, although this feeling also has its meaning, of course. Before you make a big decision, this emotion is just telling you to be sure about your decision.
It is also interesting that it has been scientifically established that women often feel shame more than men. Age and cultural background also play a major role in how often the feeling of shame occurs.
Reasons for shame in a breakup
- “I failed!” a woman once said to me after she and her partner decided to separate. “How am I supposed to tell my parents this!” She was very ashamed to tell her parents about the impending separation.
A separation is not only a failure of the marriage but also of the concept of life. The dream of a happy family is over.
- Many are ashamed that as a couple they did not manage to solve their problems. It is particularly difficult if the couple was a so-called model couple to the outside world or is in the public eye.
The feeling of shame also hides the great disappointment in oneself of not being able to maintain the partnership. Thoughts like “I didn’t fight enough” or “It’s not all that bad” come up, especially in women in toxic relationships. Maybe the person affected is the first to break up in the family or in the circle of friends. Then the shame about the separation is usually very high. Here, under certain circumstances, there is also the danger of being excluded from the previous social community. When “friends” broke up, I was told that unfortunately, they would no longer be able to invite me in the future, since they would then have an odd number of invitees.
- Shame can also set in when the person separating feels “I’m not right” or “It’s my fault”. This type of shame is also common in toxic relationships. Here the partner gives the embarrassed person exactly the feeling that they are to blame for the separation and that they are the one who is ill and therefore not “right”.
In addition, this feeling can be intensified because other people in the environment fear a danger to their own partnership.
For example, after separating from an acquaintance, I was accused without reason of possibly stealing her own partner from her as a single person.
- Separation in a toxic relationship is even more dynamic so the feeling of shame is particularly great here. Those affected are very ashamed that they did not recognize the so-called “red flags” in time. Another reason is that they have stayed in this unhealthy relationship for far too long. Even explaining that there was an emotional dependency in these cases does not reduce the shame of a breakup.
I would like to emphasize here that no matter what situation you find yourself in, the feeling of shame must not keep you from the separation that is considered necessary and right.
Don’t let silly sayings or outdated traditions stop you from completing the breakup. Nobody pronounces a breakup just for fun. If there is a separation of the partnership in the room, there are always legitimate reasons for it.