“Why Do I Feel Guilty Because He Is Suffering Now?”

by Annie Kaszina on February 13, 2009


Dear Annie, 

I am now divorcing my abusive husband of the past 19 years.


Why do I feel guilty for letting him suffer now? Is it because he now plays the victim?


Why does the pain I now experience feel worse than all the tears  I've cried over the years? Is it because deep down inside I blame myself for the break-up, even though I know it is not true?


Thank you for the great help and example you are to me and so many other abused women




Dear Marisa,


I am delighted to hear you are divorcing your abusive husband, and so will you be in due course.


So why do you feel guilty?


In part, it is habit; you have been trained to feel guilt and sadness for so long.  You have been trained into believing that anything that goes wrong in the relationship is solely your fault.  And you have been trained out of feeling joy.


It is terribly hard to let go of something in which you have invested so much for so long.  Because you think that your investment and your life have been wasted.


Not so!


Allow yourself to feel that sorrow.  But allow that sorrow to cleanse you, to wash away the past so you can move forward into a much, much brighter future.


And let me share with you a true story: when I left my abusive husband, I felt just like you do.  I joined a group for abused women.  We all felt the same.  A year later we sat in my house, having a great lunch, recounting anecdotes from our relationships and howling with laughter at our ex-spouses and ourselves.


It gets so much better.


Warm wishes,





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