By Susan Regan MFT
One of the members in my divorce support group, Sarah was so triggered by another, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would be able to connect. Mary, had been left by her partner. Sarah, had been the one to leave. Being face to face with each other brought up feelings of guilt, anger, and hurt that really originated in the relationships each had lost.
As it turned out these members got past the triggers by moving deeper into their pain and owning the parts of themselves that felt embarrassing, difficult, or shameful. Sarah had to see her hold pattern – trying to fix and rescue other people instead of focusing on caring for herself and letting the others solve their own issues – and stop that behavior.
Mary had to face the pain of being left and come to understand that it wasn’t personal. Her partnered left, not because of something wrong or bad about Mary, but because of their joint inability to communicate.
For both of these members, learning to stay in self-respect and self-compassion while looking honestly at themselves was key—not just to their own healing, but also to being able to see and support each other without judgment or pain.