How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5506
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
54658078
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

A little background ... I have very recently left a 22 yr.

Resolved Question:

A little background ... I have very recently left a 22 yr. marriage (two children ages 18 and 20) and am having difficulty dealing with the guilt I am feeling. For alll intensive purposes my marriage ended many years ago but I have hung in there for the past five years because my wife was handicapped and reliant upon me for almost everything. I won't go so far as to say there is no love there because we did spend many years together and have two wonderful boys, but I do know that I don't love her as a husband should and have simply been there as a caregiver. It was a very lonely existence. I found myself dreading the end of the workday because I had to go home and was just going through the motions. Suffice to say that the family unit was disfunctional and void of emotion and love. But, now that I've made the move to leave the marriage, the feelings of guilt that I am experiencing are overwhelming and I don't know how to cope with them. If I went back the family unit would once again be intact, but I know that I would be living an unhappy existence. I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. Any words of wisdom would be welcomed.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It sounds like you feel you are a bad person for leaving the marriage. The nature of guilt is to cause us to feel bad when we do something wrong. So by feeling guilty, you are telling yourself that you are wrong for leaving the marriage. However, from what you said, you were miserable in the marriage and have been for a long time. Would it have been right to stay, even if you feel unhappy?

 

One of the questions here is what is making you feel bad and wrong about leaving. Is it just the marriage in general or is it because your wife has a handicap? That is an important question to ask. If you left because the marriage itself made you unhappy and you feel guilty about that, then you feel it is bad to leave a marriage at all.

 

If you are feeling wrong about leaving because of your wife's condition, then that would be a stronger guilt because of societies expectations of us as human beings. When someone is down or vulnerable, our society says it is wrong to turn our backs on that person. We are seen as "heartless" or without compassion. In other words, "bad" people. But the dilemma here is that you felt your marriage was over before your wife had the handicap. Your feeling bad may be that you feel others would see you as leaving your wife because of the handicap, which is far from the truth.

 

What you need to realize in your situation is that you are not a bad person. Guilt implies you are bad. Changing that feeling to sadness and remorse is important. It is important to realize that you would not be feeling guilty if you were a bad person. Bad people don't care about how they treat others nor do they stay in marriages to help someone when it's already over. You do. So you are not bad. By leaving, you are coping. You gave of yourself longer than most people would have. Changing your thinking about the situation will help you realize that fact.

 

Seek out help. Talk to a therapist about how you feel. To find one, talk to your doctor for a referral or search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/. If you attend church, you can also talk with your pastor. Guilt is a common feeling in people who care and have morals, so pastors can offer solace and comfort in your decision.

 

There are also resources that can help you at home. Here are some to get you started:

 

Transcending Divorce: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart by Alan Wolfelt

 

Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life, Revised Edition by Abigail Trafford

 

You can find these on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

 

Keep in mind, you are not abandoning your wife. You still have a connection through your children. And from the sound of your description of your relationship, she can probably still call you if needed. That relationship may always be there. But moving on is good and will help both of you to be healthier mentally and emotionally. It may even improve your relationship.

 

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5506
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education