The Power Of Dignity During Divorce


“Dignity, in fact, is invariably the mask to assume under difficult circumstances: It is as if nothing can affect you, and you have all the time in the world to respond. This is an extremely powerful pose.” ~ The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green and Joose Elfers

A Good Woman

During my midlife divorce, there were times I did not act with dignity. I let my emotions completely take over, and I acted more like an adolescent, than a self-confident, competent, good woman.

I was so devastated by the fact that my wasband didn’t want me; that I became someone who lost sight of themselves. I was devastated and bitter, and held onto those ugly emotions far too long.

A Better Strategy

Our wasbands are the ones who are acting in wrong and deceitful ways, yet we are the ones who are groveling around, begging them to come back to us. A better strategy would have been to maintain my composure, my dignity and my confidence no matter what ridiculous things my wasband was doing.

I think when we start ranting and raving and begging that they come home, or constantly keep trying to find out what they are doing, that we become weak and pathetic ourselves.

Your Choice

Don’t degrade yourself because he has made the choice to live an ugly, pitiful life. Have confidence in yourself and in God. You are worth infinitely more than all the gold and diamonds in the world. Don’t waste your time on someone who has made destructive choices and hurt so many with his selfish and self-centered actions. It is not your fault; Don’t go there.

Make choices that are good for you; he has made his choice. Now, calmly, confidently and with dignity make yours.

“As for me and my family, we will worship God.” ~ Joshua 24:15b (NIV)

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About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.


  1. Tim September 10, 2014 at 7:55 am - Reply

    That was a nice succinct article to read when I have weak moments and want nothing more than to contact the ex and beg her back (won’t happen by the way but it doesn’t stop you feeling it). Whilst the boot is on the other foot for me, being a chap and having my kids live with me while the ex is off floating about like a free radicle doing damage in her own world the emotions are the same. Just because your partner makes a choice (many choices) that probably leave you feeling at a loss and thinking the fault has to lay with you as it was them that left, this just isn’t the case, sure it takes two to split but it takes two to accept responsibility and this doesn’t happen so often. There is almost always an imbalance after a divorce when one partner feels free (must be a largel element of relief) and the other feels lost and responsible. Well it may take a while but if your the one feeling responsible its because you have probably been walking down the harder of the two paths here. Is there any good advice to give, hmm not directly but I would like to say…..your not on your own, millions feel the same loss every year, most recover.and in the meantime keep your dignity, keep your head and remember your not responsible for the actions of others, only for your own actions.We all recover at different rates, I guess the ones who recover more quickly are the ones who begin to look forwards rather than backwards soonest. My warmest wishes to anyone who reads and gets any help from this blog…..It means you are/have felt like I do but it also means you looked for this too and that means your on your own road to recovery and balance. Tim H. (UK)

  2. Lois July 7, 2016 at 1:22 am - Reply

    Thank you for the reminder Dee in week one of getting the news and I’ve used some language that isn’t me. Posted something to FB that isn’t me. So I will now do my best to have some dignity and act like a lady.
    Just in time.

  3. Susan February 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    My father frequently demonstrated the power of quiet dignity. Whenever I knew I was going to be in a challenging situation, like a settlement negotiations meeting, I wore his army air corps bracelet, (a metal bracelet with wings) as a reminder.
    I later made a small shrine figure with several masks, and the phrase “Every survival kit needs a sense of humor and a collection of masks”.

    • Suzy Brown February 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      I love the idea of wearing your Dad’s army air corps bracelet! I have a variety of morning coffee mugs I choose from each day, and if I need to boost my determination to keep on keeping on, I grab the cup that has my Dad’s 6th Armored Division Logo on it and think about all the times during the war that he got up and did the job he needed to do without whining, complaining or wanting someone else to do it for him. Great inspiration! I also love the thought that every Survival Kit needs a sense of humor and a collection of masks. I have also looked into adding a “Dammit Doll” to the divorce survival kit so we can use it to get rid of all of that unhealthy anger!

  4. Lisa February 25, 2017 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    During my divorce process (Sept 2015-June 2016), my ex and I lived in the same house. I had so many people approach me during and after this process and tell me how they were proud of me for the way I had handled things. My ex was(is) going through a midlife crisis and went from a 46 year old responsible, loving, caring man to a person I did not recognize (a 15 year old adolescent boy with poor coping skills).
    My initial visit to my attorney, he asked me what I ultimately wanted from this divorce. My reply was first my husband back. But then I said “I want to come out of this not being financially ruined and I want my daughter to come out as unscathed as possible”. My attorney said, there isn’t anything else? I said “the rest is stuff, I can replace stuff, I can’t replace my dignity and my daughter’s emotional state”. My attorney looking dumbfounded said “in my 25 years of practice, I have never heard anyone say that”.
    Through the whole thing, my ex would plaster things all over Facebook, told mutual friends and his family that they had 24 hours to delete me or he would delete them and spread nasty rumors around that I was the one who cheated on him.
    So many times I wanted to reply to his stupid FB posts or go on a rant about him, but then I would look at my daughter and remember what I tell her and how I would look in her eyes if I did that to her dad.
    Don’t take me wrong, it was hard, some days it took more effort then I had to shut my mouth, stop the tears and walk away. I drove so many miles in that year so I could go to a secluded place, where I would scream or cry in my car.
    I am still recovering from the effects of all of this. But I made a promise to myself in the beginning that I was not going to let this person destroy me or my happiness and that I was not going to allow myself to be someone I would grow to despise.

    • Suzy Brown February 26, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Dear Lisa,
      What a wonderful example to others on this road. I’m looking forward to talking with you next Saturday.

  5. Jo Porterfield November 21, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    I was separated,divorced , and my ex died in 2 & 1/2 years. It was a horrible time foe me, but much worse for my two grown sons. The buried their dad , knowing that he had been unfaithful for many years. He lied about everything. As my oldest son told him in his hospital bed “ Dad, you are a lying cheating SOB, but you are my dad, and I love you.
    During this horrible time , I stayed in the background and supported my sons as best I could. I felt that at that point, I had to be the better parent!!
    The boys planned his funeral and asked me to stand in front with to great people. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I did it for them!! 9 years later, they are happy young men with families and I am remarried and very happy. Life does go on no matter what you have been through. “ Heal the past, live the present, dream the future. JO Porterfield

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