It makes me feel bad that parents who have struggled in their marriages and have chosen to leave feel bad. I don't enjoy hearing about other ACOD's parents who are mourning the choices they have made and the losses they have had due to their affairs or their leaving a long-time marriage. Feeling badly is not something any of us like to do .
ACODs feel bad because other people have made choices that are out of our control that affect us in bad, sad ways. Older parents who are divorcing feel bad because of their own pain and because of the pain and consequences that their decisions bring.
As I have read and counseled and thought a lot about all of this. I have learned that there are at least three levels of feeling badly. Read and think and decide where you fit or where your parent fits.
The first level is Regret. This is the feeling of being disappointed or sad about something that has happened or been done. It is related to a loss or a missed opportunity.
The second level is Remorse. This is a feeling of deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed. A depressed feeling can result.
The third level is Repentance. This is deep, sincere regret and remorse. It involves a change in the way we act and think and feel toward what we have done. It requires a change for the better as a result of contrition.
Regret means you are on the road, looking at red, knowing something has stopped the relationships you had. Remorse means you are moving, proceeding . Repentance is the green light that enables you to move along the road to reconciliation in relationships that have been affected.
This is a partial quote from Wiersbe :
a distinction can be made between regret, remorse and repentance. Regret is that activity of the mind (intellect) that causes us to say, “Why did I do that?” Remorse touches us a little deeper causing us to feel disgust and pain (involving both the intellect and the heart), but not causing us to change our ways. True repentance brings in the third aspect of our minds – our will. To truly repent one must have a change of will.
Think about where you are in how you feel and what you are willing to do. We all feel badly when a late-life divorce occurs. You are responsible for your own feelings , thoughts and actions towards others. The 3 R's of feeling badly can give us insight on the sadness and hurt in our ACOD relationships.