Let’s face it when two people get a divorce, they are both angry and sad. The end of a relationship is difficult for all parties involved. Anger is expected, and when I hear someone say that there was absolutely no anger in their divorce, I find it hard to believe. Even couples in the happiest of marriages experience anger during their marriage, therefore it’s only natural to believe that there will more anger during a divorce.
According to dictionary.com, anger is “a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong.” Synonyms of anger include displeasure, resentment, and exasperation. During a divorce, both parties feel that they were wronged in one way or another. They are both right because one’s feelings and perspective is true to them.
Anger is natural and maybe even a bit healthy during a divorce. It helps you to endure the challenges you are facing. It helps you to stand your ground and fight for what is rightfully yours. The big question is, “when do you let go of that anger so that you can move forward in your life?”
“Holding onto anger is like holding a match and expecting the other person to get burned.” ~ Unknown
Anger is one of the most destructive emotions that you can hold onto after a divorce. When you are holding onto anger, you are robbing yourself of having a happy and peaceful life. You may think that your life is happy, and everything is fine and dandy, however that anger that is festering deep within you is continually pointing out everything in your life that is wrong or it is reminding you of the injustices you endured in the past.
Consider the following three stories:
1) Aunt June blamed everything that was wrong in her life on Uncle Joe. When they divorced, she vowed to make Uncle Joe pay until the day he died. She received a good sum of alimony and every month when she would get the money, she would smile and laugh stating, I am making him pay for all of the dirty rotten things he did and said. Aunt June died a couple of years ago at the age of 92. She had been divorced for 40 years. The last conversation I had with her, she told me how happy she was that she made Uncle Joe pay until the day he died.
2) Rhonda and Jim were together for seven years, in which they were on again – off again. They had a beautiful baby boy together. She had written a list of over one hundred things that “proved” Jim did not love her. She concentrated on this list for years, and as she did her anger and discontentment grew. In time Rhonda had an affair and left Jim. She stated that he had a bad temper. Naturally, they had some volatile arguments, as breaking up is never easy because both parties are extremely hurt.
Rhonda refused to discuss parenting time with Jim. She continued to be hostile to Jim and constantly told him to leave her alone. All Jim wanted was agreement on co-parenting. Eventually, Jim filed for custody of their child. Rhonda became enraged and filed a restraining order. She was not thinking that he could not do the custody exchange. This meant that she did not see her son for a week until they could legally see one another during the exchanges. Rhonda then claimed that Jim was keeping her child from him.
3) Mark and Lynn were married for 15 years. Mark made good money and lavished Lynn with trips around the world, jewelry, clothes and membership to exclusive clubs and resorts. Lynn worked from home as a freelancer doing a variety of jobs. Mark kicked Lynn out of their lavish home and refused to give her spousal support and would not let her take what was in her office.
Lynn left with a few clothes. She lost all of her business contacts and was unable to support herself. She became very angry and spread vicious lies about Mark, which resulted in him losing a lot of business and being investigated by the IRS. Both Mark and Lynn were fueled by anger and spent the next five years in court blaming one another for their financial losses and arguing about the divorce settlement. Ten years later, Lynn is still blaming Mark for how crappy her life is.
In the stories above, each partner was 100-percent responsible for their actions. They were fueled by anger, which led to destructive behavior. It’s not the anger that causes harsh consequences, it’s what you do with that anger. When you continuously fuel the anger, by trying to punish the other person or prove that they are wrong, you will reap the costs for your actions.
‘While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.’ ~ Benjamin Franklin
Is it time that you let go of your anger …
So that you can move forward in your life with peace and happiness?
Letting go and forgiving is a choice that you make. You may need to make this decision hundreds of times a day at first. In time you will realize that you can think of your former spouse without anger, resentment, and judgment. You will just have a passing thought of what was because you will be more interested in what is fantastic about your life in the present.