Anger is one of those emotions that can be highly misunderstood. And unfortunately the feeling of anger is a common experience in divorce and separation. However the feeling of anger is commonly expressed as a result of other emotions. In fact, we often use it as a means of protection when we’re feeling vulnerable because of fear and/or sadness.
Just take a moment to think of how anger has impacted and influenced you throughout the challenges during the divorce process.
The Benefits of Anger
Even though anger is generally viewed in a negative light it can certainly serve a purpose depending on the circumstances.
Anger helps you avoid pain. Most people given the choice of anger or pain and sadness will choose anger because it’s more productive. So rather than feeling sad and powerless, anger allows you to feel strong and impassioned which can help you take action.
It can be hard to move on and separate from your spouse. Maintaining anger towards your ex can give you a way to break the connection and distance yourself from them especially when you still have feelings for your ex. Anger can also help you feel justified in your decision so you can avoid thinking that you made a mistake.
The Dangers of Anger
During a divorce anger can make you say things and act out in ways that you would have never imagined. This creates a toxic environment which affects your children. Emotional outbursts and creating resistance towards your ex will not serve you well in the long run.
Anger begets anger. Raging and yelling and repeatedly demonstrating angry behavior causes undo stress on your body and actually fuels your anger rather than releases it. Learn to express it so you can process it and move on.
Anger keeps you in the blame game. Take responsibility for your own life rather than blaming your ex so that you don’t feel powerless and victimized which only perpetuates the anger.
Holding onto anger will keep you stuck.
Anger and How It Can Affect the Divorce Process
Don’t let the legal system fuel your anger. You don’t want to get enmeshed in a divorce case that drags out in the legal system leaving you financially and emotionally drained. Anger is often fueled when you feel that you have to give up things that may mean a lot to you or if you have to prove your case to get spousal support or child custody.
The degree of emotional challenges that children experience during divorce directly correlates with the intensity of anger that parents express. Use this as a reminder to help keep anger in check.
Anger can create overreactions causing poor decision making that can negatively impact your final agreement.
Some people want to hold on to the anger and will use it as a means to stay attached to their ex. This can often lead to further litigation.
Letting go of anger will allow you to move forward more easily in your life post-divorce.
How to Manage Your Anger
- Acknowledge your feelings and write them out in a journal.
- Talk it out with your support system such as a therapist, coach, family member or trusted friend.
- Be smart when it comes to your safety and comfort level. If you need to minimize contact with your ex then do so. Avoid confrontation in person by communicating via email or text instead.
- Diffuse the anger from your ex by remaining calm. You can help minimize conflict and lower the emotional charge by not raising your voice and reacting to your ex’s anger.
- Engage in some form of physical activity in order to shift your energy.
- Be productive. Make decisions and then take right action.
- Practice prayer and meditation.
- Take deep breaths.