Our society tells us that anger is a taboo emotion. One to be kept under wraps, controlled, or, if possible, “extinguished” at the first sign of an elevated temper. But what has happened to the notion of feeling our feelings constructively, of course, to move on healthily?
Anger after divorce is as natural as the other feelings and emotions that overtake one or both partners, and yet it’s the only one that comes with the expectation that we quell it.
Most times, there is a belief that the ex is guilty of betrayal, whether infidelity, abuse, mismanagement of finances, or unfulfilled needs. Each mate will contend with the emotion-based on individual accusations.
Is it okay to be angry with an ex after a divorce or separation?
Following a divorce, one of the partners, you, typically feel that the ex let you down or betrayed you by leaving, especially if there was any wrongdoing involved.
In the same vein, you become mad with yourself because you allowed the behavior for any length of time. Blaming yourself for not seeing the problems sooner creates pain resulting in more backlash towards your ex.
Any emotions experienced, including anger, after a loss are a natural part of the progression when moving forward. Typically anger after divorce will come before grief or sadness.
It’s vital to allow yourself to entirely give in to what your heart and mind are going through when it occurs, and don’t try to be the brave or strong person like so many people might advise.
Fighting emotion isn’t the path to a stronger self. Following the stages of loss as they naturally occur will make you stronger and healthier in the end.
Why do some partners hold anger for an ex after the divorce?
Blame and divorce anger are the fiery elements that many partners contend with following a separation. Generally, these give way to acceptance and moving on.
Unfortunately, some mates hold onto being angry after divorce, allowing the emotion to serve as an obstacle in their pathway to the future. If you find yourself in this position, it could very well be because you don’t want to take a step inward.
When you do that, you’ll have to look at either why you didn’t walk away or see the problems before your partner did. That doesn’t mean you need to blame yoursehttps://www.marriage.com/advice/divorce/10-most-common-reasons-for-divorce/lf.
Still, if you’re in a continuous pattern of pointing the finger and recounting why the person left the relationship, regardless of if there was wrongdoing, it’s time to take a glance in the mirror. Work through thosefeelings because these are more than likely the ones that are creating the roadblock.
In many cases, it’s just too painful to consider the notion that you could have resolved the issue sooner, or perhaps you played a part in why the marriage ended. It’s much easier and safer to be mad at somebody else, point out their faults, and shout blame and discord.
15 Tips on how to deal with anger towards an ex following a divorce
Everyone handles their emotions in unique ways. How you deal with anger and divorce will be entirely different than how a friend might choose to cope.
The critical thing is allowing yourself to experience the emotion and to look at it in a healthy, constructive manner, seeing not only your ex but looking at yourself. Some helpful hints on things you can try to work your way through:
1. Stay focused on the facts
It can be easy to fall into the mindset that ultimately you’ll reconcile even in a state of anger.
Intellectually, it’s essential to try to keep yourself in the reality of the circumstances, understanding that the marriage is over so that you can progress from the point of being angry into the other stages of loss.
You won’t have the capacity to look at how life will be different or make decisions while stuck in this phase.
Instead, you’ll attempt to find reasons to discuss further what happened and why to resolve the problem. When you’re stuck here, this is where you need to look in the mirror and start to work inward.
2. Take your time
Friends and family will encourage you to be strong and move on when someone is venting through rage, often when they’re unsure of what else to advise.
There’s no hurry when working through feelings. Experience each until you don’t anymore but do so constructively. Equally important is having support while you feel these feelings.
Let those around you know the boundaries and what you need during this time. The right people will let you talk, process, and work through your anger after divorce.
3. Self-reliance is for the birds
You’re not alone or shouldn’t be.
With all the pent-up anger you’re feeling, it’s essential to have at least one friend or family member with whom you can vent your frustration and express your anger after divorce, especially if there was wrongdoing on your ex’s part.
You might not have seen the warning signs and feel personal fault in not seeing these signs so you could react sooner. Being self-reliant, holding your chin up, and moving forward with grace is overrated.
Often it leads to bitterness, with many people developing a hard heart and repercussions that carry over into future relationships. It’s essential to healing fully. To do that, feelings need to be felt, and friends are necessary to help us do that.
4. Don’t forget about self-nurturing due to mood
Whether you’re engaging in battles with your ex or stewing over the circumstances, you need to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself.
Self-care nourishes the body, mind, and soul, encouraging moving through varied emotions, including anger. If you feel good about yourself, you’ll begin to feel healthy and ultimately develop happiness again.
5. Feel the anger
Yes, there is anger after divorce. It’s normal. But in some situations, this emotion is covering other feelings, perhaps there is hurt or possibly you’re feeling sadness over the loss of the relationship.
For males going through a divorce, there’s a preconceived social expectation for anger to be the anticipated form of emotion predominant and replacing any other stages of loss.
That seems an unfair assumption. Still, it’s vital to engage the anger to get to those genuine emotions hiding beneath anger’s surface. There is an extraordinary sense of energy elicited from this emotion.
You can benefit from any physical fitness or scream some of that emotion into the comfort of a pillow. You’d be surprised at the release you receive from these activities.
You can then find a friend with whom you can vent freely your true emotions of perhaps sadness, grief, or possibly pain.
6. Recognize what triggers you
When feeling episodes of anger, typically, there will be specific triggers that bring it on. It could be when you see your ex or, perhaps, when your wedding anniversary approaches.
If you recognize what sets you off, it will be far easier to deal with the situation when it arises. You can then attempt to plan for the trigger by developing a solution to diffuse the reaction.
7. There’s no convenient time or time limit
Don’t expect your anger after divorce to be set to a specific deadline. Nor should you anticipate emotional reactions to occur in the quiet of your personal space.
You can expect to have an overwhelming outburst at an inopportune moment, whether you’re at work or in the middle of the grocery market.
You can’t let yourself experience the full angry episode at those inconvenient times. Instead, you need to put the feeling on hold until you are in your private space and then allow yourself a specific period to be angry without wallowing too long.
Ending a marriage can make everyone mad, feel it, but don’t overindulge that experience.
Watch this video to understand why some people may hold anger after a separation or divorce.
8. Take to your journal
You don’t have to fight out your anger after divorce with your ex or even rant with friends or family if either of these things is unhealthy. Instead, journal.
Writing down everything you’re experiencing will relieve you of the emotions in one of the most constructive ways. The next day read your thoughts from the day before and assess how that compares to your current situation.
9. Rationalize the situation for yourself
Since journaling allows you to get your feelings out, there might come a time when you can rationalize the ending to the marriage without the need to blame anyone.
That will be a turning point to where the healing process can begin.
You’ll start to feel less angry and accept that the divorce was probably the best thing for both of you and realize there were more in-depth reasons than were brought forward on the surface, and you might carry some of the weight.
10. Allow healing and receive the lesson
Each event occurring in life offers a valuable lesson. Whether or not it turns out to be positive will venture to be seen.
The crucial thing is that you heal and recognize what you gained from that moment so that you can become the better version of who you’re supposed to be afterward.
11. Forgiveness is possible
Anger after divorce ultimately needs to give way to forgiveness. The target is most certainly your ex, but often you carry some anger towards yourself. In most situations, if a mate holds anger towards a partner following a divorce, it’s warranted.
There’s generally wrongdoing of some sort, perhaps an affair. But you put some of the blame on yourself because you didn’t see it and react sooner to the situation.
As time passes, blame and anger need to give way to forgiveness. That would be for your ultimate happiness and growth and also so no one has any level of power over you.
12. Look towards the future
If you look past the anger after divorce, you can begin to make decisions for the future. It might be a challenge, but if you can try to focus some of your energy on planning your next steps, it can help you work through some of the loss.
You had the belief that you found your future and had it all worked out, but now you need to contemplate what potential awaits you alternately.
13. Avoid jumping into a dating cycle
Working through the anger after divorce isn’t the only stage; there are a few. It’s vital to ensure you fully heal and become healthy before you even attempt a dating life. It wouldn’t be fair to you, but especially to the other people you’re meeting.
The person you present to the world should be the best version, healthy and comfortable as a newly single person interested in a relationship but not desperate for one. You might find even at that point; it’s not the right time quite yet. Give yourself as long as you need.
14. Assistance is always an option
If you’re not making your way through anger after divorce like you feel you should, and it’s been a significant period since the finalization, it’s wise to consider additional support outside of friends and family.
There’s no shame in reaching out to a therapist or a counselor when you’re struggling while working through the emotional stages, even with a supportive inner circle.
It’s kudos to you that you’re strong enough to admit it’s tough. Genuinely it’s among the most significant challenges anyone will go through, with plenty of people requiring therapeutic input to guide them through it healthily.
15. Find your meaning and move forward
While in the rapture of anger after divorce, you will have asked yourself a million questions like why and whose fault creating more intense feelings of anger and frustration since the unknown left you feeling helpless and without control.
When you reach a certain point, you’ll find the answers within yourself from a place of both compassion, kindness, and authenticity. There will no longer be a need to point fingers, blame nor will you be letting anyone off the hook.
This is the time for you to find the meaning behind what you feel so that you can heal that part and move forward.
What are some healthy ways of dealing with divorce anger from an ex?
Anger after divorce is a challenging but common experience for one or both spouses. When one person receives the brunt of the blame, it can prove challenging to handle the emotion being directed at you, whether it’s warranted or not.
While everyone knows feeling emotions leads to healing, the ex-spouse on the receiving end needs to find a healthy way to help the process along.
Some methods to try:
1. It’s okay to go ahead with your life
While it might be challenging for your spouse, there’s nothing wrong with you moving forward if you’re in a healthy place to do so.
Surround yourself with supportive people who uplift you and engage in optimum self-care to help you recover most healthily.
2. Find new places to frequent
You might have regular places you enjoy, but if these were establishments you went to as a couple, explore new options.
You don’t want to instigate a scene by running into your ex instead of avoiding the possibility.
3. Avoid becoming defensive
An angry person can sometimes inflate the truth into a tumultuous tale fraught with blame and defamation. That’s merely pain and hurt coming out as anger.
While you might want to defend yourself against the accusations, it’s wise merely to remain silent to prevent a back-and-forth from developing.
4. Fight the urge to participate
At some point, you will likely become angry when patience grows thin, and you may want to lash out in retaliation. Avoid that temptation.
This is someone that you carried a great deal of love and respect for and they for you. Doing battle is a great disservice to both of you.
5. Stand confident with your boundaries
It’s critical to maintain boundaries with the other person in an assertive, confident way so that there’s no confusion with your ex.
Appearing passive-aggressive or presenting as a “pleaser” can result in the person only becoming angrier as it looks like gameplay.
6. Attempt to decipher the meaning
Whether it be text, email, or snail mail, read the messages received from your ex regardless if they are less than pleasant to try to derive the underlying point.
If there is a desire to reconcile, you must be firm in your stance to avoid misunderstandings about your position.
7. Don’t take the bait
If an ex is not moving on with their life and experiencing anger after divorce, there might be attempts to stay in contact, so they feel still connected in some way. They might send a message with an open-ended question or some other method of piquing your curiosity.
You then feel the need to reach out; don’t take the bait. There should be no reason for contact unless you have children together already, which is a different conversation.
8. Close friends and family are critical
Confide in close friends and family about what you’re enduring. Make sure these are friends that you had solely, not mutual friends with your ex. You want to be able to talk freely with people who genuinely care about you.
9. Try to be as patient as possible
It will be difficult, but you should attempt to be patient with your ex. While some people can spend a great deal of time going through the stages of loss, compassion and understanding can often be beneficial in helping with the process.
If your ex finds empathy in exchange for their anger, it could help diffuse the feelings, ultimately getting rid of anger and resentment.
10. Talk with a counselor
Often speaking with a professional therapist can help where friends and family might be unable to do so. Those closest can’t merely separate enough to listen without providing passionate advice. A counselor can guide practically.
Divorce is not easy for anyone; the partner caught possibly unaware or the mate asking out of the marriage. Each person will experience the loss in their way.
Generally, a divorce request is a long time in the making. That means the spouse leaving dealt with the end of the marriage while still being coupled, and likely they’re ready to move on.
But it’s fresh, raw, and painful for the other partner. Seeing an ex moving forward readily not only angers them, but that anger stays with them during the proceedings and often beyond.
Anger after divorce is a genuine, authentic emotion that people need to experience (constructively) and heal from to move on healthily. And ex’s should present a face of empathy for the person they once loved as a last show of respect.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.