Of course you are angry – you were let down, betrayed, and left in the lurch. Why submit? You are losing so much: hope, a vision of a loving future, shared parenthood, the reassurance that you are wanted and not alone in the world; not to mention a settled place to live, joint possessions and more secure finances.(See Negative Naratives)
Imagined revenge feels pleasing; actual acts of revenge, small or large are potentially satisfying and full of the power that you have lost. “My lawyer said it was OK for me to have the dog put down.” or “No, you can’t pick up the kids earlier!” This sort of anger can go on and on, become destructive and have huge long-term consequences.
“Why can’t I let this go, forget and move on? I’m crazy, stupid!” Self-abuse like this is not good for you either. You may be hanging on to your a partner in your head; by ranting and raging you are making your ex the centre of your life: in fact you are holding yourself in relationship. You may find ways to hurt your ex; but more importantly its you who will suffer, and if you have children, they will suffer most.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, world expert on loss, named anger as a reaction to loss. It is a way of expressing loss without letting yourself be small. Sometimes we don’t know we are doing this; loss and grief feel so painful and vulnerable that we shield ourselves from them. Anger-power is better than powerlessness. Others often see it: how we are hanging onto anger and avoiding a sink hole of sadness.
So be angry – Yes; and be sad too. In fact craziness and stupidity lie in not having tears and tender grief at everything you’ve lost. You may need help with finding grief. It would be creative to talk with trusted friends or work with a therapist on this. Strength is moving through your grief, not hanging on to anger-power.
1) Never criticise your ex in front of your children, even in the slightest way.
2) Say STOP! when you find you are criticising yourself; do something good for yourself instead.
3) Its OK to be appropriately angry, but be sad too.
“Holding onto a grievance or resentment is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy.” Nelson Mandela
With thanks to:
Lost and Then Found by T Griffiths,
Breaking Upwards by C Friedman,
Overcoming Anger and Irritability by J Le Fanu,
The Dance of Anger by S Orbach,
E Kubler Ross
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