5 Tips For Dealing With Anger During Divorce

After a divorce, most people go through a myriad of emotions. Hurt, disappointment, and grief are some of the more easily recognized emotions, but underlying all of these may be anger.

Anger is a fact of life, especially for most experiencing a divorce. Since anger is a human reality, what can you do to deal with and use proactively the anger you feel during divorce?

 

Below are 5 strategies that will help you understand and deal with anger in a positive manner.

 

1. Don’t give into your anger.

Anger is a legitimate emotion, it is your heart trying to tell you something hurts emotionally. Stuffing anger to avoid dealing with it can result in depression which, in some cases is your anger turned inward. Allow yourself to explore the reasons for your anger and to express the anger in a proactive manner.

Learning to respond in a healthy manner to emotional pain isn't easy. It's the first step you have to take if you are going to keep the anger you feel from becoming destructive. Our first response to being hurt or feeling powerless is to lash out. To attempt to get revenge and regain a sense of control. When that is your response, you're feeding your anger instead of exploring and attempting to understand it.

To lessen anger and fully understand what you are feeling, you need to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and hurt. Anger gives a false sense of empowerment, vulnerability causes feelings of helplessness.

So, I get it, the first response, the one that helps us feel like we are back in control is the one most of us give into. 

Anger is an emotional fraud. It's there to trick you into not fully understanding what lies beneath the anger, a lot of hurt and vulnerability. Anger hardens your heart and, if fed, keeps you from ever getting in touch with what you are truly feeling.

There is no shame in admitting you are hurt and feeling out of control. And, doing so softens your heart, leads to being in touch with your feelings and staying open to new relationships and a healthier life after divorce. Choosing pain over anger is hell in the short-term but, healthy in the long-term. 

2. Don’t fear your anger.

Women especially may have been brought up to think that they should be “nice and agreeable” and not get angry. Everyone gets angry, and it is a healthy emotion, not something to be feared. Journal or talk to a friend to vent your angry feelings, so you can work through them.

Feared anger leads to stuffed anger which leads to you one day blowing like Mount Vesuvius and leaving a path of destruction in your wake. As I discussed before, get in touch with the feelings causing the anger and, explore appropriate ways to express the anger you feel.

3. Don’t worry about losing control of your anger.

One fear many people have is, if they let their anger out they won’t be able to control the rage that may be inside them. This is usually a fear with no basis in fact. Find a safe place to vent your anger.

Punch a pillow, scream, or do whatever makes you feel the release you need without harming anyone.

And, that is the key, stop fearing your anger, express it but, in a way that leads you to a reduction in the anger you feel without it causing or exacerbating conflict and harm. 

4. Don’t worry about what other people will think.

If you feel anger, you have a right to your feelings. Individuals may think that it’s acceptable to express grief or sadness, but anger may bring on feelings of embarrassment or shame because it is generally frowned upon. 

Anger can be an early warning system that something is wrong. Someone is mistreating you? Someone is trying to take advantage of you? Use your anger to build healthy boundaries and distance yourself from those attempting to do you harm. 

5. Get regular exercise.

If you are having a hard time processing the reasons for your anger, it may be resulting from your overall situation and the frustration you feel from dealing with stress.

Taking a walk, doing aerobics or finding stress relieving yoga poses, or even kickboxing can make a person dealing with anger feel much relief.

According to WebMD.com, "exercise acts like a drug, protecting against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack." So, instead of working out to burn calories, work out to burn off those feelings of anger. 

Do an exercise that you know is safe for you, and give it your all. Check with your physician if you have any questions about whether or not exercise is appropriate for you.

Nothing contributes more to divorce turning into all out war than anger. Get it under check, explore what it is trying to tell you, and when needed us your anger appropriately to protect yourself during the divorce process.