Anger is another way to keep you attached to your ex after divorce. Here are reasons to sever the anger tie that keeps you bound to your ex.
1. Anger can shrink rather than expand your social network. One divorced woman I know was perpetually angry with her ex and his truly awful family. Instead of being pleased that she got out of that mess, got her Master’s degree, and an exciting job, Penny kept harping on her ex. She endlessly kept going back to that subject, even though her friends lost patience eons ago. She drove pals away when they responded “enough is enough” and Penny refused to listen. Anger can turn a friendship from give and take to just being a sounding board for someone’s misery.
2. Anger is energy that is spent thinking about your ex or plotting various ways of his demise. It may be a two way street with your anger fuelling his, with retaliation. Anger robs people of time and energy that can be used in a more constructive manner. If you are neutral about someone, such as a co-worker or neighbor, there is no specific tie to them. You interact with them, but then go on you merry way about your own business. Anger is a strong emotion – no take it or leave it attitude. Do you really want this attachment to your ex?
3. Anger builds a wall around people. it is like wearing a “No Trespassing” sign around your neck – stay away. One woman who was bitter post-divorce would yell at her daughter over trivial things. Anger towards her ex splashed over into most areas of her life. The girl did not have much of a relationship with her mother until after college when they were more like friends. Be careful that anger is not endangering your relationships with your children and friends.
4. Research has shown that anger can have negative effects on your health. Blood pressure and inflammation increase in the body. Aches are more noticeable and flare-ups with arthritis and other conditions occur. Studies at Ohio State University Psychology Department have shown the correlation between anger and the increased time in healing. In several studies, blisters were induced on subjects. The angry people’s blisters took longer to heal than those of the happier group’s. Anger effects the functioning of the immune system and raises cortisol (stress hormone). Cardiovascular incidents increase with anger and other strong negative emotions. Is being angry with your ex worth the detrimental effect on your health?
5. Anger can keep you rooted in the past. Part of moving on is leaving what no longer fits in your new life behind. It is impossible to travel to a new land with one foot stuck in the past. Get unstuck by practicing forgiveness. Mentally visualize severing black rope ties between you and your ex with a samurai sword or large scissors. These visualizations really enabled me to sever any ties to my former ex.
Forgive him so that you can move on with your life. Forgiveness is only about you and no one else needs to be aware of it. Yes, your ex may be a jerk, but we all contributed to the demise of our marriages in some way. Accept responsibility for your part, forgive both of you and let that be the end of your relationship.
If you feel stuck in your anger, consider having a few sessions with a divorce or life coach to get you back on track. She can help you get strategies to get on with your life. Depression is anger turned inwards – so discussing feelings with your doctor is prudent. What helped me was saying, “This too shall pass” – and it did.