This will not be an article about the importance and power of forgiveness. I’ve already written about my issues with that philosophy. What I will talk about, however, is the responsibility you have to yourself and your children when it comes to managing anger issues towards your ex.
Responsibility is an interesting word. By definition, it means “a state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.” Is it your duty to deal with any anger that you may have towards your ex? Do you have an obligation or duty to raise and protect your children? I ask both of these question in full realization that anger towards your ex may be justified, especially if there was abuse, infidelity, abandonment or neglect of any kind. These are serious infractions. Unfortunately, the seriousness does not negate your responsibilities.
There is another question that comes to mind in this topical space. What is your response ability? For your ex, it was likely lacking. Perhaps they lacked the ability to respond to frustrations in a mature and respectful manner and it led to verbal abuse. When temptation tapped them on the shoulder, they may have been the type to tap it back and disrespect you in the process. For them, responsibility and response ability were a bridge too far.
You are not them, however. As well, you are no longer with them. This already demonstrates a response ability on your part to teach people how to treat you. You also ensured that your children would not grow up watching a failed marriage play out in front of them. This is a responsibility that both parents have and yet you proved to be the role model that did the right thing. Great response ability on your part.
Without context to your situation, I, nor anyone else, can judge the validity of your anger. However, how you respond to that anger is what’s important. Do you control it or do you let it control you? When we let anger take over, there are several unintended consequences, a couple of which I would like to lay out here.
Anger unhinged will leave bodies in its wake. You may make rash decisions out of anger for your ex; decisions that negatively affect loved ones.
Samantha’s son Nathan really wants to switch weekends so that he could go on a fishing trip with his father (Rick). Samantha is still angry at Rick and is having a difficult time not letting her anger affect her decision. Nathan may suffer.
Erin has lingering anger issues with Ted. Her friends and family hear about it all the time and it puts a strain on conversations and relationships. In some cases, good friends have become complicated acquaintances.
You will never fully move forward as an individual. You and your ex have both moved on, at least physically. But long-gestating anger will never allow you to move forward emotionally. Instead, you are hanging on to someone that hurt you in a powerful way and your emotions are still too raw for you to do anything but linger in the past.
Once you are able to move past the anger, you will be able to begin channeling your emotions to a healthier, more personal journey of rediscovery and self-fulfillment. For every minute that you spend holding onto the past, that is one less minute you are moving forward.
Responsibility and response ability. Two things that you can decide to co-mingle or segregate. We all have responsibilities but not all of us have the response ability. There’s you, your children, your family, your friends, and your ex. Who within the many of these peeps deserves the least amount of your mental attention pointed in their direction? I think we both know the answer to this question.