If we live our lives motivated by anger and hatred, even our physical health deteriorates. The Dalai Lama
It is natural to be angry at what comes up during the divorce process, but the trick is not dwelling in this place and learning how to cope with divorce anger.
Recognize this feeling of fury and admit you have it as a response to what nasty actions your spouse may be doing. It is how you deal with this anger that can impact your health and your children’s well-being.
A study at Ohio State University rated people on how well they could control their anger. It did not matter if anger was expressed openly or internalized because the results were the same.
Blisters were formed by suction cups on the participants. Those that experienced more anger had higher levels of Cortisol (stress hormone) which prolonged the healing of their blisters over the more easy going folks.
Much research has shown the correlation between anger and increased blood pressure plus other cardiovascular events. Is carrying a grudge against your ex worth this health risk?
How to Cope with Divorce Anger
One way to deal with rage is to write a detailed letter to your ex-spouse naming hurtful acts and how she did you wrong. Don’t mail it, but burn it for closure. When our aunt cut us out of her life after my divorce, she sided with my ex.
My son was hurt by this action and wrote a letter to her expressing that “blood is thicker than water.” He outlined the abuse that he had received from his father and spilled out his disappointment in her. Then he tore this letter into tiny bits. A burden was lifted and his pent up anger had evaporated. This exercise works for mean co-workers and any other people who annoy you, but destroy the letter afterwards.
Take responsibility for your part in the demise of your marriage. Even if your spouse is Satan’s daughter, both parties contributed to the divorce. By doing this, it is easier to gain clarity and not repeat similar actions again in future relationships.
Forgiving yourself first is the step before forgiving others. Realizing that I make mistakes too, makes it is easier for me to get over my anger and forgive my ex. All humans make mistakes, it is the magnitude of these errors that is different.
When anger is allowed to escalate that equals longer litigation and greater fees for both solicitors. No one is saying that one’s anger is not justified, just decisions made during divorce in that state can be more vindictive than rational.
Post-divorce interactions can be more volatile in an irate state, making an explosion more likely.
Anger is a stage in the grief process which may surface during divorce or right afterwards. When one is prepared for the various stages, it makes getting through these a bit smoother. Parties do not start divorce in the same place, so usually hit the anger stage at different times. The person initiating the divorce often has resolved some of the anger issues which are now confronting the other party.
The interim child psychologist in my divorce said that her job is easier when both parents are on the same part of the anger continuum. She said that my very irate spouse was at one end of the angry continuum and I was at the other end, practically viewing my imminent divorce “In the rear view mirror.” I was almost gleeful at that point of the divorce.
Take a time out to process anger. Anger does not dissipate overnight. Give yourself extra nurturing and rely on your social support system to get you through this angry stage.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce