Holding on to divorce anger? Here’s how to let it go


divorce Exchanging vows on their wedding day, most couples wholeheartedly believe they’re destined to be together forever. Fast forward a few decades and roughly 10,000 Kiwi marriages a year end with divorce. While best-case divorces are amicable, others can leave ex husbands and wives feeling hurt, betrayed, let down and all too often, bitter with anger.

This is completely normal, however it’s pivotal to make sure that you don’t let anger consume your life. Remember, the power of positive thinking is no myth so buckle up and get stuck into these tips on how to manage, and eventually let go of your anger.


Realise anger is a self-destructive emotion

Happiness is one of the most precious gifts you can possibly give yourself. When you indulge feelings of anger you’re giving negativity permission to break down your happiness door and take over. If you let it get out of control it will gradually infiltrate every aspect of your life and in the process rob you of your happiness and the chance to heal. At the end of the day anger is a self-destructive emotion that has absolutely no impact on the offending party, in this case your ex husband or wife. For example, you may be spending your nights seething while they’re off enjoying Hello Cupid dates. The result is you endure a night of suffering that’s completely unbeknown to them. So, accepting that anger is an enemy, not a friend, is the first step towards recovery.


Forgive and forget

“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.”

This is an incredibly potent quote from M.L. Stedman, the award-winning author who penned The Light Between Oceans. It’s self-explanatory and highlights the amazingly simple concept of empowering yourself with the act of forgiveness. Or if you can’t forgive, the importance of moving on and not dwelling on the past.


Choose your reactions

It can be hard to comprehend when you’re overcome by anger, but the fact that your ex treated you badly or has tied you up in a messy lawsuit are little more than simple facts. What really matters is how you react, and ultimately how you manage your anger. The real difference maker is whether you approach your problems with elegance and poise, or let all the bitterness drag you down, drain your energy and leave you feeling utterly exhausted.


Focus on what you can control

Messy divorces can often leave partners feeling like they’re spiralling out of control. In turn this can trigger a fierce sense of anger. Rather than get caught up in resentment over the things you can’t control, why not try to focus on the things you can? Like nurturing positive emotions, being kind to yourself and most importantly, keeping your anger levels in check.


If it doesn’t serve you, let it go

A mantra embraced by modern yogis across the globe, the concept of “If it doesn’t serve you, let it go” can be a formidable way to unravel the knot of rage. It champions the power of positive thinking and encourages the idea that if certain emotions (like anger) don’t nurture your wellbeing it’s best to simply show them the door.


Get physical

As well as leaving you in a cloud of fury, anger can also spark some pretty serious physical reactions. This is where coping techniques can come in handy. Next time you feel yourself getting riled up about your divorce take the time to notice your physical reactions. Your pulse may start to quicken, your skin could start to perspire and your muscles might contract. At this stage take a step back and implement tried and tested breathing techniques:

  • Close your eyes and practice deep inhales and exhales three times in a row
  • Slowly count to four as you inhale, then to eight as you exhale
  • Focus on feeling the air stream in and out of your lungs. Place your hands on your ribs if it helps you connect with your breathing
  • Remember that whatever craziness the divorce throws your way, it doesn’t have the power to drag you into an abyss. Imagine yourself breathing the negativity out and inhaling a new sense of happiness


Seek professional help

While it’s completely normal to feel angry in the wake of a recent divorce, holding on to a constant sense of resentment for years is nothing but unhealthy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your anger don’t be scared to seek help from a professional. Self-help can be an incredibly powerful tool, however if your anger is too far gone or you’re struggling to implement the right management techniques a qualified psychologist or life coach could help you turn over a new page.


The final verdict

Don’t let anger cloud your ability to move on, chase happiness and build yourself a fulfilling life after divorce.