Everyone gets angry from time to time.  Everyone.  So logically you are bound to get angry during your divorce. Anger is a natural reaction to the betrayals that you have suffered and the undesired changes happening all around you.  So, do not feel guilty about your anger…but, do not relish in it, either.

Perhaps it’s an affair that has you infuriated, money gambled away at the casino, or a complete lack of affection and appreciation.  In a marriage, there are any number of actions and non-actions that, when you are on the receiving end, can feel like betrayal.  Betrayal comes in many forms and as we all know.

At Divorce Buddha, we believe that you should not leave room for anger in your life but we certainly do not expect you to pretend to be an emotionless robot. A very meaningful part of being human is the ability to feel emotions, including anger, as well as empathy – all we ask is that you monitor your mind.

It’s the shift that occurs – the moving away from negativity – that is so crucial to your overall well-being.

But, in our profession we have often pondered this question: When you are going through a divorce, is there any benefit to anger? Generally speaking, the answer is a resounding “NO”.  Anger prevents both spouses from growing, learning, and ultimately, enjoying their existence in the now; it’s a hindrance to mindfulness.

Harboring anger goes against your emotional well-being and advancement.  We all know this deep down inside our minds and hearts. However, if you are aware that you are angry, and let’s say that for the time being that you cannot quiet your rage, then you can use it to create a focus. This can serve to benefit you during your divorce.   Of course, you should create a focus completely unattached to what happens to your ex (and let’s keep this revenge-free).

We have witnessed situations in which anger just might have been, dare we say, a little helpful. We have to admit this to ourselves.  It is not always the case, but this is not to say that it is never the case.  This usually happens when the marriage consists of manipulation, control, blame or threats of self-harm if the spouse is abandoned, and the person who has been controlled throughout the marriage did not realize it was happening, until anger surfaced.  Yes, oftentimes, those that are being controlled in a relationship have no idea that it’s happening to them despite the fact that it may be as clear as day to an outsider.

Here are a two examples:

  1. For the spouse that can no longer tolerate their spouse’s addiction and is the victim of significant systematic manipulation and/or control, anger can be the force that pushes that person to file for divorce. That spouse’s anger can serve as a shield against the addict’s routine control.
  2. For the spouse that has lost their identity, over-identifies with their spouse, and cannot make independent decisions (also known as co-dependency), anger can be the force that gives you the voice you lost so many decades ago.

Looking at anger from this point of view can feel liberating, right?  But, be forewarned, we are not suggesting that you allow anger to be in the driver’s seat.  What we are suggesting is that if you acknowledge the source of your anger (a sort of introduction between you and your anger), you can allow it to create a focus for you, free from verbal and physical expression.  For example, your focus may become: I will not allow my spouse’s sickness (addiction) to become my sickness; or, I will be a voice for myself. 

There’s no doubt about it!  There must be a balance when you know that you are not ready to “give up” your anger; and often, it is a delicate one.  It’s there; it’s alive inside of you, so how do you use your anger to benefit you?

  1. Always be honest with yourself. Know when you have lost your footing in your marriage, having become manipulated or the proverbial “doormat” or “pushover”.
  2. Know your anger (where does it stem from and which emotions lie just underneath your anger).
  3. Give your anger a shelf-life. Know when your anger needs to end (hopefully sooner rather than later).
  4. Do not act upon your anger, at all, in any way.
  5. Attach a focus to it. Think about how you can use its “force” to move you to where you want to be.

Use it to assist you in finding the will to move forward and beyond the marriage.

Love begins with you!