When you are navigating or recovering from divorce, there is one all-too-common emotion that causes us way more headaches than you need: Anger.
Being ticked off. The persistent rage that will not leave you but could jeopardize your future relationships.
To start off with, there is something that you must remember.
Anger is a thief. Don’t let it rob you of your chance to move on.
You work hard to maintain the things you love. Think about. You probably keep your house or apartment nice and cozy, and you probably have homeowner’s insurance to protect it in case something happens to it. Your beloved heirlooms and the mementos you treasure are probably tucked away with the greatest of love and care.
You wouldn’t leave your door unlocked and invite a thief in to destroy those things in your home that you love, would you?
Heck no! Those things are yours. You worked your ass off to safeguard the things that give you joy and comfort.
So, why on earth are you leaving the door to your life and the door to your happiness, inviting Anger in on a daily basis? Just as a thief will break into your home, wreck it, and take away everything that is dear to you, so will Anger.
It’s time to lock the door and install one of those baller home security systems. It is time to protect one of the most precious things that anger will rob you of: your happiness and chance to heal.
Anger = your reaction to other people’s stupid stuff trying to control you. Why let it?
When you are ticked off at something, your body is all too happy to let you know it. Your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate increase because your adrenal glands are being set into “fight or flight” mode.
This physiological reaction may have served cavemen and cavewomen when it was time to fight off whatever prehistoric beast threatened their survival, but that same anger disrupts your calm. Why let it control you like that?
The fact that your ex didn’t treat you right, the fact that the marriage is ending or has ended, and the fact that the ex and their lawyers may still be doing stupid stuff is just that. They are only facts, but they are not indicators of how you are obligated to react because of them.
Do you remember the delightful “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow?
If you don’t, please rent these movies or stream them. NOW.
Of the many memorable quotes and tidbits of wisdom this swashbuckling pirate said, the one that stuck with me was the following:
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
The things that anger you are merely facts or things that are happening or have happened in your life. Think of them as “the problem” in the first sentence of the quotation.
“Your attitude about the problem” is your anger. The stupid stuff that you are reacting to doesn’t have to disrupt your peace of mind. How you choose to react to the problem–in this case how you choose to react to the facts (the events that are making you angry), is what makes the difference between navigating this process with less drama and stress for yourself, or letting all the madness drag you down and leave you exhausted.
You’re better than getting ticked off at something that you cannot control in the first place. It’s time to focus on the things you actually can control.
And the first step to leaving the anger behind you? It’s simple.
If it does not serve you, then let it go.
Some years ago, I was sweating my butt off in a hot yoga class, frustrated that I could not get into a back bend because my arthritis decided it didn’t want to play nice, my stomach churning because of the third argument I had had with my boss that week, and my heart sinking because a man who I had been seeing and who I really liked had called the night before to break up with me. I was a knot of rage that afternoon in the yoga class.
“If it does not serve you, then let it go.”
Although the yoga teacher probably meant it for the students to be kind and patient with themselves, reassuring them the back bend would happen when the body was ready for it, those words stuck. And I remember bursting into tears.
It wasn’t about being upset about not being flexible enough during that moment in time.
It was about not letting the fact that we were inflexible cloud our ability to just be and move on.
It was about understanding that if a negative emotion was not going to improve our lives, then we needed to show it the door. There is no place for anger holding us hostage.
The next time you start to feel angry from the divorce drama, do the following.
- When your pulse starts to quicken, take a step back.
- Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.
- Remember that whatever BS is coming your way does not have the power to piss you off.
- Remember that if the anger is not contributing to your well-being, then breathe that negativity out.
- Inhale in the fresh air and focus on the beautiful life and calm that will be your guide.
- Carry on, because you have way too many awesome things going on to waste your precious emotional energy on anything toxic.
The long and winding road of divorce navigation and recovery is not easy. But learning how to manage the anger, let it go, and move on is an indispensable tool and gift you give yourself as your start your new life.
Martha Bodyfelt is a certified divorce and recovery coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Goddess Recovery Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at email@example.com.