We see people every month from Orange County and Los Angeles, California looking to divorce who start fuming when speaking of their soon-to-be-ex. Divorce can be very trying, and it’s ok to be upset. But once the divorce is over, it’s time to move on. People tend to forget that holding onto to the hateful feelings you have toward your ex isn’t hurting him/her… it’s only affecting you.
Buddhism refers to anger as one of the three poisons of the mind, along with greed and foolishness. Anger is the second stage of grief. Pretending not to be angry because you know you shouldn’t be, or because you don’t want your children to see you angry, doesn’t mean the anger isn’t there– it’s just suppressed inside of you. The last stage of grief is acceptance, and you can’t get there until you first let go of your anger. Here are a few tips from divorce coach Kimberly Pryor:
Set a time limit. Give yourself permission to be upset, but mark a date on the calendar when you will choose to start letting it go. The ideal time is usually six to eight weeks after the divorce. During those weeks, do whatever you need to do to release all the anger inside of you.
Realize you don’t wear anger well. Stand in front of a mirror and start talking about your ex as if you were talking about your friend. Keep talking… and notice how upset you’re getting. Notice how it’s not fun to listen to you, and notice how ugly you may seem. Anger doesn’t suite anyone, and you don’t want to carry around all that emotion.
Realize that good men/women are out there. The hatred you feel toward your ex may extend to everyone else of that sex if you’re not careful. When you start letting go of your anger, you will start to realize that there are great people out there waiting to meet you.
Remember that anger harms YOU, not your ex. You’re divorced, you’re moving on and so is he/she. So when you bottle up all the anger, you’re only negatively affecting yourself and all those around you who are trying to help. Those emotions aren’t helping your situation at all, so why waste time on them.
Feel sorry for your ex. If you can get to a place where you can forgive your ex, your anger will turn into compassion. If your ex did something that hurt you, try to understand why your ex did what he/she did. They may not be in a happy place, and if you can feel genuine compassion, you will be a much happier person than carrying around resentment.