Dealing With Anger During A Divorce


If you’re interested in the personal side of divorce, check out Postcards From A Peaceful Divorce. It’s a wonderful and insightful blog written by a a divorced mother. The author, Molly Monet, wrote a great post about coping with betrayal and emotional pain. While her post discusses the subject in light of a relationship gone wrong, it is quite applicable to people going through a divorce. I found this portion to be especially poignant:

Giving into my desire to react in anger would just hook me further into the drama that this person ultimately created. I love Pema Chodron’s advice not to “bite the hook” because it just keeps you involved in a space of suffering and anger. I certainly feel that there is a baited hook just dangling in front of my face, deliciously taunting me to chomp down on it. Yet luckily I am not a fish. I have a brain (and more importantly the mindfulness) to resist that temptation because I can foresee where it would lead me.

Chodron warns that when we give into anger, it can make us feel “more afraid and therefore more vulnerable or more subject to being able to catch the anxiety in the atmosphere and spin off into wanting to protect ourselves.” I regretfully admit that one of my first reactions to this situation was to question the nature of humanity, to question my ability to trust others. I knew this would be a temporary feeling because I am generally an optimist who sees the best in people, but I did pass a very dark day or so in which I saw people in a very negative light.

In my spinning, I considered cutting myself off from certain friends and removing myself from the dating scene altogether in the hopes of avoiding anyone who might lie like that to me again. I sat with that emotion, and I talked about it with my friends. And I laughed at myself for allowing one person to color my vision of everyone else. I also actively looked for the good in the people around me. I spent a lovely couple of days with old friends, who love and accept me so deeply. Their friendship and compassion helped me remember how much community and support I really have.

Divorces are too often shaped by these negative emotions, these “hooks.” They are counterproductive at best. Thanks to Molly for giving me some new terminology for discussing the problem.

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