Divorce is scary and can evoke a wide range of emotions, including anger. In our practice, we seek to help couples avoid as much of this anger and despair as possible by having a supportive and non confrontational approach to divorce. However, we understand that inevitably, there will be some difficult feelings. Below is a list of steps you can take to help deal with the angry feelings that will inevitably come with divorce, because in the end, remaining civil is what’s best for everyone.
If you’re angry:
- Write: keeping a journal or writing letters to yourself can help deal with unfortunate thoughts.
- Talk: It’s important to discuss your feelings with others, especially trusted friends who are willing to listen. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your feelings with a friend, reach out and find a counselor in the area who specializes in divorce counseling.
- Take a look at your “core beliefs”: do these core beliefs that you’ve had your whole life still serve you well. We tend to trust that these long held beliefs are sacrosanct but in all honesty, we all need to re-examine our feelings and beliefs from time to time to make sure they are still serving us well.
- Take responsibility: You’re probably angry that your marriage is over, even though you’re doing it in an uncontested way. In all honesty, marriages rarely end with one spouse being 100% at fault. Take an opportunity to examine what your role may have been in the end of your marriage and work on that.
- Learn what your “triggers” are: Try to understand why you get angry and before you express that anger, think about your response.
- The kids: If you have children with your spouse, protect them. They didn’t ask to be born and they certainly didn’t ask to be dragged into the middle of the spats you and your spouse are having. Don’t badmouth your spouse, withhold support or block visitation. Your kids (even your adult children) love you both and they deserve to have a life where their parents can be cordial.
- Forgive: If you don’t learn to forgive you’ll be stuck in a rut for the rest of your life. Ending a marriage is hard. It may not be what you ultimately wanted. Spending your life dwelling on this anger will never allow you to live a fulfilling life and will just continue to wreak havoc on your physical and mental wellbeing.
If your ex is angry:
- Listen: listen to the concerns of your spouse. Part of an uncontested divorce, (other than the cost savings) is to hear and accept what is angering and hurting your spouse.
- Learn to walk away: Sometimes your spouse is being unreasonable or attacking you. Don’t be afraid to take a time out and rejoin the conversation once everyone has had a chance to calm down. Put limits on what you’ll allow to be said and how you’ll be treated.
- Try to defuse the situation: Sometimes empathy can go a long way. Maybe you agree and potentially even sympathize with your spouse. If you agree, offer a genuine apology. Apologies can quickly calm the flames of anger.
- Don’t take things personally: Anger is deeply personal. You and your spouse are both going through a lot right now.
- Learn compassion: Your ex is going through just as much as you are. They may be worried about their future. They may be worried that they’ll never see their kids again or that they’ll somehow prefer you over them. A lot of anger is caused by fear or shame.
In the end, the point of an uncontested divorce is to try to lessen these emotions. We want to make a stressful time as easy as possible. We know things won’t ever be the same between you, but you can end your marriage in a dignified and peaceful manner. We’re here to help you just like we’ve helped countless others. When you’re ready, we’re here.