When one is going through a divorce it is very common to feel anger. According to psychologist and author Elizabeth Kubler Ross, anger is one of the 5 emotional stages of grief. They are shock, denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance. Today I want to talk about anger and its power to consume us, if allowed.
Anger is a universal experience, and it can cause us to lose sight of a situation. It has the ability to consume us. I know!
At the beginning of my divorce, I was angry as hell. My anger was my biggest tormentor. I even took to social media to try to shame my ex. I was searching for help and support but what I didn’t realise at the time was that mostly I was just embarrassing myself and my kids, more than the person of whom I was speaking.
I believe that my state of mind was irrational, and as a result I did things that I would end up regretting. My anger prompted me to do things that I would never have done if I had been in control of my emotions at the time.
The feuding in a divorce can be 100 times worse than the feuding in a marriage ever was. The battle between anger and forgiveness is emotionally exhausting. Anger wants to constantly revisit all of the hurt and pain, and forgiveness is a choice not to let your past define or control you.
Always remember: You will not kill someone else by drinking your own poison. Allowing anger to run riot through your body will only cripple you and stop you from living your life. Filling your mind with toxic thoughts destroys only you. A person who is both bitter and resentful simply draws further unhappiness into their own life.
Experts argue over how many different types of anger there are and the forms it takes, but it can basically be boiled down into two types:
• Explosive anger
• Repressed anger
Explosive anger is very easy to identify. Body language and tone of voice will communicate your mood. When someone is in a state of explosive anger, they may want to humiliate, degrade, insult and provoke. When we are like this, we are no better than the person who provoked our anger in the first place. This type of anger can cause us to react in ways that just lead to regret afterwards.
Repressed anger can be passive-aggressive. Some people don’t even realise that their behaviour is a direct result of anger. They may have the ability to appear calm on the outside while their actions are screaming something else.
During your divorce, you may act in a manipulative manner. You may want to make your spouse pay for the hurt he or she has caused you. During a divorce it is common for one spouse to keep the kids away from the other, or to hold back money out of spite. These actions all stem from anger.
Channel your anger into passion!
If they were to be measured, the intensity of the energy of anger and passion would be very similar. However, passion energises and inspires creativity, producing a sense of satisfaction, which is apparently associated with the release of the endorphins in the brain. This results in fewer negative effects from stress on the body.
Understanding why you’re angry!
Anger, however, is borne from fear! It is our natural response to feeling threatened. It increases our cortisol levels, providing a burst of energy and greater focus in the short run. However, in the long term, it also reduces our ability to see other options that may be right in front of us.
You may have heard of instances of people who’ve needed to ‘dig deep’ being encouraged to visualise someone who has hurt them. They will channel their anger in short bursts for their own benefit. This resulting in achieving something that they may have initially believed that they did not have the mental strength to achieve. Such people have learned to channel resentments and anger into passion in order to meet their goals.
It’s a given that we will all feel anger at some point in our lives, but channelling that anger constructively involves a lot of emotional and mental control. Acknowledging that anger is self-defensive and that it arises when your ego is hurt, will help you to understand your own reactions.
It’s never wise to respond to someone when you are angry. Giving yourself time to bring your mind back to ‘calm’ will usually help you to find a rational response to a problem. Think of this when there is conflict in your divorce:
Aggressive and confrontational behaviour are NOT displays of strength!
Compassion and patience are NOT weaknesses.