Anger is one of the top three emotions individuals experience before, during and after a break up or divorce. In fact anger is perfectly normal during this difficult time in your life. It’s highly possible that anger may have been what led you to separate in the first place. During the divorce, your ex may say or do something that will leave you fuming. After the divorce is said and done, you may still find yourself angry with your ex-spouse for months or even years. Is there a time limit on how long you can be angry with your ex? How natural is it to still be angry with your ex-spouse ten years after your divorce?
Anger can be expressed in many ways. I used to think that others couldn’t tell when I was mad, but my husband and my children have it figured out. They say I hold my mouth a certain way. When I am really upset, my shoulders tighten and my temperature seems to go up because I feel like I am having a hot flash. It takes a lot for me to get angry, but when I do, I am really mad.
When it comes to divorce, you may be angry for a while, but consider the fact that there are long term effects of anger on our bodies. Anger can actually increase our risk for chronic diseases like coronary artery disease and heart attacks, even breast cancer. In fact, long time anger can be just as dangerous as obesity and smoking is on our health. I have seen this phenomena occur where individuals harbor anger and unforgiveness and as a result the anger eventually manifested itself in the form of a deadly illness.
Just about everybody in the family will become angry sometime during the divorce process. You will be angry at your spouse and he or she will most likely be angry at you. Your children will probably be angry at one or both parents for ruining their lives. Everyone may blame the other for the demise of the family.
I have met individuals who indicate that they have been divorced for more than ten or twelve years and are still angry at their ex. That’s a long time to harbor resentment against another person. Some of my clients indicate that they are no longer angry, but their behavior says otherwise. How can you tell if you are still angry at your ex? Here are 4 ways you can tell:
1. If your buttons can still be pushed. Your ex knows how to upset you and may do or say things that manage to get you every time. Don’t let your ex have the upper hand. Know what your buttons are and don’t let them push them, or simply show them they no longer have the same effect on you.
2. If you keep telling your story about how you were wronged. Sometimes we can sing the “somebody done somebody wrong song” so many times that we begin to feel justified in bringing up old hurts. Take one last look at your story and revise it so that you can talk about how far you have come rather than what was done wrong to you.
3. If you are still blaming your ex for your current situation. Maybe you don’t like your current living situation or you are struggling financially. Maybe you don’t like being single or having to admit that your relationship failed. It’s time to put your trust and faith in God who says in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
. If you refuse to forgive. Perhaps he or she has never apologized to you for what they said or did to you. Always remember that forgiveness sets the forgiver free and we forgive others not for their sake but for our own sake. Unforgiveness can have long terms effects on our bodies just as anger and resentment. Decide to forgive and move one.
Finally, learn how to deal with your anger in a healthy way. God does not desire for us to walk around angry and frustrated when He can fill our lives with so much joy. If after reading this article, and find that you are still angry at your ex, it’s time to put an end to your anger and live a favored life. Remember… “My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. James 1:19-20 (CEV).
Are you still angry?
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach