Newsflash! You’ll probably feel angry during some point of your divorce – probably at many points. Recognized as the second stage of grief, anger can be an expression of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of experiencing deep emotional pain. These fears can have us feeling defensive, misunderstood, or even unfairly treated by our former partner.
Yet anger can also be a symptom of a personal boundary violation, such as betrayal, infidelity, deception, disappointment, or injustice. In this way, anger is acting as a valuable signal that something important is amiss.
Whether it’s a mild frustration or an overwhelming rage, the first step to understanding and managing your anger is acknowledging that it exists. When your emotions start to rise in the heat of the moment, pause and consider how you can constructively express your anger in order to minimize damage and help you heal.
In the first couple weeks after discussing divorce, I discovered what “road rage” really means when I began shouting at other drivers for minor infractions or for not driving fast enough for my liking. Then a friend told me that the only car accidents she’d ever had happened during her divorce and I realized: I was really angry but had no outlet for it (except shouting at other drivers!) — and I needed one. So I asked my friend for a referral to her therapist and that turned out to be a much more effective (and less dangerous!) outlet for my feelings. I think I just wasn’t used to feeling so angry, so I didn’t recognize what was happening at first. (Kym]