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Dealing with Anger during a Separation or Divorce - Parent Connection

Tags: dealing with anger, separation anger, separating anger, controlling anger, dealing with feelings
Content Types: Moving Forward
Categories: Separating

Anger is a natural and normal response to loss and everybody going through a relationship breakdown will experience it. Although anger is a necessary and healthy response to separation it can be scary, both for the person experiencing the anger and the person on the receiving end. Firstly because the intensity of feeling can make you feel like you’re out of control. Secondly, because it can be unpredictable – you can swing from feelings of hatred and revenge to feelings of insecurity and sadness and then back again.

Feeling angry is not necessarily a matter for concern, but how you deal with that anger is a major one for parents post separation. Feeling angry is healthy when it gives you the energy to get on and take control; when it protects your self esteem and it helps you to stand up for yourself. It also helps you to separate emotionally from your ex.

Dealing with anger is unhealthy when you:

  1. Bottle up your anger and turn it inwards as this can lead to depression.  This can make you less available to your children and deprives them of the normal relationship they have with you.
  2. Express your anger as aggression (and this includes silent, passive aggression) as this damages you and the people around you. Seeing conflict is frightening for children and affects them. Anger directed at the children’s other parent will interfere with the development of a co-parenting relationship and will affect the quality of your children’s relationships with both parents.

To make sure that your anger works through in a healthy way, talk about your feelings to friends or a counsellor. Use some of that energy in physical exercise - hit a punch bag, a cushion or a football. Take care of yourself.

If you feel your anger has becomes a problem you may need to change the way you think.

  1. You may think you have a right to be angry and whoever it’s directed at deserves it.  No matter how justified it is, ask yourself what good is the anger really doing.  Weigh this up against the damage it’s doing to you and your children.
  2. You may think its ok to be angry because it doesn’t affect anyone else. Just because you don’t rage and shout doesn’t stop people noticing your anger and feeling unsafe or intimidated. Neither does it stop you being stuck in the past and unable to move on.
  3. You may think that being angry is a way of getting what you want. Ask yourself what you truly want – revenge for what’s happened to you or to be treated fairly. Being a bully is not a way of getting justice and can backfire badly. You risk communication breakdown with the other parent which is a trigger for problems with the child contact arrangements.

You may also need to acknowledge past hurts.  You might think that you have got over past losses and injustices, especially those from childhood. If you are now finding that your response to the current situation is way over the top it may be that they still have the power to affect you. Although you can’t do anything to change your experiences, your attitude towards them could change. It can be difficult to do this alone and counselling could help you to explore your feelings in a safe way.

If you are being affected by your partner’s anger

If your ex’s anger seems extreme or if they seem to be stuck in anger and unable to move on, you need to protect yourself by limiting your contact with your ex. Your first priority is to make yourself and your children safe. You may need to involve a solicitor to help and advise you. The Domestic Violence Helpline offers confidential support and information 24 hours a day.

  This was of help to 100% of people  


  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I found it helpful, I tend to express my anger...loudly. You do not say whether you have children...but it was my son who made me realize I needed to find a better way of dealing with the shock of my partner leaving..I found the following article helpful . What do you think? In the end I did find a relationship counsellor who helped me see my part in the breakup....that oddly enough gave me my power back.

    Fri 11, Jul 2014 at 12:48pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I am very angry with my husband for leaving me. Sometimes I feel so angry I feel I will burst. Little things trigger off the anger. I hope this article will help

    Mon 7, Jul 2014 at 10:08pm
  • Pc Bern Flag

    so sorry to hear about your situation. I'm glad you're using the internet to get some support..every little helps and it is true that things do get better in time. Have you come across this article yet -
    It might explain why she's so calm and you're so distressed.
    You want to know how long before you start to feel better....well, some say it takes 2 years to get over a relationship breakdown. The most important thing I'd like to say tho is that grieving and distress is an absolutely normal part of the healing process. Yes, it feels awful (unbearable even!) but it's a sign that you're dealing with what's happened to you.Stay strong.

    Sun 29, Sep 2013 at 8:01pm
  • Pc Jamie Flag

    It can be such a difficult time . please consider posting on the forum as sometimes the community can offer support .

    Mon 23, Sep 2013 at 6:37pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I am the LEFT one and find it too strssful to the point that have to relay on sleeping piles in order to get some sleep.
    She is so calm and relaxed about the whole issue , which in a way makes me more nerviouse . I feel as I am getting depressed as some times I feel as I am losing the strength to carry on living.
    People say time will heal , wish I knew how long ? God give me more strenghth please ...

    Mon 23, Sep 2013 at 3:57pm