“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Gautama Buddha
Experienced divorce attorneys know what holding onto anger looks like from the eyes of a betrayed spouse. The betrayed spend emotional energy defying, resisting, delaying and even punishing their betrayers. Despite the warnings and guidance of their attorneys, the betrayed are on their own emotional journeys while their attorneys follow at a close distance with a broom and dustpan to manage the mess. Volatile emails and text messages between spouses escalate. Sometimes the spouses enlist the children for support. Excessive spending on legal fees and other expenses increase. These are the most common ways the betrayed will attempt to punish their exes and the most damaging to them both emotionally and financially. Sometimes an apology soothes the anger, and on other occasions it is a disappointing exercise.
The betrayer is no better. Instead of contrition, the betrayer is emboldened by the new relationship, encouraged to fight back, inflames the conflict by introducing the children to the new relationship, or becoming less available to them, and retaliates with financial withholding and communication black-outs.
How can these reactions be managed? Here are our top 3 “Helpful” techniques:
- Take Care of You First – Find a therapist to acknowledge and redirect emotional reactions; make time for yourself; exercise; meditation; a healthier lifestyle.
- Avoid Engaging with Your Ex – This is more difficult when children are involved but isolating yourself from their social media websites and intentional run-ins will ease your anxiety and heighten your ex’s curiosity. Take the emotion out of your interactions. Adopt new flexibility techniques and avoid being too reactive.
- Keep Busy – Time heals wounds. Being busy makes your time more constructive and reduces your focus on the conflict. Forming new and building on current friendships brings new dimensions to fill in the missing pieces.
Getting divorced is one of the worst times in a person’s adult life. It can rarely be considered a positive experience. Minimizing the bad experience and keeping you healthy to live happy again is the goal.