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How to Deal With Anger Problems After a Divorce or Breakup

Last Updated on 2 years by Iva Ursano

When anger problems show up out of the blue

Hey, so does this ever happen to you?

It may have been months since your divorce ended, or you broke up with your partner and you thought you were doing okay. You were sure you dealt with all the anger problems fresh from the divorce or breakup.

You were picking yourself up financially, making your home your own, and trying some new activities and were feeling pretty good about yourself.

But then it hits you and won’t leave.  Those anger issues–that pure rage once you look back and realize just how awful your ex treated you.

The time you found the messages from another woman on his cell phone.

Or when you’d come home after a week-long work trip, only to find the house a complete mess and him sitting on the couch watching football.

Or when you’d go to the gym together, after a few comments he’d made about “you don’t look like you did when we met,” only to have him completely ignore you and pretend he doesn’t know you there.

The list could go on and on. Each memory making you see a deeper shade of red, wondering why you didn’t see the signs–why you didn’t leave.

And it’s that feeling of unfairness and injustice that can make you feel blind and keep you from moving on.

Why do anger issues keep showing up?

That’s called anger, my friends. And it’s appearing now because you’re getting stronger.

These feelings of rage are coming because you’re healing. You’re moving on from the divorce and you’re getting stronger. But during that process, the present, more confident you has a new set of eyes that’s looking back on the past you.

The stronger, more confident you is bearing witness to all the disrespect and mistreatment the past you endured and she wants justice, dammit.

“But Martha, why now? I feel like this is completely derailing my recovery!”

Dealing with anger problems after we’ve moved on

Think of your recovery in a couple of steps. The first step was when you were getting mistreated by your spouse, but you may have blamed yourself or you may have normalized it, thinking it was somehow just how your marriage was.

The next step is where you are now: you realized that the marriage is no longer healthy for you, and you are either in the process of divorce, or you are finished with the divorce and are working hard to move on.

So, there’s a gap in the healing and anger issues and it’s actually the delta between those two parts. It is you now realizing that:

  • Getting treated like crap was NOT okay.
  • You deserved better than getting treated like crap.
  • You are now frustrated because you can’t go back in time to change the fact that you were treated like crap.

And it’s this frustration that you’re feeling now. That feeling is the Anger. The anger is directed in a couple places:

  • It’s at your ex, because he treated you poorly.
  • It’s at your ex, because they will most likely not apologize and truly regret how they treated you.
  • It’s at yourself, because you’re now kicking yourself that you let it go on for so long.
  • What a mess. It’s no wonder why you’re feeling stuck and not sure what to do.

But do you see the commonality with all these things?

They are all things you cannot control. 

Controlling anger and previous problems

You can’t go back in time and get your ex to treat you better. He was a jerk who didn’t deserve you anyway. It’s as simple as that. No excuses.

You can’t “make” your ex apologize. You cannot “make” him suffer or feel bad for all the things he did. He’s most likely emotionally unavailable and him feeling bad and truly expressing his regret or sorrow ain’t gonna happen, sweetheart.

Trying to go back and dissect “what should I have done differently?” or blaming yourself for not standing up to your ex, or not realizing his toxic behavior only keeps you from moving on now.

We have no control over things that happened in the past nor can we control our anger from those things either. Controlling anger when we have thoughts of what happened in the past is tiring and frustrating.

So now what?

How to deal with anger

Redirect your anger to something productive and healing for you.

No, I don’t mean you have to pick a bunch of flowers in the meadow and make a vision board if you don’t want to. Hell, I’m not even saying forgive him right now.

But what I am saying, friends, is to channel that anger you feel into something that can help you move on with your life. I call this the PPF Model—short for Past Present Future.

Past: What lessons can I learn from this anger?

Present: What can I do NOW to turn this anger into something good? 

Future: What will I do in the future to protect myself from this toxic BS?

It’s not easy to just “let go” of all the memories that are pissing you off right now. But you can’t let them keep you stuck in rut and unable to move on with your life. Right now, you have a choice. You can choose to stay stuck in a rut, paralyzed by a past you can’t change. Or you can learn from the past and let that anger remind you that you deserve better. And you’re ready to do the work it’s going to take to move on.

Check out this post on some of the very best self help guides to help you let go, move on and heal from the past

6 of the Best Self Help Books That Will Totally Change Your Life

You may like this post about letting go and moving on:

How to Let Go, Forgive and Move On From the Past

and some of these moving on quotes might also help you!

15 Moving On Quotes to Help You Heal

and these letting go quotes!

10 Letting Go Quotes To Help You Move On

Letting go of anger

It’s not impossible and it may not be easy but in time, your anger problems and anger issues directly related to your ex will eventually lessen to the point where they just never even show up again. Healing takes time and we all heal and recover at different rates. Don’t compare your healing journey to someone else’s.

We all feel and deal with anger, hurt and pain differently. Your healing journey is your own. It won’t necessarily be pretty but you absolutely can do it. One day you will look back on this time and pride yourself on how far you’ve come. There’s a lovely quote that goes like this:

When you can look back and not cry, you’ve healed.

Author Bio

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery and confidence coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” shows divorced women how to finally get some peace of mind, regain their confidence,  and move on with their lives feeling like Wonder Woman.  For your Free Divorce Goddess Survival  Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split today!

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  1. I also get angry on trivial things specially on my daughter. I scold her sometimes the way I should not.

    1. I get that. Kids make us angry sometimes. Try to remember you were her age once too and emotions are complicated. Try to take a step back and just breathe and try to understand where she’s coming from.

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