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Dealing With Anger After A Break Up – Part 1/3

Sam’s Story

Sam caught his wife cheating with his best friend. It was an excruciating experience and even though he felt terribly betrayed, he decided to stay and try to forgive and trust her again. After all, they have a daughter of 4 years and he didn’t want her to suffer for her parents faults.

But Sam’s biggest problems have always been jealousy and distrust. This became ever worse after the infidelity of his wife.

8 months after the incident Sam’s wife decided to get divorced – allegedly she couldn’t bear his distrust and need for control any longer.

Needless to say that Sam was devastated. After her misbehavior, it was him who had desperately tried to keep their marriage going, despite the fact that he had every reason to go. Now she was leaving?

“She left without giving me a chance. This isn’t fair. First she humiliates me then she leaves. I won’t let her do this to me. I swear she will never have a happy day with our daughter again!”

After that Sam felt extreme anger, even hate, which manifested mainly in physical complaints.

Sam’s story is an example of how break ups can lead to anger and hate towards the one who leaves. The break ups or divorces are sometimes more extreme, sometimes less, but the anger is almost always present.

When experiencing a break up or divorce you have to go through the 4 phases. The anger is typical for the 2nd phase.

Dealing with anger is not that easy and it can do real damage.

How do you know that you are consumed by anger?

This isn’t always as obvious as you might think.

Anger may manifest itself in many different ways, so that you might not even realize that you are under its spell. You might only feel anxiety and strain.

Here are some questions which might help you to evaluate if you are dealing with anger:

  • Are you occupied by thinking how you could get back at your partner?
  • Do you often think how could s/he do this to you?
  • Do you sometimes imagine that you should kill yourself so that s/he gets feelings of guilt?
  • Do you badmouth your Ex in front of friends/colleagues?
  • Do you give your Ex the fault alone that your relationship failed?
  • Do you wish him/her failures in their future lives?

If you can answer most of the questions with “yes” then you are definitely dealing with anger.

Anger is a bad thing for you

First you have to realize that you alone create your anger and no one else. It’s not coming from the outside – it comes from inside.

This is a very important concept to realize. Only then can you do something to change it.

All your thoughts of hate and revenge create your discomfort. Every time you are blaming your Ex and thinking about ways to harm him/her and to pay them back, you are in reality creating your anger and hate.

The worst thing you can do is to keep that anger inside of you.

The next very important fact to realize is that anger can be very harmful to you if unexpressed. It can manifest itself in illness and mental disorders.

Where does anger come from?

You feel anger any time that something extremely important in your life doesn’t turn out the way you want and expect it. People who are in our eyes responsible for this failure are a threat to us, an aggression.

This is in fact early cave man behavior. It’s hardwired into us from the beginning of mankind. In order to survive, Early Man needed physical tension to be able to escape or fight.

Today you don’t have to be afraid of getting eaten by a tiger, so the reasons for anger now must lie somewhere else.

Why we feel anger today

Today our anger is only an indication of our discomfort with ourselves, a sign that we don’t think highly about ourselves.

The fact that our Ex left us has highly damaged our self-esteem. We sometimes think that we are stupid and unattractive. Our self-love is gone.

For all of this we blame our Exes.

The problem behind all this is that we often started the relationship with the belief that we need a partner in order to be happy.

No wonder then that we feel betrayed and angry if that partner leaves us alone.

We have brought ourselves into dependence and the break up therefore feels life-threatening to us.

What to do with our anger?

The worst thing you can do is to keep that anger inside of you. Unexpressed anger will turn into depression, psychosomatic disorders, headaches or gastric ulcer-especially in women.

So we have to express it.

But how? By kicking your Exes ass? I wouldn’t recommend that.

Releasing your anger in front of your Exes will only lead to further problems, especially if you have further obligations like mutual children or work related business together.

So, you’re not supposed to keep your anger inside, neither can you kick your Exes asses. So what the heck can you do?

There are actually some ways to express your anger in different ways, harmless for you and others.

I am going to talk about these ways in my next article: Dealing with Anger after a Break Up – Part 2.

See you then.

Until then, please try to resist the urge to hunt down and kill your Ex (as much as you may feel that s/he deserves it).

Your friend,

Eddie

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15 Responses to Dealing With Anger After A Break Up – Part 1/3

  1. Rosie April 7, 2008 at 7:12 am #

    This is an interesting one. I agree that in an ideal case scenario we don’t get angry, or if we do, we don’t show it. However, if there is clearly a ‘wronged’ party, I thinks it’s ok to show that anger. To communicate to an irresponsible or uncaring person – look what you’ve done and how painful it is. Of course, there needs to be a time limit on the whole anger issue, but being all nice about conflict and shouting and kicking and screaming behind the scenes is a very interesting concept. Not very ‘European’ (which is where I come from). I had a painful breakup after a short but intense relastionship – whilst being married to someone else. I was angry, and I let him know. I sent those letters / emails. It probably means he’ll never speak to me again, but I feel much, much better and if he doesn’t, that’s ok. The ex-lover is not very emotionally aware, extremely irresponsible. There is probably a bit of a list of girls he needs to apologize to and I come way down on that list. Still, it was about time someone told him. Sometimes anger is good and justified – and showing it can be very cathartic. Of course, there are certain countries where people start to threaten to bring in a lawyer if all the anger they’ve caused makes them feel uncomfortable. Which is what he did. At first I was scared, now I just laugh about it. Cutural differences is an entirely separate topic for you! :-)

  2. Eddie Corbano April 7, 2008 at 8:43 am #

    @ Rosie

    The article is mainly about how to express anger that’s eating you up from inside after the actual break up happened, when no contact is established.

    Should you express you anger towards your Ex if s/he was irresponsible or uncaring? It certainly can feel good sometimes, but I always recommend to find the right balance between the “feel good” and what you could regret later.

  3. Rosie April 8, 2008 at 2:28 am #

    Very measured response Eddie! You are quite right. It did eat me up and it took a year to stabilise. Another interesting point though – maybe you’ve written about that. I didn’t know the man all that well – I mean, how would I after a couple of days. He seemed very sweet – he probably is most of the time. Cornering someone though and pushing a person to their limits really tells you something about their true character. It satisfied my psychological curiosity to see how he reacted. And it actually helped to get over it, because he ‘underperformed’. But it’s not for everyone. I have a reasonably aggressive style when I sense cowardice and selfishness that’s ‘way out’. But your website is very interesting!!!

  4. Elena May 29, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    I’m going through the pain of breakup now. I had the urge to write all those dreadful mails to my ex, and in fact i did write about 20 e-mails – but i saved them all in “drafts”, because that’s how i verbalized my feelings. To him, I only sent a mail saying how I felt, but without any blames. I just said that it was extremely tough for me, but that I respected his choice, and understood that he definitely had serious reasons to take that decisions. I think it’s important not to humilate yourself and the other person, no matter how much it hurts. It will backfire on you later. Respect – and it will be easier to move on, I hope it will work for me at least.

  5. 1JadedHeart September 13, 2008 at 4:53 am #

    2 years ago I finalized my divorce, ending my 20 year marriage. It was a difficult marriage, full of verbal and emotional abuse from an financially irresponsible spouse. There was plenty for me to leave angry about. Going through the divorce presented plenty of opportunities to get angry and I had my share of angry feelings. But, I realized I had a choice. I did not have to be angry and if I was it was because I chose to. I decided I did not want to live my life feeling that way and consciously chose not to allow the anger to get the best of me. This is not to say that there were not times I did not get mad, because I did. But then, I let that anger go within a very short time. For me, this was one of the best decisions I ever made. Even though there were some injustices in the divorce, I am completely at peace knowing that it was the right thing to do.

  6. Luisa January 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm #

    Anger typically hides pain,
    and in turn, pain hides fear.

  7. Barb August 11, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    I am really confused by the anger described in the article.
    So I’ll share a short version of my story.
    I had a male friend for 10 years. I recently went through a divorce and he asked me out and I accepted. By the 2nd date I knew something was wrong or missing (clashing, no real attraction, no sparks) so I communicated my hesitation toward dating him. He wanted to work through it anyway. The same thing happened on the following 4 or 5 dates. I would get home from the date, I would call him and tell him what went wrong on the date and that I didn’t think it was working out, being as gentle as possible. He would want to work it out and change for me.
    Finally I had to just break up with him because I knew this would go no where.
    He sent me a somewhat nasty email and I replied very politely, explaining that I never wanted to hurt my friend of 10 years but that we could not continue. We were not meant to be together. He didn’t respond after that.
    Being a caring friend, I sent him a quick email 1 week later. I only asked him if we were still friends and that if he didn’t respond I would take the hint… He replied with some very hurtful remarks, telling me to “F off, you self centered B****, you knew what would happen all along”. Like I had planned on hurting him.
    What I do not understand is WHY is he so mad at me? We only dated for a month and a half, yet he is so hurt and angry. He says I hurt him more than any girl ever has. How is that possible? I just want to be his friend, like we were in the past.
    He’s had only one LTR before that ended up being short lived. He is dumped every time. I feel bad for him but what can I do. It was a mistake to date him because I really hurt him in the process, and I feel really bad for that. Now I’m not sure if there is anything I can do to help him.

  8. joe blessing September 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    Eddie, it seems to me that you are saying that our anger is unjustified and the reasons for them not true. Why wouldn’t we be angry for someone who told us they loved us, cheating on us or leaving us and saying, “Oh yeah all that stuff before I said, I was wrong. I don’t love you, and we shouldn’t be together?” I mean come on. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason to be mad. I was in my relationship for 7yrs, and I can’t count the times she said, you are the one for me. And now its like we never even went together. Why should I not be angry, how could I not be? Even if my self-esteem did not take a hit, its not like missing a movie time.

    And I do believe that we are not meant to be alone. It’s not even the way we are made. So yes, there is a degree of happiness we cannot reach by ourselves. That is just how humans are. And when you find someone that matches you, it should piss you off that they abandon you, only to go look for someone else with the same damn attributes that you had, or worse, dating someone worse for them, than you. AND YOU KNOW THAT HAPPENS A LOT

  9. Elliott April 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    So, this guy catches his wife cheating on him with his best friend, then tries to forgive her and gives her ‘a second chance’, and in the end he blames her for dumping him? Sam showed total lack of integrity and self respect and is the sole person to blame for his misfortune. I mean, this woman shows her true character by cheating on him, and even though it’s obvious she has no loyalty, no integrity and no love and respect for her husband (if you are a stable and sane person you don’t cheat on anyone, let alone a person you love and respect), Sam decides to remain together with such a traitorous person and gives her a second chance, another chance to stab him in the heart that is.
    It’s not her fault for being such an unquality and immoral person and she’s not to be punished for that, because that’s just the way some people are, not everyone is honest. All blame is on Sam, and it’s on himself that he should be angry. He should grow a pair, develop some self-confidence and self-esteem, stop blaming other people, and take responsibility for his own life and happiness.
    As for their daughter, he contradicts himself. First he choses to preserve their marriage for the sake of their kid (which in my opinion was just an excuse because he was too weak and too needy to break-up), then after the woman dumps him (which was inevitable because even if she had any respect left for him she lost it when he showed no strenght and basically forgave her when she did such a terrible thing to him) he swear that his beloved daughter will never have a happy day with her mother. Way to go pal! If he wasn’t such a selfish and insecure sap, he would have divorced his wife the same day he caught her in bed with another guy. And by doing that he would also have given his kid a good example and a lesson of positive moral values in life, such as that cheating is wrong and that you can’t do bad things and get away with it.

    • Eddie Corbano April 7, 2010 at 7:38 am #

      Dear Elliot,

      Although your assessment of Sam’s character is quite right, Sam is just a regular guy with flaws and faults and his story is happening every day all over the globe.

      Was it wrong that he wanted his family to stay together so badly?

      Having said that, the point of the article was how easy and destructive it is to be consumed by anger, not necessarily the moral implications of cheating.

      Anger has some benefit in the beginning, but with time it can destroy you.

      I also sense some anger in you, am I right?

      Your friend,
      Eddie

  10. Elliott April 21, 2010 at 4:47 am #

    Well, actually yes, I had some anger in me a few months ago. Going through a tough break up, I eventually diverted that anger toward myself because I got sick of myself for being such a wimp and suffering for a girl who absolutely doesn’t deserve me. I got a little help from a friend of mine in the process. He gave me a similar motivational speech and literally kicked me in the butt and made me set my mind into right direction.

    It’s amazing how a change of attitude can make the recovery so much quicker. There are many good examples around us, I found a lot of useful advice on this site too, so I’m just trying to spread the positive experience with whomever needs it. Sometimes it must be presented in a crude and unpleasant manner, just as sometimes there is no smooth way to get over a break up.

    I hope it helps somebody, as I am thankful to all of you people who helped me when I needed it.

    Cheers
    Elliott

  11. Jannie March 26, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    Am somewhat concerned. I’m not angry. More sad than anything. The breakup was amicable with both agreeing why we were ending a 35 year friendship/relationship. I know the stages of grief and can’t seem to get to the anger stage. This is somewhat of a concern to me.

  12. Paul Koppel January 11, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Taking revenge or showing anger on exes won’t give anything. But you need to send your anger out, if not you will get anger every time when you see her. So look for a cool way to burst out your anger. Meditation and yoga can relieves your stress.

  13. Seon Ferguson October 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    This is really good advice, thanks. I just got hurt by a friend but I am still angry and bitter towards her so this article is helping. I don’t want these feelings or her to have control over me.

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