We have learned in the last parts of this series what anger really is and where it is coming from. In part 2, I showed you some great ways to express your anger and hate safely without hurting yourself or others.
If you practice these exercises daily, you can overcome your anger towards your Ex and therefore pass into phase 3 very quickly.
But there is still one kind of anger left.
And this kind of anger, if not treated, is far more dangerous than the anger you have for your Ex:
It's the anger and hate you feel towards yourself.
This is what this final part of the series is all about.
Why is self-anger so dangerous?
Let me tell you a short story.
J. and her husband lived together for almost 7 years. Out of the blue he told her that he had other plans, he allegedly wasn't made for a relationship, and he left within 3 days.
First she thought she could cope. She had her work, and when she was with colleagues and friends it didn't seem to be very difficult at all. But every time she went back to that empty house she felt devastated.
She kept calling him in the middle of the night, just to hear his voice. She went to his place and stalked him, just to be able to cast a glance at him. She even offered to do his laundry for him, so she could see him from time to time.
He accepted. But every time he came by to bring his laundry, there was no intimacy, no touching, no communication, no goodbye kiss.
She felt exploited, and was disgusted with herself for degrading herself that much. But what could she do, she just wanted to be with him.
Her self-hate manifested itself in depression, insomnia (she had to drink a bottle of wine to fall asleep), and she had difficulty breathing.
J. was trapped. She hated herself for her behavior and yet wasn't able to break free from it.
She had hopes every time she saw him, and every single time she witnessed that, her hopes shattered. Disappointment led to hate. But she wasn't able to hate HIM, she only hated herself for allowing herself to feel this terrible disappointment.
We feel self-hate whenever we think that we should be different from what we really are, or that we have reacted in a different way than we think we should.
We don't match the “ideal picture” of us.
We have to understand that self-hate is highly negative and destructive. It can destroy us from within. If we do not find a way to express it, we risk the imminent danger of drugging ourselves with pills or alcohol, just to not feel the pain anymore.
This is a road you don't want to take.
How can we express our self-hate safely?
The first thing you have to do is to accept your anger and hate. Don't fight it. For the moment, just say I know where you are coming from and I accept you for the moment.
Realize that you did, and are doing your best, you just have to learn how to deal with your current condition.
Maybe you've done things wrong in the past, maybe you haven't – it doesn't matter anymore. You acted the way you thought was best for you in that moment.
Do not compare yourself with others; you have to find your own way.
This takes time.
Here are 3 ways to express your anger towards yourself:
1. Use the physical exercises to get rid of the destructive anger
Try the physical exercises number 3. and number 5. I showed you in part 2. You can use them to express your self-anger. The other ones are not so good for self-anger because you would have to accuse yourself of the things you think you've done wrong. You cannot kick your own ass.
We don't want to accuse ourselves. We want to accept and forgive ourselves.
2. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you might have made
Get in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and say out loud:
“[Your Name here], I forgive you for everything you've done in the past.”
This will feel very weird in the beginning, there will be much resistance from the inside, but do it anyway. It goes this way: first you say it, then you believe it, then you feel it.
Persistence is vital here.
Here are some more affirmations you can use:
“[Your Name here], I love and forgive myself totally for all my mistakes, for I now recognize that mistakes are positive, not negative.”
“[Your Name here], I love myself unconditionally for all my perfections and imperfections.”
“[Your Name here], the greatest gift I can give myself is unconditional love. Any man/woman is lucky to have me!”
Practice this 3 times a day for about 10 minutes.
Affirmations are really helpful and I recommend them without any reservation. The trick is to keep doing them, even if the inner voice says otherwise.
3. Draw the Balance
I want you to write down 3 different lists:
- Write down all the reproaches you have against your Ex. What bad things has s/he done to you?
- Write down the positive things you have done for him/her in your relationship. All the sacrifices you've made.
- Write down the positive things your Ex did for you (there must be some).
Now go down the first list and ask yourself: have s/he done it on purpose? Why have I let him/her do them to me? How could they have reacted differently?
This will help you concretize the mistakes and who actually made them.
Now go through the second list and ask yourself why you have done all these things for your Ex. Was it out of love, or did they make you do them against your will? Maybe you think that you haven't actually done much for your Ex, but I'm sure you have.
Identify your motives to understand your initial intentions.
Lastly, the third list will help you to realize how much your Ex actually has brought into the relationship.
Feeling anger or hate towards your Ex or yourself after a relationship break up or divorce is normal and human. We must accept it and at the same time take measures to express it safely. I showed you some practical ways to do this in part 2.
The anger is characteristic for the second phase, and if you work on this early on you will cut off a big part of your journey.
If you don't work on it, you will prolong this 2nd phase and will not get into the next, which is to learn how to be independent. Let alone running the risk of suffering from some serious illness.
So, getting rid of your anger is something that you really should take very seriously. Take the questions from part 1 of the articles to know if you are consumed by anger, and then do the exercises to get rid of it.
Once this step is behind you, the way into independence will be much easier to go. You can forgive your Ex, and you can forgive yourself.
This is another milestone for the arduous climbing of that huge mountain called “break up survival“.