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Controlling Your Anger after Divorce

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 7 Dec 2018 |
Anger Feelings Divorce Ex Emotions

When you say ‘I do’ you expect it your marriage to last forever, so it stands to reason that when a marriage ends it will take some time to adjust to life without your ex. You may be the one who instigated the divorce, or you can find yourself having to cope with a divorce that you didn’t want in the first place. Whatever your circumstances you can find yourself feeling a type of anger the intensity of which you haven’t experienced before, and it can be difficult to know how to deal with it.

When a relationship breaks down both people will experience a broad range of feelings such as sadness, bitterness, anger, frustration, hurt and sometimes even relief. However, during this time it can be difficult to maintain control of your emotions, as you go through the process of separating yourself emotionally and physically from someone with whom you’ve spent a considerable proportion of your life.

Get Angry!

One of the most important elements of the healing process is recognising and allowing yourself to feel the emotions you are experiencing. It is ok to feel grief, sadness, loss and hurt – these are natural human responses. It is easy, especially when there are children involved, to put on a brave face for them or to shove aside your own feelings because you are afraid of not being able to control them once you allow them to surface. Women in particular can be prone to ignoring their negative emotions because they don’t feel as though they are either acceptable or legitimate.

Suppressed anger can lead to depression so it is important to explore the reasons why you feel angry and vent those feelings safely. Anger is a form of energy: it is healthy and normal, so allow yourself to express it. Some people punch a pillow, others go to the top of a hill and scream, whilst others hit the gym for a rigorous work out. Whatever you choose to do, it is vital that you find a means of expressing the way you feel.

Explore Your Anger

Once you have expelled the immediate need to assert your anger, explore the reasons behind what is making you feel so angry. Some people find that writing about their anger can help them to come to terms with they way they feel. Others talk over their emotions with a trusted friend, whereas some prefer to seek the support and sympathetic ear of a therapist.


Exercise is not only great for health and longevity: it is also a fantastic way to expel ongoing feelings of anger, frustration or other excess energy. If you cannot exercise, learn breathing techniques that help you to relax and practice them daily. This will also help you to remain calm in difficult or fraught situations.

Embrace Now

Dwelling on the past is bound to make you angry and, whilst you need to heal old wounds, living in the past or continually asking ‘what if?’ or wondering what things would be like if you hadn’t divorced your ex are all thoughts that take you away from the reality of today. While it is natural to think like this occasionally, it means that you are not focusing on the here and now. Be grateful for the good things you have in your life, and try to focus on those rather than the negatives.

Coming to Terms With Your Divorce

It may sound obvious, but while we can control our own actions we cannot control or change other people’s behaviour. Trying to make your ex’s behaviour more acceptable is futile and will only result in your feeling increasingly frustrated and angry.


If you can try to put yourself in your ex’s shoes, you may come some way to being able to empathise with them and the motivations for their actions. Remember, they may be very angry too and will also be trying to come to terms with their own sense of loss.

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