Anger can become a destructive force, particularly when you are undergoing a divorce or separation. Expressing anger through the legal process invariably leads to prolonged and emotional proceedings that will drain your resources. To cope with anger during a separation, it is important to understand its source and find constructive ways to deal with it. We offer a few pointers below:-
- Write the reasons for your anger down in a journal and leave it on the page. These are your private thoughts. Nobody else needs to nor should see it. We suggest you look back at your journal in 6 months’ time. You’ll be surprised how trivial most things seem when time has passed.
- Talk it out with your support system, but be mindful not to exhaust your friends and family. It is also important to find a support person who can think neutrally and will not put fuel to the flame of your anger. You could also benefit from a support or anger-management group where you can share your experience and develop greater self-awareness about your feelings of anger.
- Seek professional help from a psychologist or counsellor to develop strategies to cope. We suggest attending your GP and requesting a referral to a psychologist under Medicare’s mental health care plan.
- Accountability. Take responsibility for your part in the breakdown of a relationship and give credit where credit is due to your ex-spouse. Nobody is perfect.
- Protect your children. Shield them from adult issues. Let them be children. Never withhold children from your ex-spouse (dangerous situations excepted) or insult your ex-spouse in the presence of your children.
- Pick your battles. Let go of trivial matters and concentrate on the big issues.
- Allow yourself some time to grieve the loss of the relationship.
- Become familiar with what “pushes your buttons” so you do not react/respond in the same old way. New situations require new responses. Do not hesitate to say “you need some time to think about it” to allow yourself to come up with a considered response.
- Realise that you have the power to forgive and move on. Forgive your ex-spouse and/or yourself, understand the value of the lesson the experience has brought and move on.
- Value your safety: Take any threats of harm seriously. Remove yourself from the situation and cut all face to face communication. Involve the authorities, if you are fearful for yourself and/or your children.
At Hadley Family Law, we understand that a separation can invariably lead to feelings of anger. However, the legal process is not the place to express your anger at your ex-spouse. It hinders your ability to give clear and concise instructions to your lawyers and properly consider the advice you receive from your lawyers. Do not let anger work against you!