“Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” What a wise and profound saying–although saying it and living it are two very different things. Although contemporary divorce law no longer considers fault and blame while dividing assets and calculating support payments, the pain, shame and blame are very real.
Sometimes the question is, “ok, so she wants a divorce because she wants to be with another man, but why do I have to pay for it?” No fault divorce can be a very bitter pill to swallow. I certainly understand the pain and sympathize, and the law must be followed, but there are things you can do to help yourself move past the unjust and bitter emotions. Deborah Moskovitch, author of The Smart Divorce, recently wrote an article on, ‘How You Can Forgive Your Ex-Spouse.” The author suggests that forgiveness is not for the benefit of the perpetrator so much as for your own benefit and ability to move on and live a happier life. “By letting go, people gain control of their emotions and the control their ex-spouses have over them.”
The article suggests 5 ways of getting over the pain and anger.
1. Admit it hurts. I have learned from the many therapists I consult in my practice that ‘journaling’ is very helpful. It helps to release the pain by writing down your pain and anger on paper and begin planning and envisioning a more positive future for yourself.
2. Let go of your anger and forgive. This is a challenging but important step as noted above. If you need help learning to forgive, I recommend talking with a professional to help you through this challenging transition. I always have names of therapists who I’ve met with personally so that I may provide this important resource to my clients.
3. Change your thought pattern. I love this one. “Change your perception of the divorce experience from a crisis to a process to work through.”
4. Develop feelings of empathy. The author states that empathy will help you by reducing the negative effects of the hurt and grudges as well as the physical stress in your body. You may need that therapist again to help you get there. Do be afraid or hesitate to reach out for help. This step can understandably be easier said than done.
5. Grant forgiveness. “You are not letting your former spouse off the hook, but rather, you are letting go of your negative emotions and freeing yourself from a prison of hurt and vengeful emotion. Forgiveness will reduce your stress levels and result in an improvement to your health.”
The article concludes, “happiness is your best revenge.” I couldn’t agree more.