Friday, 16 November 2018

How to Handle a Toxic Divorce

When an ex puts your emotional, physical, or financial wellbeing at risk.

Most divorces begin with hurt. Both parties may point the finger at the other person for the demise of the marriage. Accusations of infidelity, mismanagement of money or intrusion of in-laws are relatively common. As the divorce process begins, there may be animosity and heated discussions as decisions regarding the division of property, bank accounts, child visitation and custody arrangements are being made. Over time, people typically adjust to their new situation and the animosity diminishes. Even if one or both parties claim they don’t like each other, attempts are made to establish a civil way to communicate with one another, especially if there are children involved. Sometimes, divorced couples establish a “new” relationship and a friendship develops.

A toxic divorce, however, is a completely different scenario. Many courts define it as a “high conflict divorce” where each party escalates the contention. The toxic divorce, as I define it, is when one party wants to dissolve the marriage in a more equitable way while the other person not only refuses to cooperate, but they create a consistent string of chaos and ill will. 
Toxic behaviors may include stalking, harassment, threats made to one’s physical safety and health, hiding marital assets, sullying a person’s reputation, damaging property, and alienating children from the targeted parent.

Toxic divorces tend to last longer than a typical divorce; some as long as eight to ten years as one person continues to block the divorce progress at every turn. As the targeted partner tries to develop a new life, the former partner will often escalate the contention and extend the toxicity to the target’s new friends, a love interest, family members or employers.

The first line of defense in navigating around a toxic divorce is finding an attorney whose definition of a toxic divorce includes predicting the possible extreme behavior that can be exhibited by the warring partner. These behaviors may include refusing to pay child support, violating child custody or visitation, attempts to destroy the reputation of the targeted spouse with their friends, family, and employers and to alienate the children. It’s critical that the targeted partner’s attorney has the skill-set to mitigate much of these behaviors by defining a very specific settlement written into the divorce decree. The items in the decree such as child custody/visitation, division of property, and child support/alimony must be defined with great detail. For example, a visitation schedule that reads, “The children are to visit with the father (or mother) every other Friday for the weekend” may work for most of the divorced population whose efforts are to protect the health and well-being of the children. However, a statement like this will be a nightmare for the targeted parent. A person whose mission is to be contentious will likely bring the children home at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday nights. Although bringing the children home at this time may fall within the guidelines of the agreement, the action to bring children home late on a school night makes it evident that the intentions are to upset the targeted parent.

To avoid these potential situations, a more specific statement such as, “The father (or mother) is to pick up the children every other Friday, beginning on (the first date) at 4:30 p.m. at (named location). The father (or mother) is to return the children to the mother (or father) (named location) the Sunday of each of his/her weekend no later than 6:00 p.m. (EST).

Additionally, I strongly suggest that someone going through a toxic divorce secure a court appointed judge for their case. Since toxic divorces typically spend a great deal of time in court, a judge who is familiar with the case can make better decisions regarding the case and impose sanctions/punishments, if necessary. If a judge determines that one of the parties is creating a long-term unrelenting toxic situation, the judge has the power to take drastic measures to diffuse the contention. For example, if a spouse refuses to pay child support or reduces it without court approval, a judge can take action by writing a court order to have the monies taken out of the person’s salary to be paid directly to the recipient.

Another important step to mitigate a toxic divorce is the use of trustees. Trustees are attorneys that help you dissolve marital assets such as cash, real estate, cars, boats, art, vacation homes, pensions, retirement accounts or jewelry. Expecting the contentious spouse to be “fair,” while selling or re-appointing marital assets, is unrealistic so all property must be handled by a third party. Trustees will itemize everything and decide how they are to be divided, where and when.

A contentious unrelenting divorce will wreak havoc on one’s physical and emotional health so it is imperative to assure that self-care is a priority. It is common for people to place their children’s needs, their jobs and household responsibilities above their own health. I believe it is essential to carve out specific time each day to refresh and nourish oneself. This may be achieved through physical activity or quiet meditation. Whatever the preferred modality for rejuvenation, it must be consistent so that one has the emotional and physical strength to effectively circumvent the constant and escalated conflicts.

It is essential to have a strong support system, even if that is only two or three people. These should be people who are trusted and empathetic to what is going on. It’s a good idea to have a “check-in” system with one or two people where a text, email or phone call is made every day to assure that the targeted spouse is safe. This is especially necessary if there has been physical violence in the past. If there have been threats of or actual physical violence, a report should be made to the police and a protective order may be put into effect. Protective orders set boundaries that keep the offender a specified distance from their target. Protective orders are very serious and violations of them may result in jail time.

A toxic divorce is very challenging and will push the targeted individual to exhaustion. A targeted person needs to remember that they cannot change the behavior of the person who has made it their main objective to create chaos for the target. The only way to effectively diminish the impact of the toxic divorce is to limit one’s response to their antics and maintain as much emotional composure as possible. Toxic divorces are overwhelming so it is better to take each day one at a time, each step one at a time.


Thursday, 15 November 2018

Helping Kids Cope with Your Amicable Divorce

When divorce is an obvious solution to a disastrous marriage, it’s easier for kids to understand. If either parent is abusive to partner and kids, an addict whose habit has thrown the family into poverty, or a criminal in the world and a tyrant at home, it makes sense to children that the more balanced parent would want to take them away from all that. When home is a place filled with tension, where everyone has to walk on eggshells to avoid a blowup, where the primary contact between the grownups is fighting and violence or seething hostility, kids often want out as much as one of their parents.

But what can the kids make of it when the reasons for the divorce aren’t so obvious? Adult reasons aren’t always appropriate to share with kids. The reasons you can share may seem lame to them. You’re not happy. You and your partner don’t share the same interests, activities, or goals. You or your partner is attracted to someone else. Sex isn’t what you think it should be. Daily life is boring at best; clouded by low-grade hostility at worst. Little decisions get left to one or the other. Big decisions seem impossible. Maybe there is a hidden addiction (gambling, shopping, Internet porn) that is eroding the marriage but isn’t visible to the children. You and your partner aren’t a team. You aren’t in love. You think life has to be better than this. But you’ve been wise enough to shield the children from your growing unhappiness.

Adding to the kids’ confusion is that you and the other parent have managed to work out a way to be responsible parents in spite of growing apart from each other. Maybe you’ve divided the turf, with each of you taking on different tasks — one becoming the caregiver; the other doing specific routines. Maybe you can’t talk to each other but you can both talk to the kids. Most important, the kids know you both love them. Kids, being kids, think the way you are together is the way all parents live. They think your family is no different from anyone else’s. They think everything is fine.

Although an amicable divorce is what most adults would want and what is ultimately better for the kids, it only adds to their bewilderment. If you guys can get along so well, they think, why couldn’t you just stay married and keep our family together?

Make no mistake. For the children in such a situation, your divorce is their catastrophe. They can’t believe it. From where they sit, you’ve got a good family. They love you both and don’t believe that you don’t love each other. Their usual reaction is panic and protest. They don’t want it to happen. They worry it’s their fault. They fantasize they can do something to stop it or fix it. They worry their parents will divorce them, just as they are divorcing each other. They hate it. They may even hate you for disrupting their life, for making the other parent leave, for changing things that seemed just fine to them.

Helping your kids through your amicable divorce is a long-term proposition. Since there was no obvious blowup and blowout, the kids will return to questioning the decision at each stage of their development. If you expect it, if you respond with age-appropriate answers, if you can avoid being defensive, the issue will quiet down again until the next developmental milestone. It often takes until they are adults and have had experience with adult relationships for them to really understand.

There are some common and predictable issues at every “why did you have to go and get a divorce?” conversation along the way:

  • The kids will wonder if somehow the divorce is their fault. Since they don’t understand adult reasons for separating, since they are by definition narcissistic little beings, they will assume that it is something they did or didn’t do that drove one parent away or made the other one unwilling to stay a couple. Little kids will think it’s because they did something “bad.” Older kids will think they didn’t do well enough in school or didn’t obey enough of the rules or weren’t the right kind of kid. Teens are especially vulnerable to thinking it’s all their fault. You and their other parent will need to reassure them many, many times that the divorce is not about them.
  • The flip side is that they will fantasize that they can get you two back together. They may even try to engineer it. They will try hard to be extra, extra “good” so that you will want to be a family again. They will try to manipulate situations so that you and the other parent have to get together and talk. They may try to sabotage a new relationship. You and their other parent will need to relieve them of their imagined responsibility for recreating the family. You’ll need to explain many, many times that the divorce is permanent.
  • The kids will worry you will “divorce” them too. Their reasoning is that since you once loved your partner but left, you could leave them too. You and their other parent will need to explain to them frequently that partner love is different from parent love and that there is nothing they can do that will make either of you stop loving them or being their parents.
  • In their efforts to make sense of the situation, kids will sometimes decide that one or the other parent is really the bad guy. Sometimes in a moment of temper, they will say terrible things: “You’re such a ____, it’s no wonder my father/mother left you!” “My dad/mom must have an awful secret or you wouldn’t have left!” Whatever your own feelings about your former spouse, kids need to feel that they have two good parents. You both will need to explain many, many times that the other parent is a perfectly good person but wasn’t a good partner for you.
  • Often kids will make threats in attempts to get their parents to stay together or reunite. “I’ll run away.” “I’ll hate you forever.” “I won’t cooperate with your arrangements for where I should live or who I should be with.” You and their other parent need to repeat many, many times that you understand why they are so upset but that threats don’t solve the problems. You’ll need to have many, many serious talks about what might make things work better for them.

There’s no such thing as an easy divorce when there are children. Divorcing amicably doesn’t guarantee that the children will go along with the new arrangement without turmoil. They need empathy. They need your support. They need you to acknowledge that you are disrupting their lives. They need to be validated that you are making the choice that, yes, you are really so unhappy that at this point your happiness comes before theirs.

When parents are honest about how hard the divorce is on their children, the kids usually eventually accept it. It’s unfair to expect them to like it. It’s unreasonable to look to them to support the decision. But when children and teens feel heard, they are more likely to join in constructing a new idea of their family. The parents’ job is to work very hard to be cooperative co-parents and to do as much as possible to accommodate the kids’ needs for predictability and stability in the midst of the major disruption that even the most amicable divorce creates for them.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Choose what you focus on, choose how you feel, choose what you get

"Where your attention goes, energy flows and results show"
- T Harv Eker
The Reticular Activating System is the part of the brain that filters out what we detect via our senses. We filter out based on what we've trained our minds to notice and if we constantly see the negative, then that's what we'll see more of, and this will ensure that ours is a life of struggle. If we instead focus on gratitude, positivity and energy then that will be how we view the life and this will in turn yield results in terms of how we feel about life.
This video helps to explain how the many ways of observing the same scenarios can indicate where our focus is and can indicate where we'd be better served to train ourselves to respond more appropriately.
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Thanks and have a great day!

Divorce after 50: What I wish I had known beforehand

Advice for navigating a late-in-life split

Divorce is never easy, but couples over 50 who end their marriages face particular hurdles. Below, people who went through a late-in-life divorce share six things they would tell their younger selves, offering ways others can learn from their experiences:

“I wish I had known how the divorce would impact my oldest children even more than my youngest still at home.”
Gail Konop, a 57-year-old yoga studio owner whose 2011 divorce ended a 25-year marriage, said her son who lived at home slowly got used to her new reality, which wasn’t as easy for her adult daughters. “He got to see us as individuals living in his life. He saw how there was less stress, and he got used to it. But my daughters are coming home periodically and they couldn’t keep up with the changes.” At one point, Konop says her daughter announced, “I don’t want to come home anymore — it’s so weird.” If you’re considering a divorce and kids are involved, don’t assume you are sparing your children by holding on, only to divorce once they’re out of the house.

“I wish I’d explored the job market before I separated; I think I would have worked harder to try to keep the marriage together if I’d realized just how bleak things are out here.” For older adults, especially women who have been out of the workforce, re-entering it can be more even more challenging than they expect. Look into getting advice from financial and career counselors to consider your options for long- and short-term planning post-divorce. Beth Hodges, a family law attorney at Horack Talley in Charlotte, N.C ., says the input of those experts can be helpful when negotiating the amount of alimony and property settlement.

“Sometimes when we’re negotiating, I have a client who wants to get her degree to increase her earning capacity. We’ll find out what the cost would be to go back to school and get statistics on what type of income my client can expect to receive once she finishes,” which then gets figured into the settlement package, so the main breadwinner will pay for her education instead of alimony.

“I wish I had known how painful it would be.” Kelly James, a ghostwriter who was 50 when she divorced after 19 years of marriage, was surprised by how long it took her to adjust to the loneliness of living alone.

“Even if you don’t have the happiest of marriages, there’s something comforting about having someone in your home, your bed. I’m lonely sometimes and miss being part of a twosome,” says James. “It’s also difficult to not have my kids with me all the time — their dad and I do a good job of co-parenting, but I miss them when they’re at his house.”

In addition to suggesting the pursuit of new hobbies and volunteer opportunities, Hodges recommends therapists to her clients as a way of helping them adjust to their new life. “[Divorce] is a very traumatic, life-rattling experience, especially if you’ve been married for 25 to 35 years,” says Hodges. She reassures her clients that in time, they’ll not only recover, but emerge stronger. “[Divorce] can be transformative,” says Hodges. She tells her clients, “‘You’re going to survive and feel better about yourself and about your future.’ Almost to a person they’ll come back to me and say, ‘You were absolutely right.’”

“I didn’t think my friends would actually bail on me, but I was wrong.” Lynn Cohen, a Chicago-area divorce attorney who serves on the board of the women’s divorce support nonprofit The Lilac Tree, sees it all the time with her older female clients: “A lot of their friends cut them off — even their best friends. You might keep one or two close friends, but that whole crowd is not going to be there. They’ll help you while you’re going through [the divorce] but not after it’s done.”

She advises her clients to get ahead of this social shift and be proactive about expanding their networks by joining groups that set up travel opportunities for single people, and by volunteering. “If you’re not active in your community and giving back, you’re kind of by yourself,” Cohen notes. She also cautions against relying too heavily on divorced friends. “Every divorce is a different set of facts and circumstances and must be viewed individually. They’ll say, ‘When I was divorced, I was able to get everything in the house.’ That’s unnerving and usually bad advice. I tell people that they’re going to have to make their own life,” says Cohen.

“I wish I had known how expensive it would be.” James was shocked that her uncontested, relatively conflict-free collaborative divorce still cost nearly $35,000.

“In retrospect, a ‘traditional’ would have probably been a lot less expensive,” she says. Collaborative divorce eschews adversarial strategies and litigation. Cohen advises consulting a divorce attorney as soon as a client suspects she or he may need one to get a jump on figuring out how to pay for the divorce and life after. Alimony may be sparse if a couple already living on retirement savings splits, so would-be divorcĂ©es may need time for their exit strategy.

Hodges has a simple tip when it comes to saving divorce attorney fees: stay off the phone. “Sometimes clients run up their bills because they’re constantly calling us and engaging us in half-hour consultations. We’re there to counsel and provide guidance to a client, but there is a cost,” says Hodges.

The first thing you should do when hiring an attorney, she says, is “Ask questions about the attorney’s billing practices, how the lawyer charges. If there are things you can do for the attorneys, like gathering financial information, you can save money by doing that yourself.”

“I wish I had known how liberating it would be — and how that can be a little scary.” Says Konop: “Being only responsible for myself (and my kids) has let me make decisions based on what I want. From little decisions like what to hang on the wall of my house to bigger ones like where to travel and what kinds of projects to do on the house, is all up to me. That feels good but can also be overwhelming. It was like I had a second adolescence. I had so much fun, I knew myself so much better. At first, it was really nerve-racking and the dating world had changed. It was energizing (until it got exhausting.)”


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Six Signals of Divorce

Divorce should not be a surprise. Here are signals to watch.

On many occasions I have written about the issue of mutuality in divorce. In few cases do both partners reach the decision to divorce at the same time. Invariably, one of the partners, perhaps the one with a lower pain threshold, decides that she just can't live with the marriage any longer, and notwithstanding all the loss and dislocation of divorce, decides that it would be better than continuing the marriage. Although the initiator can be and frequently is the husband, it is the wife in about seventy five percent of divorces who initiates the ending of the marriage. The non-initiating spouse may be close behind and may quickly agree that divorce is the best option. Or, he may be resistant, arguing that the marriage can be salvaged if only they try one more time and a little harder. In some cases the non-initiator is completely thunderstruck arguing that they have an acceptable marriage and is she out of her mind to want to put the family through a divorce?

The issue of mutuality is very important because the way it is managed generally determines whether the divorce will be amicable or bitter. As I have explored the reasons for this elsewhere I won't go into depth here.

All I want to do is to set the stage for a discussion of how one tells if a divorce is imminent. My goal is to educate the otherwise oblivious spouse who is surprised by the divorce even though the warning signs have been evident for a long time. It is not my mission here to explore why marriages fail. My goal is limited to helping people recognize the warning signals as early as possible.

Marriages don't break; they erode over time. Each time a sarcastic or hurtful remark goes without repair or apology some of the bond that holds a couple together washes away. Each time a spouse fails to identify an emotional need of the other and attend to it, a little more glue disappears. Each time a conflict is avoided because the couple despairs of constructive discussion and resolution there is more erosion. And each time sex is refused or avoided because one of the partners feels emotionally disconnected the process accelerates.

There are numerous other sources of erosion including the displacement of time and attention to the marriage by obsessive concerns with career or children. And even though there may be some explosive precipitating event such as an affair revealed, most of the time there is severe erosion by the time of the discovery. So how does one tell that the erosion has brought the marriage to the point of divorce?

The next time you are in a restaurant look for the sad couple eating dinner in silence. They make little or no eye contact and have little or no conversation. They are completely disengaged and are simply enduring the meal until they can finish and leave. That's a couple on the verge of divorce. It may not happen soon and may not happen at all because there are couples who are held together by nothing but inertia and fear. But at least one or both of these unfortunates are thinking about divorce.

There are six signals of impending divorce. There are probably many more but these are the big ones.

1. No Conflict Resolution

The noted researcher John Gotman has argues that it is not lack of communication that sinks a marriage but, rather, lack of effective conflict resolution. Couples who have not evolved a way to resolve differences without injury to the relationship end up avoiding disagreement and conflict. One or both has arrived at a point of despair that it is pointless to try to resolve a difference with his/her mate. It may be that one or both are simply conflict avoidant. Or one or both may regard every conflict as a fight to be won by bullying the other into submission. What matters is that someone has given up. Differences are submerged resulting in a loss of respect, increasing distance and gradual withdrawal.

2. Emotional Disengagement

Emotional engagement is a minimum requirement for the development and maintenance of intimacy. Willing discussion of feelings, one's own feelings and the other's feelings are a part. Interest in the emotional life of the other and empathic engagement of each other's emotional life all constitute the required elements for an intimate relationship.

3. Disaffection

Emotional engagement is generally accompanied by the withdrawal of affection. If your wife has disengaged emotionally from you she probably doesn't feel much love for you. Divorcing people commonly say that "they have fallen out of love." And depending on how sour the relationship has become one or both probably don't like each other very much.

4. Lack of Sex

Sex both expresses and reinforces emotional connectedness. When a couple has not had sex in a long time it is usually a reliable indicator that emotional disengagement is advancing steadily. It is yet another indicator that the partners take no pleasure in each other and that the bonds are rapidly eroding if not already in a terminal state.

5. Increased Focus outside the Marriage

Empty marriages are very boring. Some couples compensate by pouring themselves into their children so that child centered activity becomes the sole content of family life. Others pour themselves further into careers working late every night so the time with the other is minimized. And as emotional satisfaction is sought exclusively outside the marriage the probability of an affair soars. The majority of affairs I see in my practice have started with a coworker who takes an interest and is fun to be with.

6. Preparation for a Single Life
I recall a couple I worked with many years ago in which the husband, as part of his planning for the coming divorce, took a second mortgage on he house to pay for a hair transplant to improve his dating prospects. Although this was a bit extreme it is typical for the initiating spouse to begin preparing herself or himself by getting in shape, losing weight, attending to hair and wardrobe and other things to enhance appearance. And particularly with women who have stayed home we often see a new interest in refreshing or acquiring a career to be less dependent on the earnings of the husband. We also will often see the initiator taking up an activity such as tennis or golf without involving the other spouse and generally beginning to build a social network as a single rather than as a couple.

What to Do?

If you see yourself in this scenario it would be understatement to say that your marriage is in serious trouble. I would not try to prognosticate about the precise tipping point beyond which a marriage is absolutely doomed. But I can say that these signals, or at least most of them, are present in almost every divorcĂ© I mediate. At a minimum it is time for a long and honest talk with your spouse. If you can't have that talk without it deteriorating into blaming and recrimination, suggest an urgent session with a marriage counselor or family therapist. 
Because if you are heading for divorce, the sooner the two of you face the issue and plan for an amicable separation, the better your chances of achieving a good and non destructive divorce.


Monday, 12 November 2018

The Myth of the Amicable Divorce

Some of the most damaging divorces are the most amicable ones

You can divorce well or you can divorce badly and like with most things, there's a front and a back to both scenarios. How better to ameliorate our shame of our failure than to posture a divorce as a constructive motion toward benevolence? This is a lie you can't live with. In amicable divorce, someone is either compromising too much or they're hiding their animosity. "We've grown apart. No one's to blame." This is yet another lie. Growth, by virtue of itself, is new and different. It is neither predictable nor certain. You enter into marriage with the knowledge that you will traverse growth and navigate your changes as partners. Growing apart means you have stopped partnering. Someone has let go; lost their edge, and now the two parties are in a free fall...separately. So then, how can it be authentic for them to come to the business of divorce as one; unified and together?

When two people enter the ring of divorce with smiles on their faces and a song in their heart, the world around them is left confused and unsure as to what is expected from them. Lawyers can't do their jobs, mediators feel useless. Parents and children are completely bewildered and friends just want to fade away rather than manage this ambivalence. The divorcing couple wants an amicable divorce for the sake of the family, but they are actually making things harder for their families and confusing their children.

Some of the most damaging divorces are the most amicable ones, where the high ground respect and friendship of the Switzerland like ex-couple infiltrates both or either party's future and current relationships. These seemingly benign, friendly divorces create a hostility, jealousy and rancor that often percolates below the surface until it creates its own seismic shift in the landscape of any new, soon to be old, relationships; not to mention the current relationships with friends and families. The friendly divorce is too often based on the rejected party hoping to regain the love of the whistle blower. "I will always love him. He is the Father of my children." Is this meant to be consolation to families or a line of seduction to a prospective paramour? The fact that "the Father of your children" dumped you and gave seed to another woman's child while you were still under the illusion that the two of you were "working it out" is irrelevant. What you are clearly not "working out" is him out of your system, your heart and your rejected self. And until you do, you will be unlovable and unacceptable. You may be divorced, you may be unmarried but you are not available. You are just alone.

Except for your children, who are completely baffled by how their lives got turned upside down while their parents seem to be peachy keen. Taking the high road has taken on new stratospheric heights. Everyone is uncomfortable, except for the un-couple who bask in their "superior" amiability. How well children weather divorce has more to do with how their parents manage their conflict than the actual conflict or breakup itself. But it is simplistic to think that that means Mommy and Daddy should be best friends in order to insure the well being of their children. If they're such good friends, why didn't they stay married? What is marriage, then, is it not friendship? Is it not love? Is it really just about sleeping together? Because that seems to be the only thing that's changed in Mommy and Daddy's relationship. Is this the message about love and marriage that you want to teach your children? An honest relationship post-divorce is hard to attain but it is more important to self and others than any other aspect of the dissolution. Being best friends is not the answer any more than being arch enemies is.

No matter how or why two people come to the divorce table, one thing is for certain. At least one of the two are dissatisfied. And even if they both agree to disagree, in the words of Bob Dylan, "One of us cannot be wrong." There is a big difference between handling disagreement maturely and pretending there is no disagreement. Divorce does not have to be about hate, but it cannot be about love. Divorce is a business deal that is afflicted and compromised by the emotional instruments of the marriage. It is a beginning and it is an end. But it is not something that two people can accomplish while holding hands any more than it can be accomplished at gun point. You can't be afraid to be angry any more than you can be afraid to be kind. Marriage at its best is about love. Divorce at its best is about business. And while one is a union and one is a dissolution of a union, they are not opposites.


Friday, 9 November 2018

5 Tips For Dealing With Anger During Divorce

After a divorce, most people go through a myriad of emotions. Hurt, disappointment, and grief are some of the more easily recognized emotions, but underlying all of these may be anger.

Anger is a fact of life, especially for most people experiencing a divorce. Because anger is a human reality, what can you do to deal with and use proactively the anger you feel during divorce?

Strategies for Dealing With Anger During Divorce

Below are 5 strategies that will help you understand and deal with anger in a positive manner.

Don't Give In
Anger is a legitimate emotion, it is your heart trying to tell you something hurts emotionally. 
Stuffing anger to avoid dealing with it can result in depression which, in some cases is your anger turned inward. Allow yourself to explore the reasons for your anger and to express the anger in a proactive manner.

Learning to respond in a healthy manner to emotional pain isn't easy. It's the first step you have to take if you are going to keep the anger you feel from becoming destructive. Our first response to being hurt or feeling powerless is to lash out. To attempt to get revenge and regain a sense of control. When that is your response, you're feeding your anger instead of exploring and attempting to understand it.

To lessen anger and fully understand what you are feeling, you need to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and hurt. Anger gives a false sense of empowerment, vulnerability causes feelings of helplessness.

Anger is an emotional fraud. It's there to trick you into not fully understanding what lies beneath the anger, a lot of hurt and vulnerability. Anger hardens your heart and, if fed, keeps you from ever getting in touch with what you are truly feeling.

There is no shame in admitting you are hurt and feeling out of control.

And, doing so softens your heart, leads to being in touch with your feelings and staying open to new relationships and a healthier life after divorce. Choosing pain over anger is hell in the short-term but, healthy in the long-term.

Don’t Fear Your Anger
Women especially may have been brought up to think that they should be “nice and agreeable” and not get angry. Everyone gets angry, and it is a healthy emotion, not something to be feared. Journal or talk to a friend to vent your angry feelings, so you can work through them.

Feared anger leads to stuffed anger which leads to you one day blowing like Mount Vesuvius and leaving a path of destruction in your wake.\Get in touch with the feelings causing the anger and explore appropriate ways to express the anger you feel.

Don’t Worry About Losing Control of Your Anger
One fear many people have is, if they let their anger out they won’t be able to control the rage that may be inside them. This is usually a fear with no basis in fact. Find a safe place to vent your anger.
Punch a pillow, scream, or do whatever makes you feel the release you need without harming anyone. And, that is the key, stop fearing your anger, express it in a way that leads you to a reduction in the anger you feel without it causing or exacerbating conflict and harm.

Don’t Worry About What Other People Think
If you feel anger, you have a right to your feelings. Individuals may think that it’s acceptable to express grief or sadness, but anger may bring on feelings of embarrassment or shame because it is generally frowned upon.

Anger can be an early warning system that something is wrong. Is someone mistreating you? Is someone trying to take advantage of you? Use your anger to build healthy boundaries and distance yourself from those attempting to do you harm.

Get Regular Exercise
If you are having a hard time processing the reasons for your anger, it may be resulting from your overall situation and the frustration you feel from dealing with stress. Taking a walk, doing aerobics or finding stress-relieving yoga poses, or even kickboxing can make a person dealing with anger feel much relief.

According to, "exercise acts like a drug, protecting against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack." So, instead of working out to burn calories, work out to burn off those feelings of anger.

Do an exercise that you know is safe for you, and give it your all. Check with your physician if you have any questions about whether or not exercise is appropriate for you.

Nothing contributes more to divorce turning into all-out war than anger. Get it under check, explore what it is trying to tell you, and when needed us your anger appropriately to protect yourself during the divorce process.