How to Handle Anger During a Breakup

Dr. Purushothaman
September 23, 2013

Anger - it's a dirty word, isn't it? After all, if you've got too much, you may have to participate in "Anger Management." Being described as "angry" implies something deep, dark and heavy going on inside. When it's used to describe someone, it's NOT a compliment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness." So…if you're feeling "angry" about a breakup, what do you do with those feelings? Do you take your anger out on others? Do you take it out on yourself? Where does it go? You may think you have it licked, but I can tell you that until you acknowledge it ~ it's not going anywhere. Also, when you're dealing with a breakup, there's typically not an opportunity to express it. The relationship is over. There's no reason to communicate further ~ so what do you do with these feelings?

I remember being angry with my ex-husband ~ especially when I discovered he'd had multiple affairs. However, I was a NICE girl. You see, nice girls don't get mad. Nice girls bury their anger deep inside. Sound familiar?

One day, during a period of separation because of one of his infidelities, I was dusting the house. I came across a collection of CDs that contained romantic music. He had purchased all of these. I realized that they were for him and someone else ~ not me. I was alone in the house and felt a flash of anger go through me as I pondered what he did as he listened to the music. I felt incredible hurt. But I also felt something else stir…I was MAD! I mean M-A-D -- MAD! I gathered all the CDs and threw them in the trash. That didn't help, though. I took them back out of the trash and went into the garage. I found a hammer and pounded every last CD and its case to smithereens. In the aftermath, I sat down and cried. I felt a wave of relief hit me. I wasn't exactly proud of what I had done to the innocent CDs that were now splayed across the garage floor in a thousand pieces. However, I hadn't hurt anyone else or myself. I had just released some of the anger and pain that I was experiencing. I cleaned up the garage and went about my day ~ feeling a bit lighter.

I share this story with you in order to illustrate that anger is a part of a breakup. It's natural. It's what you do with it that matters. Here are a few tips for allowing your anger while honoring YOU:

1. Understand why you are angry. Sometimes, when you get to the bottom of it, you realize that it's something different than you expected. If you allow it to be and don't try to stuff it, you can get to that place of understanding. Some questions to think about are: What's at the center of this feeling? What does it stem from? Does it have anything to do with me? Am I perhaps angry at myself for allowing myself to be in the situation? Let your anger just exist and be curious about it.

2. Try to put it in the proper perspective. Is your relationship over? Yes. Does it do you any good to walk around with a rage seething inside you? No. How does it feel? Ishy, huh? (Yes, that's a very technical way of describing an emotion, I know.) Once you realize that carrying anger really only hurts you, it's a good push in the right direction.

3. Exercise (and exorcise) the anger demon. Pent-up rage is really a bummer to your physical well-being. I could go on and on about how bad it is for you. If you're sensing the anger demon is getting the best of you, get out into the fresh air and do something to release it ~ go for a walk, run or whatever makes you feel good physically. When you're done, take some time to notice how much better you feel and to be calm and relaxed. Give yourself a verbal affirmation for taking care of you.

4. Let it go. I know what you're thinking? "But if I let it go, he gets away with it." Yes. Sometimes, anger goes unexpressed. It's a fact of life and a fact of most breakups. However, my Dear, angers uses up a bunch of your precious energy. Why not spend that energy doing something fun? How about loving YOURSELF with that energy? Hmmmm. I think we're on to something here.

My wish for you is that you free yourself from the anger trap. It's not the boss of you. You can allow it, release it and get on with your fabulous life!

Shine On, Gorgeous!

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