Who hasn't gone through a breakup and felt angry, marginalized or powerless? These are just a few emotions we feel when facing divorce. Divorce can often act as a catalyst for regaining lost power, but difficult and confusing emotions complicate the process. As conscious as we want to consider ourselves, it is actually quite common to fall into the trap of trying to regain our power through manipulation and control. You need to know where you stand for yourself, in order to wield your anger in constructive and empowering ways.
One of the most helpful ways to do this is to learn to differentiate between the feelings of resentment and anger. When your anger is a result of resentment, you often feel unsettled inside, but when your anger is the result of taking a stand, then you will experience a sense of calmness — even if you don't get what you want! Here are some ways to recognize the difference:
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Resentment is the result of not taking care of yourself and expecting others to give you what you want — even though you haven't directly asked for it. Feelings of resentment are common in a breakup because they build over time. In the beginning, you might have an expectation that your partner should say or do something, and when they don't live up to your expectation you feel let down or angry. Burying the little feeling is like planting a seed that eventually turns into a garden of resentment. Over time, you will discover little plants of resentment cropping up where you least expect them.
When you feel resentment, you will have the experience of wanting to get back at your partner (or ex), to hurt them in some way, or "make them pay" for what they've done (or not done). Once you've made it to the point of divorce, it's much more difficult to pull the weeds of resentment, but it's possible! I'm not here to say it's an easy task, but I guarantee you that the work you do around releasing your resentment will help you regain your power and leave you with the peace of mind you so desperately want.
Righteous anger is different than the anger that spews from resentment because you're putting your stake in the ground and letting others know what your boundaries are. The best way to express righteous anger is to know yourself deeply and be confident in your limits, so you recognize when a boundary has been crossed. Regaining your power after divorce or breakup is sacred work, and in the process you will discover that many of the choices you made did not serve you. In this way you can stop blaming your ex and start looking out for yourself.
You're not always going to get what you want. You may have to fight for your rights, but as you begin to stand up for yourself you will be able to release your resentments gradually and naturally.
Remember that when dealing with divorce or a break up, it isn't about who's right and who's wrong. We tend to look at things from our own perspectives, so don't get caught up in believing that your righteous anger is about you being right and your partner being wrong. There is no "right and wrong" thinking that will bring you peace — EVER! By knowing and being comfortable with who you are, you can make decisions that are the right decisions for you, and you may take other advice into consideration at your own discretion. What you must know is the difference between actions borne out of resentment and those from righteous anger so you don't make a mess of things.
Here are some suggestions:
As you move on after divorce or breakup, it is important to own your feelings! Know yourself, feel the pain you're in and take responsibility for your part of the co-creation of your current circumstances. Don't blame anyone else for not getting what you want. Instead envision the life you want and make choices that lead you toward peace and happiness. Set and maintain clear boundaries with yourself and others, and above all else, take care of yourself!
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- What are your top resentments are and your struggles for releasing them as you move on after divorce or breakup?
- Describe what you're doing to hold on to or let go of your resentments.
- What stand do you need to take?
- How will you commit to taking really good care of yourself this week?
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