Divorce and Revenge – What to Do?


“I still have feelings of anger and revenge towards my ex, and we separated over a year ago now. I feel stuck and let his decision to end our marriage cloud my perspective. How do I let go of this?”


You are definitely not alone in holding a lasting grudge and feeling those angers and resentments towards your ex-partner. It’s a fairly common situation and most of us go through that as a phase. However, how long do you want to have this phase last? I’m reminded of a great quote… by Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Find constructive ways to channel and express your anger. Writing anger letters, working out physically, or processing those emotions with a divorce coach or therapist may be very helpful. Is there a passion or cause that you could champion and allow to be the beneficiary of that fiery energy and passion?

Ultimately the best revenge is a life well lived. By continuing to nurse a grudge and let it run your life, you’re the one creating your own suffering and self-abuse, not your ex. What do you get out of holding on to it? Do you get sympathy from others, or a great excuse to not express and create your highest potential? Who would you be if you could let it go and redirect the enormous amount of energy that’s being consumed in your feelings of revenge. What are some of the valuable life lessons you received from your relationship that will forever change your life in a positive way? Can you feel gratitude for that?

Take it one step at a time, and just know that by even becoming aware of all the ways these sticky feelings consume you now you are starting the process of letting them go.

Have a question about divorce you’d like to see answered? Submit yours to Thrive after Divorce by sending an email to askthrive@ThriveAfterDivorce.com.

4 thoughts on “Divorce and Revenge – What to Do?

  1. My 17 year abusive marriage was deteriorating. We had four children and the arguments and fights continued. I asked my ex to leave and I would file for divorce. He threatened to go after my retirement the children and the house if I divorced him. I divorced/he signed on to my retirement after taking back child support refusing to see his children. He remarried 2 weeks after the divorce was finalized. I live in a community prop state and he was in a new job at the timeand had not built up any retirement. This was a little over ten years ago. I am in the process of retiring and reliving the nightmare of a marriage + he and his new wife (a new citizen) living off of my 35 years of work. My children are fine adults now. Two in college and two finished college. One is new practicing attorney. As for me I will make it through this. I have gone through the anger, revenge, crying stages. I have no desire to look back. I just want to move on. My daughter mentions him to me and I can’t stand it! My point is that my ex was and is a mental abuser and with the retirement issue the abuse continues. Courts don’t understand that.

  2. Anger is the first stage of grief I believe… and one that each of us has to cope through to get through these situations. The use of “anger letters”, and expressing your thoughts and feelings openly to your ex can do wonders… it did for me. This allowed me not to own these ideations… these were feelings that my wife created as I caught her being inappropriate… she owns them… not me. She is now having coping issues directly related to these… and in my book that’s were they belong. It hasn’t been a year yet, and I let go of those horrific thoughts and feelings some 9 months ago. So… let it all out… we have a right to express our deepest seated “feelings” (these are not threats)… get professional guidance… and be patient with the recovery period… no matter how hopeless you might feel. I was on that edge myself for some 2 months or so… very scary, very sad… but I’m not allowing myself to own it.

  3. Thank you all for stopping by the blog and adding your perspectives. Sean, I could really hear your power when you wrote “I’m not allowing myself to own it.” That is what it’s all about – to harness some of that anger energy and direct it towards those thoughts and fears that want to drag you back down into the victim place. Use your anger in ways that are constructive and healthy for you that help you move forward. Bravo!

  4. yes two years on after a 26yr marriage aged 60, its harder for us older ones it ages you you skip middle age and the comfort of intimacy and there is nothing to move on to but old age.the anger revenge feelings are still there you flip from anger to yearning for them hour after hour, follow all the ‘advice’ of how to let go – but it doesn’t work life becomes an endless existence however busy you keep there is always somethingto remind you every hour of the day