Anger and Betrayal in Divorce

Question:

“Three years down the road, why am I still soooo angry at the betrayal of my husband?”

Answer:

Thank you so much for your honesty in asking this question and, if I may, I’ll give you a blunt answer. You’re still angry because you are getting something out of holding on to your anger. There is some kind of emotional pay-off you receive and that’s why you are choosing to stay angry. I’d like to acknowledge you for asking this question though! It shows me that you are becoming aware that this anger is holding you back. Awareness is the first critical ingredient in transforming any situation, so you… have that working for you! Staying stuck in anger, three years after the betrayal, is costing you happiness and the possibility of truly moving forward after your divorce.

Let’s first look at what pay-off you get for holding that angry grudge. Do you get to be right? Do you get to blame your ex-husband for turning your life upside-down and excuse yourself from creating the life you truly want? Perhaps it’s a way that you receive sympathy and attention from others, which could feel like a form of the love and caring. Your husband may have betrayed you three years ago, but by holding onto your anger you put yourself in the position of the back-seat driver. Your memory and thoughts about him are in the driver’s seat, determining the direction of your life.

What would happen if you decided to take full responsibility for your life and climb into the driver’s seat instead? Would you be able to live on your own terms, instead of in reaction to the past? Would you be more available to invite new love and possibility into your life, instead of bringing the baggage of your past relationship into a future one? How about having more happiness, emotional freedom and fun in your life?

Realize that at this point remaining angry is a choice you are making, likely at an unconscious level. You can decide to let it go. As a divorce coach, I work with clients to find acceptance, peace and inspiring possibilities for their future after divorce. Your husband may have betrayed you in the past, but holding on to your anger will deny your the happiness and love you deserve. Ultimately, that would be a betrayal of yourself.

5 thoughts on “Anger and Betrayal in Divorce

  1. As an anger management coach and conflict resolution trainer, I find the article to be very informative and helpful to the reader. There are secondary gains from holding onto anger. Divorce anger can can cause long term negative consequences to all involved, including children.

  2. Thanks for the great comment, Sonia! Definitely choosing to hold on to anger is something that ultimately undermines one’s relationships and emotional health. Too often the kids are the ones who pay the price for it, and end up picking it up as a habit themselves. Glad to hear you’re out there helping others to break the cycle!
    Best wishes,
    Carolyn

  3. As I sit here and read all I can do is cry. Anger is just a part of the betrayal. My husband had an affair and I took him back. 10 years later we are separated and has gone back to the same woman. It hurts as if we were still married. I just don’t know how to let go of the anger…because it still hurts so much. I have filed for a divorce but after a year and a half nothing is resolved.

  4. Thank you for sharing your pain here, Lulu — and yes, it is not easy. If it’s been a year and a half, it sounds like your anger has moved right in, stuck its feet up on your coffee table and isn’t interested in budging out of your consciousness. Review the THRIVE Principles again, print them out and make checking in with them when you notice you get stuck in the pain a habit. I suspect there’s a heap of wisdom here for you to harvest from your divorce that hasn’t yet been discovered, and that’s part of why the anger is still so present for you. Grab a copy of Debbie Ford’s “Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life” — it’s an excellent resource. I’d encourage you to get some specialized support like working with a divorce coach or therapist. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in my services as a divorce coach. Best wishes to you! Carolyn

  5. 15 years and as many disclosures on sex addict behaviors. Always supportive, understanding and compassionate til now when he isn’t sure he loves me. Anger is horrible. I feel trauma when he’s away and anger with him. Is this normal and acceptable?