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No situation, past or present, changes just because we have pointed the finger at someone else. - Karen Casey

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Holding anger in may hurt rather than help the mediation process.

Anger Management & Divorce Mediation

We all get angry at some point. In general, it’s healthy to express one’s anger in appropriate ways. Holding it in often leads to physical ailments and depression. The positive aspects of anger are that it can enable us to realize and address a problem, rectify a hurt, or take some other action. However, excessive anger and inappropriate actions from it are problematic to you personally and to those around you. We know from medical studies that excessive anger can lead to high blood pressure and increased heart rate. When triggered often, anger increases the release of stress hormones that are harmful to us. Internalizing anger can also lead to the additional ailments of depression and high anxiety.

During a divorce, there is likely to be a great deal of hurt and arguing between you and your spouse. Anger is a frequent experience. When someone is emotionally wounded, they often lash out at the person who they perceive committed a wrong against them. When in an angered state our raw emotions are so near the surface that we may yell at those close to us, while not addressing the cause of our anger. It is important to manage your anger for your own well being, as well as for the well being of your children. Think about how scary it is to witness somebody whose anger leads them to become out of control. Some individuals seem to explode by screaming, cursing, breaking objects and by becoming violent. Imagine how a child feels when he or she witnesses a parent whose anger is excessive and destructive. The child views the parent as a caregiver, and a role model. A child witnessing a parent’s angry outburst is terribly frightening to the child and can cause him or her to have long term damage to their emotional health.

You are responsible for your actions. Anger management therapists teach that no one can make you angry, rather you allow yourself to become angry because of someone else’s actions, inactions or a specific situation. Anger is an emotional response that you can learn to control. Here are some tips on how to manage your anger as you progress through the process of divorce. First, try to understand those issues that trigger your hot buttons, especially those that your partner seems to always push. Second, try to understand how you may tend to respond when your buttons are pushed. Have you noticed certain patterns that you and your partner often repeat? Realization of those patterns is the key to changing them. Third, allow yourself a few moments before responding to someone. We all heard of the saying, to count to ten before responding. The additional moments allow you to focus your thoughts and how you want to respond. Remember, anger tends to bring more anger to the situation.

You may also try and address the feeling of anger on a physical level, as well as, an emotional level. For instance, to address the hurtful physiological aspects of anger, utilize meditation, deep breathing, yoga classes and exercise. These activities can be extremely beneficial in helping you stay calm and focused during stressful periods. To address the emotional aspects of anger, write your feelings down in a journal so that they are expressed and not stifled or misdirected at someone you care about. If you’re really mad at your soon to be ex-spouse, write a letter to him or her. However, you don’t have to mail it. Often just writing your feelings on paper can provide significant relief and even some insight. 

Finally, if you feel that your anger is causing you to lose control of yourself, the assistance of a licensed therapist trained in anger management can help you change your behavior. Therapy can help you learn how to better manage and process your feelings. In addition, therapy can provide you with deeper understanding about the underlying causes that make you so angry. There are also support groups available in most communities to help people cope with the anger and the hurt that divorce inflicts. Be good to and take care of yourself during this stressful time in your life.

 
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