If you are recently divorced and over 50, there is probably an all-too-common emotion that you’re experiencing.
Anger. Being ticked off. The persistent rage that will not leave you, especially if you were married for decades and now your life is disrupted.
But there is something that you must remember – anger is a thief!
Don’t let anger rob you of your chance to move on, especially at 50 or 60. You work hard to maintain the things you love. Think about it.
You probably keep your house or apartment nice and cozy, and you probably have homeowner’s insurance to protect it in case something happens to it.
Your beloved heirlooms and the mementos you treasure are probably tucked away with the greatest of love and care.
You wouldn’t leave your door unlocked and invite a thief in to destroy those things in your home that you love, would you?
Heck no! Those things are yours. You worked your tail off to safeguard the things that give you joy and comfort.
So, why on earth are you leaving the door to your life, and the door to your happiness, open – inviting anger in on a daily basis? Just as a thief will break into your home, wreck it, and take away everything that is dear to you, so will anger.
It’s time to lock the door and install one of those fantastic home security systems. It is time to protect one of the most precious things that anger will rob you of: your happiness and chance to heal, especially as you enter your 50s and 60s and move beyond.
When you are ticked off at something, your body is all too happy to let you know it. Your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate increase because your adrenal glands are being set into “fight or flight” mode. This mode doesn’t change as you enter your 50s, either.
This physiological reaction may have served Neanderthals when it was time to fight off whatever prehistoric beast threatened their survival, but the same anger disrupts your calm today. Why let it control you like that?
The fact that your ex didn’t treat you right, the fact that the marriage is ending or has ended, and the fact that the ex and their lawyers may still be doing stupid stuff is just that. They are only facts, but they are not indicators of how you are obligated to react to them.
Do you remember the delightful Pirates of the Caribbean movies with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow? He put it quite simply:
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
“Your attitude about the problem” is your anger. The stupid stuff that you are reacting to doesn’t have to disrupt your peace of mind.
How you choose to react to the problem – in this case, how you choose to react to the facts (the events that are making you angry) – is what makes the difference between navigating this process with less drama and stress for yourself, and letting all the madness drag you down and leave you exhausted.
You’re better than getting pissed off at something that you cannot control in the first place. It’s time to focus on the things you actually can control.
And the first step to leaving the anger behind you? It’s simple.
Some years ago, I was sweating my butt off in a hot yoga class, frustrated that I could not get into a backbend because my arthritis decided it didn’t want to play nice.
Additionally, my stomach was churning because of the third argument I had had with my boss that week, and my heart was sinking because a man whom I had been seeing and whom I really liked had called the night before to break up with me. I was a knot of rage that afternoon in the yoga class.
“If it does not serve you, then let it go.”
Although the yoga teacher probably meant it for the students to be kind and patient with themselves, reassuring them the back bend would happen when the body was ready for it, those words stuck. And I remember bursting into tears.
It had nothing to do with being upset about not being flexible enough during that moment in time.
It had to do with not letting the fact we were inflexible cloud our ability to just be and move on.
It was about understanding that if a negative emotion was not going to improve our lives, then we needed to show it the door. We cannot allow anger to hold us hostage.
The next time you start to feel angry about divorce memories, do the following:
What struggles do you experience when it comes to dealing with divorce anger? What steps have you taken to kick it to the curb? Which of them have helped you most? Please share with our community of women!
Tags Divorce After 60