You can control how angry and hurt you remain after your divorce. Using principles of forgiveness will help you control divorce emotions and move on.
Almost every divorce involves a situation where somebody did someone wrong. Or… at the very least, someone feels like someone did somebody wrong. Sometimes I feel like I am living the B.J. Thomas song, “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song”.
The reality is that divorce sucks. It hurts a lot in fact. As a California divorce mediator, I used to hide behind the excuse that California is a no-fault state and what happened to lead to the divorce is legally irrelevant. But the no-fault concept misses the point that divorce is more than just a legal process; it’s a human experience.
Divorce Causes Real Pain: The Need to Control Divorce Emotions
The parties to a divorce are real people with real pain. Often a case just won’t settle until the parties can process their divorce emotions, hurt, and pain.
I don’t mean to minimize the pain of divorce emotions because I know it is very real. However, one can find that place where a person can let go of the anger and hurt in order to move on.
Don’t Be a Monkey
Perhaps you have heard of the fable of the monkey trap. Apparently, you can take a jar with an opening large enough to fit a monkey hand and fill the jar with cookies. The monkey then comes along, inserts his hand through the opening to grab a cookie. However, because his fist with the cookie is now larger than the opening to the jar, the monkey can’t remove his fist and is trapped. Rather than rationally letting go of the cookie, the monkey will remain trapped indefinitely.
There is at least some truth to the story as shown by this video about a hunter capturing a baboon with a similar strategy:
Similar to the monkey who won’t let go, we tend to hold onto our grudges. By holding onto our hurt and anger with a clenched fist, we can become trapped until we figure out to let go. Similar to the monkey, it’s hard to escape a divorce situation without learning to also release the clenched fist. A person might finish her divorce, but will still carry the pain into the post-divorce life and even into the next relationship.
Forgiveness during divorce is an important way to release anger.
Buddha said, “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.” Anger and the search for revenge rarely help anything. They certainly don’t bring peace.
If you find yourself consumed with anger when you think of your ex, consider letting go. Make a conscious decision to forgive the other person. Notice that I am not suggesting that you allow anyone to cause you harm again. I simply suggest that forgiving and letting go of the anger will help to control divorce emotions. It will go a long way to finding peace.
Remember, forgiveness during divorce is an exercise that only the injured person can control. It does not require the wrongdoer to pay for what he did to you or to apologize. The other person does not even need to be sorry. Your forgiving and letting go is entirely up to you. It’s not easy, but it is completely within your control.
If you find forgiveness during divorce difficult to achieve and find that it gets in the way of moving on, consider discussing the issue with clergy or a mental health professional. Until you can control divorce emotions and let go of the anger, you, like the monkey, will be stuck.
If you think forgiveness during a divorce is too hard, you are wrong. It is reachable. There are tons of examples in the world of people who forgave the unspeakable and made their lives better. See the examples below: