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Managing Anger After a Breakup

Objective

To manage your anger following the end of a romantic relationship.

What to Know

Going through a divorce or breakup is never easy, and one of the emotions you might be experiencing is anger. Anger is a normal emotion, but perhaps it is more intense for you, and it has started to impact your daily life.

If you continue to feel intense anger, it might increase stress, leaving you drained and exhausted. What can you do?

Suppressing or denying your anger is not a good idea and exploring your feelings with a counselor or coach can be helpful. In addition to this type of support, you can also identify ways to minimize the anger you feel toward your ex.

Here are eleven tips to manage your anger following a breakup.

1. Awareness. Start by acknowledging how you feel. If you are denying how you feel, you cannot change it. It is important, to be honest with yourself.

Awareness helps you own your feelings and let them go. In addition, be honest with yourself if you are avoiding your anger. Are you turning to alcohol, overeating, or drugs?

Are you overworking, shopping, or overexercising to avoid how you feel? Perhaps you are angry with yourself, or maybe you are judging how you feel.

What might happen if you accept you are angry and show yourself some compassion?

2. Acknowledge and accept your anger. This can be as simple as stating out loud that you are angry and why, or you might write about your feelings in a journal. You can write a letter to your ex that you do not send.

3. Forgive your ex. If you continue to dwell on your anger, it will be difficult for you to move forward. Instead, forgive your ex – for your own wellbeing.

4. Identify and avoid your triggers. Make a list of everything that sets off your anger and identify ways you can avoid those triggers. For example, if you get angry when you see your ex’s social media posts, unfollow or block them.

5. Practice self-care. This includes practicing good hygiene habits, getting enough rest, and eating nutritious food. Allow yourself time to rest, reflect, get angry, cry, and grieve the loss of the relationship.

6. Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Getting regular exercise can help you release anger and improve your mood.

You might even try a form of exercise that helps you release aggression, like kickboxing, hitting baseballs, or learning karate. Conversely, you can walk in nature to calm down.

7. Use relaxation techniques. Set aside at least 15 minutes every day to meditate, practice yoga, breathe deeply, take a bubble bath, listen to calming music, or engage in other relaxing and soothing activities.

8. Ask questions to stop cognitive distortions. When you mindfully listen to your thoughts, you might be surprised to find that sometimes your own thoughts trigger your anger – rather than anything your ex did in the past.

Sometimes your anger is an interpretation of what you think happened.

9.If you get stuck in negative or unhelpful thought loops, ask yourself questions about the thoughts. Are they true? What evidence do you have to support or refute them? What are more realistic thoughts you can replace them with?

Talk about your feelings. Choose someone who you trust like a good friend, family member, relationship coach, or therapist.

A supportive person will listen carefully to what you have to say, and will not share your comments with your ex.

10. Use “I” statements if you talk to your ex. If you must talk to your ex (such as if you have children together), practice using “I” statements, which place the focus on what you are feeling.“I” statements prevent you from making accusations and putting your ex on the defensive.

11. Join a support group or online forum. You can talk with others who have experienced a breakup and learn how they deal with anger.

It’s not emotionally healthy to do life alone.