Frustration During Divorce: 20 Things You Can Do When You Feel Like You’re Going Bonkers!

frustration during divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Of all the emotions a person can feel while going through a divorce–fear, sadness, guilt, self-pity, anger, and resentment, one of the worst ones might be frustration. Frustration during divorce is very hard to cope with. Why?


Because frustration stems from situations in which you have no control. Frustration happens when you feel like you are following all the rules and your ex isn’t. Frustration happens when you keep trying different things to make peace and nothing is working. Frustration happens when you weigh all your options to solving a problem and none of them seem like good ones. And, frustration happens when you feel like you are working really really hard with the best intentions, and nothing you are doing is paying off. More specifically, frustration during divorce can stem from:

1. The process taking longer than you want.

2. Large legal fees when you feel like nothing is getting accomplished.

3. Your ex being unreasonable, inflexible and irrational.

4. Your ex being bitter and angry and unwilling to communicate with you.


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Frustration during divorce can make a person really, really angry. Infuriated. Mad. Bonkers! So, if you are feeling this way, what are you supposed to do? Kick and scream? Punch a wall? Cry? Get drunk? Throw something? Call your attorney?


Obviously, these are all really bad options in dealing with frustration during divorce. Once when I was really, really frustrated, I was so angry, I did something very impulsive. I put on some workout clothes and running shoes, and I ran out the door. I ran down the block as fast as I could. I ran and ran and ran. After about 15 minutes, I felt like I had a new understanding of Forrest Gump’s mentality. I could have run for days, weeks, months. I never wanted to stop. When I got home (about 45 minutes later) I felt incredibly better. The running didn’t solve my problem, but it helped me manage the frustration.


That was #1 of 20 things you can do when the frustration during divorce makes you feel like you are going bonkers!



2. Meditate/deep breathing.

Have you ever heard of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction? Look it up! There should be classes near you. It is designed to develop and integrate mindfulness practices into everyday life, using meditation, body awareness, and gentle movement. It will teach you tools to reduce stress and live with greater ease, strength and resilience. I am actually going to invest in it.

3. Volunteer.

There is nothing like helping others to make you feel better about yourself and about life.


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4. Call a girlfriend.

Meet her for a walk or coffee and promise yourself you aren’t going to talk about what is frustrating you. Instead, focus on your friend. Let her talk to you about her frustrations. Three things will happen. You will have helped her, you won’t feel as badly about your situation, and most importantly, you will have done something thoughtful and selfless.

5. Shop.

Sorry if you think I’m superficial, but I’ve never ever been in a bad mood after buying something I really want that makes me happy. You don’t have to go crazy. A new pair of sandals, a new bathing suit, even just a new cheap pair of earrings can change your mood. It’s not so much the buying as it is looking around and taking your mind off things you can’t control.

6. Work in your garden.

Feeling productive and creating beauty takes away frustration.

7. Write down specifically what is frustrating you.

Just start typing. Then read it. Then save it.  Don’t show it to anyone, but look at it next time you are frustrated. Writing helps people feel like they are being heard, it helps in feeling validated, and it helps prevent you from calling someone and venting (which is an OK option, too, but this works just as well!)

8. Go to a quiet place, make a cup of tea and read a book.

Just do it. It will take you away. It is such a better alternative then pouring yourself a glass of wine.

9. Go get a pedicure.

It will have the same affect as the tea and the book.

10. Don’t call anyone.

All you will do is express your frustration. Spare them and spare yourself from talking about it more. Again, journaling is better. You will get the same effect.

11. Put on some music and just start dancing.

I’m being completely serious.

12. Do laundry and/or change sheets.

Again, feeling productive will help you feel more in control.

13. Do 25 jumping jacks…

25 sit ups, 25 push ups, and plank for 25 seconds. Do that 4 times.


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14. Do Sudoku or a crossword puzzle.

It is exercise for your mind. It will challenge you and shift your focus.

15. Work on some kind of craft or project.

Nothing can make you feel productive like making progress on a project. Whether it’s a painting, a novel, knitting a sweater, or a scrapbook, working on it will calm you.

16. Cook or bake.

This will relax you, and you will end up with yummy food for your kids! My favorite is a banana bread with dried cherries. Leave out the sugar and add 2/3 cup of Greek yogurt. So yummy!

17. Put on a sporting event.

The other day, I was watching the French Open and it not only occupied my thoughts, but it was so exciting and enjoyable! and inspirational!!

18. Clean out a closet.

Getting rid of junk and things you don’t need is really cleansing and therapeutic.

19. Take a bubble bath.

20. Recite the serenity prayer. 

This will take you 30 seconds. Trust me, it helps.


I’m not claiming that these 20 things are the answers to your problems. Doing these things won’t make the problems go away. However, they will help you manage the stress and anxiety that comes with frustration. The good news is, the thing about frustration is, know that at some point it will end. The issues will get solved. It just takes time, and if you aren’t patient (like me) it’s really hard. In the meantime, “God, give me the grace to accept with serenity….” (that was #20.)

Like this article? Check out my article, Going Through a Divorce? One Word That Will Keep You Out of the Garbage Chute


Check out our video on frustration during divorce!



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

6 Responses to “Frustration During Divorce: 20 Things You Can Do When You Feel Like You’re Going Bonkers!”

  1. Baruch HaLevi

    Great article as always Jackie. Here are two things I counsel my clients to try.
    1. Write a letter to your ex-honest, raw, real, harsh, nasty, whatever they need to say. Write it. Get it out. Burn it. The process itself is as important as sending it.
    2. Write a letter to yourself – from your ex – the letter that you want, need, deserve, but will never come.
    In my experience doing these two things sets in motion physical, emotional and spiritual energies that begin to shift you, them and your world.
    Keep up the inspiring work you are doing!
    Your newest fan.

  2. Bev Walton

    Awesome points! Best part – these “feel good” tips need not cost a cent! Self-pampering – the tea, the bubble bath, the manicure, the pedicure, or simply putting on a smidgen of lipstick can boost the self-esteem in an instant. No point in letting yourself go to the dogs!

  3. anieStephanie

    This was something I needed to read. I am very frustrated and these emotions described me perfectly!! Thank you for this! I can’t wait to start putting some of these suggestions into practice!

  4. Frustrated Girl

    It was nice hearing you both talk about my feelings; I am not the only one! The best is not calling your lawyer to vent and wasting more money.


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