Turning Anger and Resentment into Peace and Excitement

anger resentment

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Amidst the fear, anger, resentment, anxiety and sadness of divorce, there’s something good. Know what that is? Excitement. The excitement lies not in the past chapters of your life that have already happened, but in the ones to come. And I think that no matter how much pain you are in during and after divorce, it’s comforting to know that you have chapters ahead of you that have the potential to be the best times of your life. But how do you get from anger, resentment and all those other emotions to excitement?


People going through a divorce tend to be past and present focused for a few reasons. First, divorce is traumatic. It’s surreal and confusing, and you can’t think beyond right now because so much is happening every day and all at once. Also, regrets start to set in and you start to think about all the things you wish you would have done in the past to change what’s happening now. People even think, ‘I wish I wouldn’t have married this guy.’ Holding onto regret is very unproductive, by the way, but people do it. I know I did and still catch myself sometimes.


The main reason people getting divorced don’t want to think about the future is because it’s extremely stressful, and a lot of times, there are two awful words in your thoughts: What if? Some examples: What if I’m alone forever? What if I can’t pay my mortgage? What if my kids are messed up because of the divorce? What if? We think of worst case scenarios.


Hirsch Serman, Financial Divorce Coaching


But what would happen if you decided to think about your future story chapters as excitement instead? What if you used the words, “What if” like this:  What if I end up meeting the love of my life in a couple years? What if I realize even more how toxic my marriage was and how much better of a place I’m in now? What if I end up loving my new job (that I don’t have yet)? What if I’m really really happy?


The idea for this article comes from the past couple weeks where two very close people to me have passed away. It got me thinking that we all have a life story and we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what the future holds, so why think negatively if you can shift your mindset to thinking positively? You have the power to turn your fear, anxiety, anger, resentment and lack of self-confidence into hope and gratitude and self-love.


What these deaths got me thinking is, the only part of your story that you know, 100% guaranteed, is that you will die. Now, I know that sounds really morbid and negative, but I don’t mean it that way. What if you die in your sleep at 92? That’s not morbid and negative, is it?

So, if you are reading this and you are getting divorced and you are 55, you get to write your story from today until age 92! (hopefully.) That’s 37 more years you have to do whatever you want, to do good in the world, to raise and be with your kids, to pursue any dream you have, to do fun, exciting things, to travel, and to spend time with people you love and care about.


Colleen Breems, Divorce Attorney, Beermann, LLP


Let’s talk about the people you are at odds with—specifically your ex, or your ex-in-laws, or his or her friends, or a friend you had a falling out with, anyone who you feel wronged you or who hurt you. Let’s talk about these people. We all know the end of their stories, too. They will die at some point.


So, my friend who recently passed was married to her husband for 32 years. At the funeral, the guy’s adult son was telling people—including the couples’ friends, that the guy left his mother for this woman (the one who died) 32 years ago. It was very upsetting to me for many reasons. First, the woman who died is not here to tell her side of the story, and now, all her friends (that she met in her later years) will be gossiping about her.  Secondly, instead of focusing on his father, who is devastated by his wife’s death, the son is focused on his own pain that he obviously has not come to terms with.


The point of this story is not to depress you, or to tell you to be kind and forgive people who wronged you or who treat you badly or with no respect because they are going to die someday. You have every right to feel the way you do about someone, to verbalize it, and to decide not to have a relationship or even speak to the person.


I just want you to keep in mind two things: One, once the person dies, you will never ever ever ever be able to make amends or tell that person how you feel. So, even if your ex (or someone else you are at odds with) is healthy as a horse and relatively young, you might want to clear the air. Also, clearing the air, making amends or forgiving someone will help you make your story better.



I’m not sure the son ever told this woman who died how he felt, but I’m guessing he has harbored his negative feelings his whole life and is carrying them around, unable to put them down. Well, it’s too late now. He could have let his heavy baggage down so much had he talked with her, told her about his feelings of anger and resentment. Knowing this woman like I do, I think she would have apologized, and that might really have helped this guy come to terms with it. Plus, we don’t know what this guy’s mother told him. Maybe she told him a different story than what really happened. In other words, he never heard this woman’s side of the story and now that she is gone, he never will.


I think there are good parts and bad parts of every person on earth, and someone who is emotionally healthy is able to appreciate the good parts and recognize that people aren’t perfect, and that they do the best they can. Believe me, I’m not judging. I get so angry at people and I am passionate about expressing that anger. It’s not easy to overlook things or to let go of feelings of anger and resentment.

I’m also not saying you have to accept someone’s bad qualities and deal with it. You can choose not to have a relationship with that person and not to speak to them, but just know, if your anger and resentment is still hanging on, expressing it that person might be a good way to find peace and acceptance. In other words, it benefits YOU to talk to your enemies-even if it’s one time.

You can talk to your therapist or your friends about your ex (or someone you are at odds with) till you’re blue in the face  and it might help you let go of your negative feelings to some degree. But if you are willing to put your vulnerability out there and take a chance, no matter how hard and uncomfortable it is, there’s nothing that feels more cleansing than to have those feelings on the table—directly expressing to the other person how you feel. And the sooner you do it, the sooner your story will begin to change.

If you choose to talk with someone, you might be so glad you did, and it might change your relationship completely with that person. Or, you might not get the result you wanted. But even if that’s the case, you will always know you put it out there. You tried. Now you can begin to heal.


Intentional Divorce Solutions - Leah Hadley


Remember, we all know how all of our stories will end. Death is part of life. But the part of your life story that matters most is what happens in those chapters that begin today. Try to think of them as excitement-not fear. They are exciting because you have the power to make them anything you want.

People getting divorced, especially at an older age often say to me, “I’m so old. Who’s going to want me? What am I supposed to do now?” A divorce coach can help you answer those questions. But, those questions can also be answered by listening to your heart and your gut and your soul because they know you best. They know you have the power to overcome your fear, and your anger and resentment, and they know what will make your life meaningful, peaceful and of course, exciting.

Like this article? Check out “The Divorced Girl Smiling Playlist: 25 of the Best Divorce Songs to Inspire You and Bring You Happiness”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

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