Revenge Can Hurt You

Family med 2nd imageBitterness, resentment, anger… all normal responses when going through a divorce, particularly if it feels like the other person is the one who is ending the marriage. Sometimes it feels good to rage and blame and punish the other person for their transgressions. Sometimes it feels impossible to separate from these strong emotions. Yet, you haven’t always felt this way. That means you have the capacity within you to access other feelings.

In order to effectively work through the pain you are in now, you will need to find ways to manage these strong emotions. Why? It’s ironic but true, revenge will hurt you more than your negative emotions will hurt your spouse. Here’s how:

*Health issues: Head aches, insomnia, digestive problems, heart disease, and cancer are all tied to prolonged stress;

*Legal expenses: The inability to manage conflict and reach agreements can lead to prolonged legal negotiations and litigation which can costs tens of thousands of dollars;

*Distressed children: Prolonged exposure to parental conflict is the strongest predictor of children experiencing long-term difficulties. Equally damaging for children is feeling forced to choose sides, feeling like they have to edit what they say about one parent in front of the other, and feeling like they have to “parent” a mother or father who can’t care for them or themselves emotionally.

Divorce is second only to death of a spouse (some argue more) as the most stressful life event. It is important to get the support you need to work through the grief of losing your marriage. Ask your mediator for a referral to a therapist to work with one-on-one. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, but avoid those who fuel negative feelings. Reach out to a spiritual advisor or join a support group. Above all else, be gentle with yourself. Remember you have the capacity to access other feelings and with time and healing you will regain that capacity.

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