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Ep. 117 – Divorce Anger

A very common and expected emotion that shows up before, during and after divorce is Anger. In this episode Jeff and Doreen discuss how to except your anger as a normal emotion. Once you are aware of your anger and what to do with it to serve your goals and your future.


Jeff: Hello, everybody out there. Hope you’re having a great day. Today, we’re going to be talking about an emotion known as anger. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Doreen: Hey, Jeff.

Jeff: Hey, How are you Doreen?

Doreen: I’m doing okay.

Jeff: Good. Good. Well, what’s going on with you? Anything new?

Doreen: Lots.

Jeff: Lots.

Doreen: I don’t know about. So much new. I mean, there’s always new stuff, right?

Jeff: There’s new stuff.

Doreen: But we’re in the season of fall, and it’s kind of nice.

Jeff: What are some cool days out this week?

Doreen: I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the great things that come with this season. I know it’s a very stressful time for everyone, so let’s all regroup and take a deep breath.

Jeff: Exactly. You know, we don’t usually speak about, you know, politics or current affairs on the podcast. You know, as to our personal views on things. And we probably won’t. However, understanding what’s going on in the world today with, you know, the war, pre elections and the debates and everything going on with the government

Doreen: And the crime rate.

Jeff: That growing up. Just watch the news and you’ll see what’s going on. You know, and you throw a divorce on top of that. It’s no wonder people have shorter fuzes and are angrier than ever.

Doreen: I think that, you know, all you have to do is get in your car and drive around in most cities to appreciate that. There’s a lot of tension, you know, and I don’t want to breed into that, you know, because obviously our thoughts create our feelings, actions result.

So certainly we don’t want to live in that type of mentality of, you know, because if we breed, if we have a different mindset, we may be able to bring more peace and calmness into the world. Just as a side note, and I’m sorry to interrupt.

Jeff: No, no, it’s fine. And, you know, but it goes without saying that anger is an emotion that frequently shows up before, during and after the divorce.

Doreen: I think under the best of times, that anger is and one of those emotions. And we talk about seven of the emotions generally. We’ve discussed this in other episodes, but anger is one that’s most prevalent, obviously expected. So the first thing I want to emphasize is that if you’re going through a divorce or post-divorce and you’re dealing with the emotion of anger, this is an expected emotion.

There’s nothing wrong with the emotion and there’s nothing wrong with any emotion, especially negative emotions. It’s what you do with the emotion and how you understand the emotion and the thoughts surrounding the emotion that make all the difference. Because anger at times can fuel positive results in your your life. And I think we’re going to touch on that more today.

So let’s just start with what may be fueling anger stemming from your divorce. It could be that you’re angry at yourself, could be that you’re angry at your ex or your current spouse. If you’re still married. And the reasons that the anger showing up could be based on, let’s say, you know, abuse and your emotional abuse, physical abuse. As a side note, if that’s occurring, please seek immediate help. Could be based on just a breakdown in communication. Maybe you haven’t gotten along in a long time. Maybe it’s infidelity. It could be a number of reasons. Right. So the anger, we understand, stems from a thought in our mind that then creates the feeling of anger. And from that feeling is where we have the control to decide. Because the next step is, what are you going to do with the anger? Right? That’s called the action or the inaction and then the results you’re going to get. Right. So that’s basically understanding any emotion, especially negative emotions or good emotions. But right now, we’re concentrating on what most perceive as a negative emotion of anger. What do you do with it?

Right. How does it show up for you? And then are you even recognizing it or are you just like immediately reacting on it? That’s where the problem comes in. For most of us with all emotions in our life is that we don’t take this time, right, Jeff to stop to feel the emotion. Well, first, recognize the emotion, feel the emotion, and then decide on purpose what we’re going to do with that emotion so that we create the results we want in our life from it.

Because I like to use the example of a text message.

Jeff: Right, Right.

Doreen: And let’s talk about that.

Jeff: Okay? Let’s say you’re your ex, text you a nasty message and you can do a few things with it. You can fire off a nasty message in return and start a text war. And that probably is in something that you want to start because it doesn’t serve your future self.

Doreen: Right. Well, and let’s just if I can back up a minute, Right. I want to explain that and really hope that the concept of this resonates right? Is that the words in the text message, the example we’re using of themselves in and of themselves, those words mean nothing.

Jeff: They’re just words.

Doreen: They’re words in a text. It’s when you can you consume those words. And now you have a thought about the words on the text because here’s where the interesting part comes in and I’ll get a little bit, you know, philosophical at the moment is that two people can read the same words and react very different. And why is that?

Jeff: Well, it’s because it’s their interpretation, their thoughts of the words.

Doreen: Correct. And so the thought of the word may words may still be a negative thought. Right? Okay. But it’s what you do with it. And most people just don’t take the time to stop and think, you know, myself included. I mean, we are not just because we teach these skills and we practice, we try to practice what we preach, as they say, you know, we find ourselves getting caught in the emotions all the time.

I mean, I just had a business issue going on this morning and I fired off some email communications that were pretty strong and to the point with some people and you know, maybe I should have taken a little time to take a deep breath and to better to better think about how I wanted to respond. You know, that’s on me.

Jeff: Well, that’s what they say you’re supposed to do is slow down a little bit, take that deep breath and kind of consider what would serve your best interests.

Doreen: Right. And there are times when you need to fire back a response or deal with a situation head on. And there are times that you should likely use strong words, you know, that will get you the result you need, especially if you’re dealing in a leadership position, right?

Or if you are, you know, with a child, for example, you know, there is a delegation of power there and there’s a way to approach things in a stern way that get the point across, but maybe with a better result. And sometimes I want to also suggest that if you know, the example of the text message, sometimes it’s better to leave that the communication of texting or email or, you know, whatever messaging you’re using and to have a face to face conversation, because what is said in the text message is not, you know, people interpret it differently.

And so when you have the ability to step in to a position of having a one on one with somebody outside of the communication in words on a paper or in a text, you can open up a dialog of understanding that that maybe will lead you to a much better place.

Jeff: Absolutely. You know, there are many, many times where I have read a text and it was misconstrued the way it was sent, because there you don’t get to hear the tone of the voice, the word, the delivery of the words. And it’s totally not the way they meant it.

Doreen: Exactly.

Jeff: I know that all the time.

Doreen: This was something you dealt with a lot with your ex. You know where the emotions took over.

Jeff: Right. Well, most of the texts came from my acts were meant the way I took them. But what I did with them was not in the right way. But it didn’t serve me very well.

Doreen: No, no. Gosh, wasted time and energy on something that when you look back at it, you say, really? You know, is this how I want to use the number of hours I have on the planet as a human?

Jeff: Well, it certainly didn’t I wouldn’t say heal the relationship, but it did contributed to making the relationship worse than it needed to be.

Doreen: And the person that was affected the most?

Jeff: Our son.

Doreen: Absolutely, 100%.

Jeff: And that’s going to be the case in most cases.

Doreen: So if you are a listener that is also a co-parent, you will need to recognize or should I say you should recognize, right, that your relationship as a co-parent will show up as a result in your child.

Because even if you are trying your best to keep your communication with your ex, especially what I’m going to call toxic communication a secret from your child, it shows up. They know. They can tell from the subtle little actions that are taken like Dad drops me off at the end of the driveway, never walks me up, never comes to the door to get me, which, you know, may be okay in certain.

It’s these little subtle things they said at my sporting event bleachers apart from each other and never say hello. Kids, see this? Not to mention that they pick up our phones and they see things. They’re much more in tune with both the direct communications that they might happen upon, as well as the subtle ways in which it shows up.

Jeff: And we’ve had many cases that we’ve heard of that they’re not subtle. I mean, arguing in front of the children, you know, talking about your ex to your child in a negative way. I mean, there’s many, many circumstances where it’s not so subtle.

Doreen: And so what we you know, what do we want the result to be? I think that as parents, right. We want the result to be that we’re teaching our children how to handle various situations. And I can rest assured that our kids, mine, including ours included, who are in their twenties now, will encounter situations with people in their life that they will not like this person or they will be angry. It’s what they do.

And so when they see parents acting in certain ways in which their anger now results in their in whatever results, and that is a message to them on how to handle situations they will have in the future. You were, I think, going to talk about how anger shows up. But I think the first thing we should do is talk about the definition of anger, because like we said, I think we talked about it can show up in different ways.

But it says in quick review on the Googles, a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. Well, right. Yeah. Yeah. So you may it may show up for you with annoyance and you’re not really sure why. The goal is to understand where that emotion is coming from and hopefully takes it. Right?

Jeff: An anger itself isn’t the problem.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: Anger can be useful when it’s an emotion that we use to motivate us to change. You know, examples of toxic is when you act upon the feeling of anger by taking actions of arguing or fighting, exchanging words, litigating over.

Doreen: So that’s a big one. I see that often.

Jeff: And these are things that, you know, don’t end up serving, you know, But when you can recognize that you are angry, the first thing to know is that it’s okay to feel this way.

Again, as we talked about earlier, it’s expected it’s normal. It’s all in what you make it mean and what you do with the anger. This is where your thoughts come in.

Doreen: Exactly. Exactly. Because you can use anger to motivate you towards positive. You know, take that energy, take that annoyance, take that irritability and just do something else with it.

Do something that’s positive, go for a run, go to the gym, write down your goals, work on your business, put that energy into something meaningful. Right. That’s where we’re suggesting the results that you want stemming from the anger can be better.

Jeff: You have a cool thing that you do when you recognize anger.

Doreen: I should have done this earlier today. Right? Right. And I was trying to rush through things. And, you know, when you’re trying to rush through something, that’s also an indication to slow down. It’s the exact opposite, right? It’s like, can I slow down and should I slow down when I’m feeling a certain emotion? But one of the things I like to do is talk to my emotion of anger or any negative emotion, because like Jeff said, you expect it to be there, especially when you’re dealing with divorce.

It’s going to show up a lot for most people. So I like to talk to it and I’ll be like, Hey, Anger, thanks for showing up. I expected you to be here, you know, and I’ll even go further in like, I don’t do this out loud because people would definitely, like, think I’m crazy or I should say crazier than I comment.

No. So but I’ll talk to it in my mind and say, Yeah, I can hear you. I expect you to be here and I’m not going to react to you. I’m going to put you over here. I’m going to take a couple of deep breaths for me. I like to do yoga and I like to work out. So maybe else, you know, go for a little walk, go for a little stretching, do a little yoga and deal with it that way, you know? So I actually talked to it.

Jeff: It’s funny.

Doreen: I think it’s a good way of at least for me, dealing with it.

Jeff: So here’s a couple of questions you can ask yourself. Is the anger useful? Is anger is destructive? Right. You know, is anger a good protest against injustice?

Doreen: Right. Right.

Jeff: And now when we’re angry, sometimes it can feel useful. It feels important. You know, for an example, when someone does something wrong and we make it mean something that hurts us, it actually can feel better to be angry than sad.

Doreen: But the way in which you use again, the emotion and the action line is what’s important. If you for example, I know you wanted to talk about Martin Luther King, right?

He used his anger in a way that was useful because he used that anger to spark, you know, and create a dream and a vision. And that was an example. And there’s many throughout history that have used their anger, their just taste for something in a positive way like that, as opposed to violence, which we unfortunately see a lot of. Right, as well.

Jeff: And I think when the situation calls for anger and it will, becoming aware of your anger is the first step. Awareness is always the first step. Take that deep breath we talked about and give yourself some credit that the situation may call for it and it might be an expected emotion. And if it is or it isn’t, stay focused on the big picture of who you want to be and who you want to show up.

Doreen: Well, that’s it. That’s what we had said. And I just know you want to reiterate that I also think that there is a point when you when you slow down and you think about the anger, is it really justified emotion? Because sometimes we get angry over things that should we really be angry over, Right. I mean, an example of that, I don’t know, might be somebody cut you off in line.

You know, how much anger do is appropriate for that for you? Is it really worth it? You know, did the person do it on purpose? I mean, there’s so many ways to think about this. You know, there’s so many ways to look at it. Right.

Jeff: You know, are you angry at something in your life and you take it out on somebody else?

Doreen: Well, that happens often, too, right?

Jeff: And then, you know, think about does that person really deserve the repercussions of somebody else’s actions?

Doreen: That’s a thing that happens often. I know that I can bring home my anger from situations at work and take it out on you as an example. And you’re like, What is going on?

What is going on? I mean, I have not seen you all day. I have no idea why you are angry. And then you’re like probably going, What did I do? What did I do? But I do know. But this unfortunately shows up often as well.

Jeff: So what I want to say is, Hello, Anger, How are you? I was expecting to see you today. How are you feeling?

Doreen: We weren’t expecting this.

Jeff: I wasn’t expecting you. But now that you’re here, could you please? I’m leaving.

Doreen: Probably a better way of dealing with the anger.

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: I mean, we’re laughing about it, but probably a better way. Yesterday, we had a circumstance where I was upset about something with the dogs. Okay. Yeah, And I wanted to go for a walk. And you wanted to follow me?

Jeff: Well, we were going to go for a walk, so when we were leaving, you decided it was best that you go by your self.

Doreen: Yes. Yes. Let me let me cool down for a minute because my anger was definitely misplaced. And I apologize online in person in front of the world. I was wrong.

I overreacted. A lot of things were going on in my thoughts that had nothing to do with the dog situation. Isn’t that also true? Yeah. We get like one little thing. we’ll just set us off. But really, our anger has been brewing on other things underneath the surface, and that’s where the thought work comes in.

Jeff: Well, that’s why I started off the podcast episode with what’s going on in the world today, because usually when somebody, let’s say, barks at you, there’s a lot of things going on in their life that you have no idea and it has nothing.

Don’t take it personally, right? I’d better go easier. Easier said than done, they say. But there may be an underlying reason. It could have been a death in their family, could have been done somebody they lost in Israel. It could be anything going on today. And it’s definitely something that we have to examine our own thoughts and how we took it and try to convert it to something more useful, something more positive.

Doreen: I think it’s just a way of hopefully pursuing a kind of world. It starts with us. And also I want to say one other thing before we finalize the episode is that if you’re angry at yourself for the divorce, for what happened, you know, because that happens very often, it comes along with the guilt. So guilt and anger go together.

We talk about that in our six week course. Know thriving after divorce, by the way, is the name of the course. If and again it includes one on one coaching which is super cool so you get the benefit of the videos worksheets and the one on one. But we talk a lot about or we talk about guilt and how that can show up very quickly into anger and guilt that you have and how you become angry with yourself and what we stress when we talk about this is to be kind and loving to yourself.

You know, we use the thought that if a friend was talking to you about their guilt, how would you show up for your friend? And most of the time, the way we would be and be open and loving and kind to a friend and understanding. We don’t give ourselves that same benefit when we’re angry at ourselves.

So, you know, the anger isn’t always projected outward. It can sometimes projected inside.

Jeff: Well, they say sometimes we’re the hardest on ourselves. And when we look at things in the eyes of our self, we tend to have tunnel vision and not see the big picture.

Doreen: Absolutely. So be loving and kind to yourself. All right. I think we can wrap it up.

Jeff: Absolutely. So consider anger,  use it in a positive way and help pave the road to your amazing new life after divorce.

Doreen: Yeah, you got this. Have an amazing week and we will see you. Talk to you next week

Jeff: Talk to you next week. Bye bye.

Doreen: Bye.

Jeff: You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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