Re: My Three Angers
Hey Bud, I can relate to you. I had some pretty major anger issues when I was going through my divorce and it took counseling for me to get past it. Luckily, I had a great counselor and after 5 sessions we had laid the groundwork for what I needed and he said he didn't need to see me anymore. My anger was because I felt that my divorce was the first major failure in life, I didn't understand how she could cheat on me since I was such a great husband/father, and I was upset at how it destroyed my family dynamic which I had worked so hard to build. For me to get past this the counselor went over these things with me individually and we rationalized them.
First we discussed the divorce being my first major life failure and I was able to reason that it wasn't a failure for me. I had done everything right and behaved as I should have. I was a great husband, put my wife first, took care of my family, was successful professionally, kept in shape, wasn't needy, and was an involved father. So we reasoned that since I had been so committed, the failure in the marriage couldn't have been my fault. The blame rested solely on my XWW, so technically it was HER failure and not mine. Since I was doing everything right I never failed, she failed, and I don't need to be angry about someone else's failure. With that understanding I was able to move past that issue.
To rationalize how she could cheat on me was an easier step. I just had to accept that the only person I could control was me. People are free to make whatever decisions they want and for whatever reason at whatever time. So I didn't have to understand the how or why she chose to cheat. She could lose sleep over it, but I wasn't going to. Quite frankly, I have some pretty good ideas of why she cheated, but I don't really care since it's her problem for her to rationalize.
Destroying my family dynamic was also a huge issue. But I changed the way I looked at it. It wasn't a destruction, but simply a change. Change happens throughout life and it can be either good or bad, and I am in control of the outcome in my life. I used this change for good and as an opportunity to be the best father I can be. I'm more interactive and involved now with my kids than I had been before. I get to raise them exactly how I want and since I am the better role model I can tell I'm making a much bigger impact in their life than their mom is. While my kids love both parents they model themselves after me, and I see my influence grow in them as they are developing.
So after all of these things, I really have nothing to be angry about. My life is MUCH better than it was before and the things that are important to me (i.e. my kids) are benefitting from the change.
So for you let's break each thing down and see if you can change the way they impact you. Your first problem is the hurt in your kids. So why are your kids hurt? Is it because they aren't getting enough love and guidance or is because they are projecting what they see in you? Can you make yourself be positive around them and really focus on living your life in the way you would like them to grow up and live theirs? Can you teach them resiliency and that even after a hurtful situation happens, you can thrive and be better than before? What in your mind would you need to do to be the pillar of stability in their lives and show them that you are devoted to them and they are your priority? F' your XWW, this isn't about her. It's about how you want to be a role model and how you get to decide on your own the best way to do that for your kids.
How can you deal with the betrayal from your ex? The best thing to combat this feeling is to live your life to the fullest. Be the best dad you can be, be the best man you can be, and live your life with the freedom you could only have with her gone from the picture. Once you start doing this and your life gets remarkably better than when you were married, the anger will leave because you'll be happier than you were before. This takes a bit of time but it doable. I joke with my friends now that my XWW having an affair gave me a "get out of jail free card", because I am so much better off than I was when we were married (and FYI, I was in a very good marriage up until her affair at the very end).
How do you get over the anger with yourself? Well this can also be rationalized. You loved your ex and saw her through the best light possible. You don't need to forgive yourself for that. Loving someone completely is what you were supposed to do with a spouse! If you hadn't loved her that way then you should have been angry with yourself. That love you gave her is why she was able to hide her true self and take advantage of the situation. Her not experiencing loving you the same way is one of life's great gifts that she missed out on.
The last thing I want to tell you, is forgiving someone is not about them. It's about you choosing to no longer let them have power over your life. Take back your power and your control from her, and reap the rewards that go with it. When you feel yourself getting angry, just remind yourself that she isn't worth it and this is an opportunity to make your life better.