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How to deal with anger after a breakup

Jesse Martin

August 12, 2012


You have to deal with a lot of different emotions, when going through a breakup, but anger is one the most difficult ones to deal with. You might be angry because of what your ex did to you. You might feel you didn't deserve to be treated the way you were treated or you might be angry at her for not reciprocating your feelings. Then you might have feelings about your anger, you might feel anxious or guilty about being angry. The key is to recognize when anger can help you, and make your anger work for you, so it will become a healing tool for you during your breakup. Dealing with a breakup ultimately means dealing with your emotions.

If you haven't read my guide for men on how to get over a breakup, make sure you do that first.

Why Do We Get Angry When We Are Dumped?

It turns out love and hate are intricately linked in the human brain. The basic brain network for rage is closely connected to centers in the prefrontal cortex that process reward-assessment and reward expectation. And when people and other animals begin to realize that an expected reward is in jeopardy, even unattainable, these centers in the prefrontal cortex signal and trigger rage.

The author of Why We Love, Helen Fisher, believes that anger serves the evolutionary purpose of extricating yourself from dead-end matches, lick your wounds and resume your quest for love in greener pastures.

I am not surprised that abandonment rage sometimes erupts into violence. Jilted men and women have wasted priceless reproductive time and energy on a partner who is deserting them.

They must start their courtship search again. Moreover, their reproductive future has been jeopardized - along with their social alliances, their personal happiness, and their reputation.

Their self-esteem is severely damaged. And time is dribbling by. Nature has given us a powerful purgative mechanism to help us release a rejecting mate and get on with living: rage.

In other words, anger is a natural dealing mechanism.

Unfortunately anger doesn't necessarily cancel out love. It's possible to be very angry, but still very much in love. All these feelings, luckily, lose intensity over time.

Getting In Touch With Your Anger

Getting in touch with your anger can have many benefits:

  • It will take your ex off the pedestal.
  • It can be a great motivator.
  • It can launch you out of a depression
  • It makes you feel less like a victim
  • It helps you move on emotionally
  • It helps you move past embarrassment
  • It helps you get over your ex and sever the tie with her

But there are also unhealthy ways of dealing with anger. Anger can be a deflector for other feelings that you are going to need come to terms with such as abandonment and grief. It's easy to hide behind anger in order not to face our deeper emotions. Be cautious of these types of anger:

Righteous Anger. "How could she do this to me?" It’s a way of protecting our bruised egos and dealing with humiliation and rejection. Please be careful to avoid this type of anger. Getting overly involved with your ego will keep you from accepting any accountability and stifle your ability to learn from your breakup.

Revenge. We never want to act on revenge. Acting on revenge can ruin your life. It's a negative type of energy you need to steer clear from.

Expressing Your Anger

Some ways to express anger

  • Accept your internal struggle with anger, even if it makes you feel anxious at times
  • Don’t be too angry at yourself. Take responsibility where needed, but do not carry the full burden of the failure of your relationship
  • If your relationship ended over infidelity, or your ex left you for another guy, keep your anger directed at your ex and not at the other person. Blaming the other person will keep you from focusing on what you need to focus on: figuring out why your relationship ended and healing yourself. Always take the high road.
  • Journal about your anger.
  • Work out. Working out is a great way to release tension and vent your anger. When I was processing my breakup I would be able to always do a couple of extra repetitions just by picturing my ex. The anger I would feel would pump me up and allow me to go that extra inch.

Over time letting go of your anger will definitely help you move on. But to do so you need to feel it, experience it and express it.

Venting your anger will allow you to let go of it, and that will help you move on. To do so, you have to feel it, experience it and express it.

Did this article help you deal with breakup anger? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from readers!

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