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How Do I Shed My Anger?


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I have so many overlapping emotions right now - triggered by a video call with my son and ex-wife - I feel like imploding. I haven't cried once because of this situation but this almost made me. First let me summarize the situation:

Married for 5yrs, knew her for 16, passionate, high school love, an exchange student from Germany. Over the years we were on/off, then lived in the States after getting married. She is a multi-millionaire; I have always struggled, she has always had it easy. - That right there is a recipe for disaster and resentment, and it did simmer deep down for years. She convinced me to move to London, we lived there for 3 yrs, had a son in 2006. My whole life changed when he arrived, I have been overwhelmed with love and emotion and a close connection to him. He is very, very important to me. Without him I feel a (another) gaping hole in my life.

We got divorced about 6 mos ago. I hated London, sick of Europe. My career was floundering, I was dying inside, living a pseudo-life. I came back to the States to get my life back. She got my son, they now live in Germany, me in Colorado. Visits are very disruptive, time-consuming and costly. However it's worth anything to see him.

I resent her, I hate her, I feel so much anger inside towards her. They are about to go on 2-wk beach vacation. My stuff (furniture, art studio supplies, books, all personal belongings) has been shipped to me, but it has so far taken 6 months to get here (not here yet). She had all her stuff in a few weeks. She now has her expensive, beautiful apartment, new car, new everything, all her stuff, her millions, and my son. When we video call, I feel like I am in a prison speaking to them on the outside. Not to mention my jealousy. I feel terrible about it, but I don't want her to be happy. I was her first, only, real love, and first sexual partner. my irrational feelings are that somehow she "belongs" to me, in a figurative sense, and any new partners are somehow betraying something we had. But we're divorced!

I'm doing ok now on my own. In school again, busy, but no income. I am getting some settlement from her, but there are still issues. Lawyers are costing me thousands$$$ - deducted from the settlement, meanwhile everything for her is just honky dory.

The video call just now had me seething. I was thinking "nice place? All set are you? Comfortable? Good for you. Enjoy our son, have fun, have a great time."

I feel hatred and anger towards her, like I have been royally screwed - but she's all set. I have no one to talk to about this. I have a new girlfriend but I'm not going to dump all this baggage on her.

How do I let go of the anger?

thx for reading.

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You're anger is understandable, (((((seeeker))))). I wish you could have private phone calls with your son, without her there to set you off. I've never been through something quite like your situation, but I did have a long term relationship end several years ago that left me with volcanic rage. Unfortunately there's no quick fix for that besides antidepressants. I wasn't medicated back then, so I went through it all slowly and organically. It took many years and lots of therapy and good friends and family to help me dig my way out of the anger. Even so, anger has always been a major component of my depression, and I never fully got over it until I went on medication about 3 years ago. In my case, it was a chronic, chemical condition, regardless of my situation in life, but definitely mad worse by hardship. It sounds to me like you have plenty to be bitter about in your life right now, so I think that time, therapy, and of course sharing your feelings here, will be a big help.

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Have you considered therapy? Divorces can be really hard to deal with. Anger and resentment are common emotions. Therapists can help you by allowing you to express your feelings without having to worry about holding back. Just blowing off steam can allow you to let go of some of these feelings and reduce your level of anger.

A therapist could help you work through your anger towards your ex which might enable you to avoid feeling really upset every time she does something annoying. Therapists are used to working with individuals who are having difficulty with someone who has no interest in changing their behavior. You are in such a situation which is frustrating. However, there are ways of becoming accustomed to a pattern of behavior and being able to classify it as such without an emotional response.

This situation you are in really sucks. Many people would be so consumed by anger that they could never see that they needed to "shed" it. You are wise to recognise that you are going to implode soon.


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Thanks for your reply. "Volcanic rage" is actually a very good term for how I feel too.

I want to add a little more description why I feel this anger. SHe also comes from a very large, wealthy family. In Germany, they are always going for lunch or tea at someone's house, there is family around. They vacation together with her brothers family, so there are other kids around, and it's a fun thing as a child. I'm happy he is experiencing love and togetherness.

With me though, it's just me. My brother has a child, but they never vacation, and here in America they are lucky to get a couple weeks of every year, and they do their own thing. (Of course we all know in Europe they get at least 6 weeks, so she and her family have multiple extended vacations a year).

When I took ski trips with my dad when I was young, we fought tooth and nail. Just the tooth of us, stewing. I don't want trips with my son to be like that. I have to talk my brother into group trips at some point.

So overall my point is that she has a big, powerful family. Their leverage and influence has overshadowed me. My son will grow up with that lifestyle as his primary reference. I feel pushed out, I feel defensive and protective. Sorry this is so bleak, but I am at a downpoint.

I have taken anti-depressents for years, but lately have come off them due to unwanted side-effects.

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yeah I've done therapy, it was useful for a while, but I don't believe therapy permanently helps solve things. I definitely agree it would be helpful as a place to substantially vent.

Back in America I have to consider cost- I have insurance but not sure sure exactly how therapy would be covered. I could use a few sessions though.

Thank you for your replies, I appreciate the support very much. It's always interesting how there are so many people who have gone through similar experiences - the rage, anger, resentment: failed relationships, learning experiences. The way I feel now I never want to get married ever again.

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Yes that lifestyle will be his primary reference, but some day, he may be interested in other things, so you need to be there for him. Keep at it and don't let your anger towards the situation keep you from seeing your son. See him when you can, talk to him as often as possible. Have you ever tried Skype? It is free over the Internet and even like 2 cents a minute from your computer to his landline phone, and you can even get Skype phones. Anyway it's a really cheap way to keep in touch, if you could arrange it, you could conceivably talk to him every day. I may be misquoting current prices but nevertheless it is really cheap. I agree with suburgatory, you need to get access to speaking with your son directly and not with his mother in the picture (literally, on videophone.) It's too hard to enjoy your son and bond with him when you have everything she represents to you in your face like that.

I say all this because, you say he has this wonderful life, and I'm sure it is great and will be culturally wonderful for him, and having a big family is a good thing. But you know some things that seem so wonderful on the surface, turn out to not be as great as they seem down the road. And even if they are, at some point, children come to resent things (fairly or not) or in general just rebel or just want to see something or live something different. I hear you feeling inferior to what she is offering, which I totally get, because I would feel the same way, and just as angry and envious. But you are NOT inferior, your life is just different and you have different things but just as valuable to offer your son, who you said you love like crazy. So many of us that gather together here on DF have felt the trauma of living life without love or without loved expressed. You have love to give and that is the most important thing of all. What I hear coming from you is really the fear that your son will forget you because his life is so wonderful that what will he ever need you for? I think that fear is valid but I also think forgetting your father does not follow from living the high life with your mother. You can and will stay in his life, because you love him and you will make it happen, and he has no reason not to want that.

So your goals should be, taking care of and improving your life to make yourself happy, and keeping as much contact with your son as possible. Right now maybe you won't spend as much time with him, but who knows how things will change some day and you need to be ready for that. And if you are acting to make those goals a reality, you won't have time to keep feeling so much anger towards your ex -- I totally get that feeling and I know it will always be there with you at some level, but with your focus on your son, and on yourself, that anger will dissipate over time.

Edited by onlymakesmelaugh
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