Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

Finally turning the corner from the healing land of denial, I entered an emotion that was all too familiar to me…ANGER.  Now I know anger is not always bad, in fact anger is not completely condemned in the Bible.  Jesus displayed anger.  The Bible assumes that we will experience anger, but the admonition is to not let our anger lead to sin. A very simplified way to describe the “sin” type of anger is anger that leads to destructive behavior stemming from bad attitudes.

In working with people who struggle with anger I have seen the tendency to deal with anger in a couple of ways: 

  • Rage
  • Repression

While there may be times when these can be healthy, they can also be harmful.  RAGE many times can lead to violent outbursts that can be hurtful and even harmful to those around you.  Anger tends to hit a lot of people who are not the ones you are actually angry at.  For instance some have been known to take the anger of divorce out on the kids.  There are also those self-destructive urges such as drinking, drugs, and sex.   REPRESSION is turning that anger inward and can cause health issues.

There are a couple of healthy ways to vent anger.  Let me suggest REDIRECTION.  Redirect your energy into healthy activities: Serving others, gardening, writing, soft punching bags, etc.  I remember one angry outburst I had where I so wanted to punch something (Ok, in reality I wanted to punch someone!).  There just happened to be a brief case in front of me so I wisely (sarcasm) kicked it shattering my big toe and thereby spending the morning in the ER.  Perhaps I should have stuck with gardening or writing.

Let me end this by suggesting another option… RECONCILIATION. First of all, reconciliation does not always mean you get back with your ex.  While that would be a good thing, let’s assume you’ve already been down that road and came to a dead end.  Sometimes reconciliation can be a redefining of the relationship.  You work to create a healthy post-divorce relationship with your ex.  This will include things such as forgiveness, boundaries to keep the relationship civil and if there are children, teaming up to fulfill the important task of child rearing. 

I’ve read that time heals but I have revised that.  I believe that God heals and time is one of the ways He heals.  Don’t rush the process. Enter the reconciliation process with care, emotional health, and wisdom.  I’ve written other blog post on anger that I can recommend.  Closing admonition: Anger, handle with care.

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Posted: October 14, 2011 in Divorce, Emotions
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In the late seventies and early eighties I experienced the trauma of divorce.  I was a student at New Orleans Baptist Seminary in my last semester.  That event affected everything in my life from that point on.  I experienced fear, frustration, and hurt on a level that I had only studied in books until this happened. 

For several weeks now I have wrestled with the idea of blogging about the experience and some of the lessons I learned as I journeyed through this dark time.  I’ve decided to unpack some of this and to share some of the lessons I have learned since.  It is my hope that these thoughts might help someone who is now experiencing or has gone through divorce.  I will not, of course, cover the topic all inclusively so if you have questions related to this topic, please email me.  I will try to answer or direct you to a resource.  I would also hope you could find information to help a friend or family member.

I would first like to deal with some of the emotions I faced early on.  The first thing I remember was my unwillingness to believe this was actually happening to me.  After all, I had given my life to God!  I spent five years in college (I crammed my four years into five) preparing for vocational ministry.  I had spent two and a half year in seminary.  This couldn’t be happening to me. 

This, my friend, is what the experts call DENIAL.  Denial is a natural, God-given reaction to a painful experience that is too overwhelming to handle.  Most people, including Christians say, “Focus on the positive.”  They give you the impression that it is unspiritual to have these bad feelings.  Aren’t you supposed to be constantly walking around with the “joy of the Lord!”

Listen.  The Bible never glosses over pain and suffering.  The joy of the Lord is our strength in tough times but it doesn’t mean that we walk around in some la la land pretending that times aren’t tough.   As a God-given reaction, denial is a good thing.  It can protect us.  In those worst times, denial can be a shield to keep us from complete devastation.   It becomes a bad thing when it goes on too long.  Denial clung to too tightly for too long can delay the healing process.

How long is too long?  From all I have read and studied there is no precise timetable.  It may last a few months or a few years.  If it has been two years, though, you could be stuck.  If you are waiting on your ex to make repairs on your house long after he has left, moved away and remarried, you could have a problem.  After about six months or so you should probably be saying yes to your friends invitations to go out.

I want to continue with my next post in dealing with anger.

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