"If hate were people, I'd be China!"
~ Phil, delivering the last line in an argument with his wife, from the movie City Slickers.

Some quotes resonate with you because they describe how you feel, so well, with such brevity. Others seem to grab me because they are comically absurd. The above one falls into the second category, but it still has some resonance when this mild-mannered character snaps.

The simplified, five step path through grief is often quoted. They are:
  • Denial and Isolation 
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance 
I certainly haven't followed them in any order, and a few people in my life have encouraged me to get angry with J. Our marriage counselor wanted me in that stage after only a couple of weeks of counseling. As I have mentioned, it is not really in my nature, and I wasn't convinced that anger was a necessary step in my recovery. But now I feel myself moving into that stage.

I am moving beyond just feeling ripped off and cheated, and some anger is starting to creep into my voice when I talk about the divorce. I am angry that she held back resentments and complaints for two years before bringing a few of them to light. I am frustrated that she told only part of the story, enough to feel like she was being open, but not enough to really explain anything.

I have come to the point where I still carry my share of blame and regret for the state of our marriage. But I am not willing to take the blame for the divorce anymore. I put my heart and mental health on the line to try and work things out with J. Nothing that came up seemed insurmountable. Quite frankly, nothing that came up seemed all that difficult to make right. But she seemed to think it was too late to work on our relationship or save our marriage. I did not give up, even after it was pretty clear that she had.

It is sometimes said that it is a thin line between love and hate. The truth behind the phrase is that the passion that once supported love, can now fuel the anger, leading to hate. But I am not even close to hating her, and I don't ever intend to cross that line. In all her hidden feelings, avoidance of conflict, and fumbling prolonging of the end, I believe part of it was out of love for me.

I don't feel much better having moved into the anger stage, but it does feel different. I've read anger can be a first step in gaining emotional distance from your former spouse. It is certainly just a piece of the puzzle and not the solution, but I am starting to believe that (appropriate) anger may be constructive. I suppose that in becoming angry about what has happened, rather than just being depressed or disheartened, you find a bit of strength and self-worth.

The feelings of anger are not particularly hot, and they do not linger. Still, it is a phase I don't want to spend much time in.


Post a Comment