Resourceful (and Non-Resourceful) Strategies for Coping with Betrayal
When you’ve been betrayed by a spouse, it’s easy—and justifiable—to be angry. Our culture is full of songs, movies and books about straying spouses and revenge. Google “betrayal movies” and you’ll get nearly 50 million hits.
Sometimes, hurt spouses can feel ready to respond in ways that are downright Hollywood-esque, burning personal belongings, losing it publicly on social media or, in the worst cases, turning children against their other parent.
And while the impulse to do these things is understandable, the effects can be damaging and long-lasting—to both your kids and you.
Giving in to your impulses can feel good in the short term. Just like shouting at the driver who cut you off, the first post on social media about your ex may deliver an exhilarating release and even garner the words of support you need. Anger is a very natural feeling when you’ve been made to feel rejected or are experiencing loss—natural emotions during divorce. But giving into those impulses can be dangerous.
Coping through explosion can seriously set back your divorce or seeking custody of your children. It can also cost you friends, family, even your job.
Perhaps most importantly, they could cost you your health. A recent Washington Post article highlights the damaging effects of stress on the body including increased risk of high blood pressure, suppressed immune system and even cancer.
Instead of giving in to those (very natural) impulses, we can try frustration-mitigation strategies. It may be helpful to remember that you’re not doing this for your partner. You’re doing it to secure the best outcome for your life.
Strategies for venting include exercising, having a good cry, writing about it and even simply punching. Throwing a right hook into a pillow is actually a useful technique to allow the real strength of your feelings out without causing any damage.
If you’ve been so angry during your divorce that you could scream out (sometimes NSFW), remember that you’re not alone in this process. Call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.