Why we hate out EX
by Harriet Lerner, PhD
There’s the fantasy that if we hang onto our justified rage and suffering long enough, the other person will finally see the light, realize how much they have harmed us, and feel as bad—perhaps even worse!—than they have made us feel. It is a powerful and comforting fantasy. But it is just that—a fantasy. If that person who harmed you hasn’t “gotten it” yet, they never will.
Some of us may be afraid to let go of our anger because, in a strange way, it keeps us connected to the person who has hurt us. Anger is a form of intense (albeit negative) attachment, just like love. Both forms of emotional intensity keep us close to the other person, which is why so many couples are legally divorced, but not emotionally divorced. If you can’t talk on the phone or be in the same room with your ex-spouse without feeling your stomach clutch, then you’re still attached.
Detaching can provoke great anxiety—and require enormous courage.
When we let go of our anger and suffering (which does not necessarily include forgiveness) and begin to allow joy into our lives, an odd thing may happen: We may temporarily experience anxiety and a sense of “homesickness” with every move forward, because with each step taken on our own behalf, we are taking emotional leave from a relationship that was officially terminated long ago.
When we leave anger behind, we give up the dream that the person who harmed us will ever feel remorse, see things the way we do, or come back to us on their knees, pleading for another chance.
Here at The Mediation and Family Counseling Group every session includes a therapeutic intervention and consult. Making sure that decisions made for your future are not based on emotion, but logic in order to preserve your future long after you have detached. We also help redirect your strong feelings to a place where two people can manage for the sake of the children.
Court does not recognize this component, instead feeds off it. MEDIATE Don't LITIGATE