Anger Can Block Divorce
Guest Author, Anne Kass, - a retired District Judge of Albuquerque, New Mexico
The feelings of individuals going through in a divorce include anger, fear, failure, grief, rejection and guilt--all of them powerful.
None of them is positive.
Of these, anger seems to be the most severe problem for the parents, for the courts and--most importantly--for the children.
Psychological studies show that many of us have "a feeling of choice"--one feeling we are the most familiar with and thus the most comfortable with.
In America, that "feeling of choice" appears to be anger, especially for men.
There are various reasons why anger is such a popular feeling in our culture.
-Anger is often viewed as coming from strength, while fear, failure, grief, rejection and guilt are viewed as weaknesses.
-Anger requires a great deal of emotional energy. So it helps us block out and avoid those other, less-comfortable feelings.
-Anger often generates an infusion of adrenalin into our systems causing a sense of power, a bit of high that can feel particularly good in contrast to the low of depression that often accompanies fear, failure, guilt, rejection and grief.
Psychological studies also show that there are several stages or steps that individuals who suffer a loss must go through if they are to effectively cope with and recover from the loss.
These stages include shock, anger, denial, grief and, finally, acceptance. Divorce is an enormous loss.
Divorcing individuals who do not progress through the stages do not recover well. They do not get on with their lives in a wholesome way.
The consequences in divorce cases of people locking into anger include ongoing fighting between the parents, ongoing litigation, ongoing legal expenses and ongoing injury to the children.
The truth is that if we don't deal with our feelings, our feelings will deal with us.
Feelings sometimes deal with us by causing us to get sick or causing us to do foolish, hurtful things.
It is no simple task to acknowledge and confront negative feelings, which is why family court judges so often recommend counseling for parties in divorce cases.
We realize that counseling does not always help but we also know that litigation will not help the parties through the stages of loss.
Too many divorcing individuals seem to be anger junkies--and litigation is a perfect way for them to feed that addiction.
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