November 17, 2020

How To Shift Anger To Work For You


Are you going through, or already divorced, and feel overwhelmed by the anger and frustration from being disrespected by the ex?

If yes, I’ve been where you are and can relate to what you’re feeling.

I’ve been immobilized by the anger, frustration, anxiety, and being concerned about the impact of divorce on my young child. I’ve been beyond being fed up with being disrespected by the ex.

It felt like I was walking on eggshells. No matter what I said or did, no matter how hard I tried, the ex became even more unreasonable.

It was evident the divorce situation was having a negative impact on our three-year old daughter. She was becoming whiny, which had never happened before. For the first time, she was having trouble falling asleep at bedtime.

It seemed every aspect of the relationship between the ex and me was only getting worse. There just had to be some way to start to change things, but I had no idea where to begin.

I knew I had to try to create a change, and I knew it had to begin with me because I understood that I was the only person I could control or change.

I found the opportunity to shift during a situation that was having a very negative impact on our daughter.

Legal custody of our daughter was an equal 50/50. For over two years, The ex and I had been able to to communicate and figure out the schedule. After several variations, we agreed to an every other week schedule, with our daughter going to the other parent’s home on Wednesday nights.

Then, out of the blue, and for no apparent reason, the ex suddenly refused to discuss the schedule and mandated we use the schedule documented in our divorce decree.
I was shocked to discover the divorce decree outlined an every other day schedule.

This daily alternating schedule provided zero consistency and zero stability for our little 3 year old girl who was now thrown into a chaotic back and forth between our two homes every single day.

This doesn’t even begin to account for the differences in the two homes as far as parenting style, rules, structure and so much more.

I was afraid this new schedule could instill seeds of trauma for our young daughter. My consternation was confirmed when I shared the situation with a child psychologist, who was likewise appalled that a divorce decree would mandate an every other day schedule for a young child.

(If I were to go into the fact that any divorce attorney would suggest, much less agree to, this type of physical custody schedule to be put into a divorce decree, this article would be much longer…).

I was stunned and furious that the ex was mandating that our 3-year old daughter be put on such a schedule.
How completely self-centered! How could she be so oblivious to the negative effects this schedule could have on our child! I was caught up in a vicious cycle of reacting to my anger towards the ex.

Needless to say, this only made the situation worse. I knew I had to do something differently to try to improve things for my daughter.

As I began to reflect on what to do, it hit me… my anger wasn’t ever going to improve anything.
I knew I wanted to do my best to create an environment of divorce that provided balance and support for our daughter. And this is what inspired me to shift my perspective and to start to focus on creating such an environment of divorce.

Providing consistency and stability for our daughter was essential. This meant somehow coming to terms with the ex so we could stop the insanity and start an every other week plan for moving forward.

Yet the exrefused to even listen to my attempts to reason. In fact, she got more uncooperative and difficult.
At this point I felt I had no other option. Since the ex would not work together to co parent, I took her back to court over the custody schedule.

Ironically, we never went in front of a judge. Sitting in the hall outside the courtroom, our respective attorneys started “negotiating”. There was a lot of back and forth, and a lot of accusations coming from the ex. At first it felt like we were spinning our wheels and would be getting nowhere.

The ex said the only way she would change the schedule was if I handed over 50% of an education fund I had personally set up for our daughter. How dare she! The audacity to steal what I’d set up for our daughter! Talk about being self-centered!

For me, our daughter’s well-being was the top priority, and here her mom was making it about money, money that was NOT hers, but that actually belonged to our daughter.
Then it hit me. By getting angry, I was being self-centered and making it about money. And I understood that anger would never get us to a solution.

Again, I shifted my focus to what I wanted to create for our daughter. A huge part of this was having a balanced schedule that provided consistency and stability.
I took a few slow, deep breaths, and calmly told my attorney to say “Yes” to handing over 50% of the education fund amount that I had established for our daughter.

My decision was shared with the ex and her attorney, and low and behold, we were able to come to terms and agree to an every other week schedule!

I let go of my anger and frustration and I made this decision for the sake of my precious daughter. Letting go of my anger allowed me to re-channel the stirring energy stemming from my anger in a much more positive way that led to a more beneficial outcome.

This directly led to my learning one of the most impacting lessons of my life. When I feel really angry and allow myself to react to it, it will never be very likely that I’ll be able to create or get what I really want.
By shifting my focus from my anger to creating an environment of divorce where my daughter would thrive, I shifted the energy I’d been emitting, and we were able to come to terms.

Reflecting back, do I still think the ex was being self-centered and unreasonable? Absolutely, yes, I do.
By getting clear that my number one priority was, and is, my daughter, I was able to let go of my anger and shift to an intentional focus to create a more positive and beneficial environment for our daughter… and this indeed was the outcome.

My challenge to you is to think about the last time you reacted with anger toward the ex. Ask yourself what was it that actually triggered you?
Did your anger get you what you really wanted? Of course not.

Now commit to being more aware, more prepared for the next interaction with the ex. Think about what you really want to create, and why.

My why was my daughter. I wanted to create a more positive environment of divorce for her so she could thrive.
When you find the anger starting to simmer in the depths of your soul, what is something you can say to yourself or do that will snap you out of it, that will help you shift your focus to what you really want to create?

Think about what you really want to create for your children. Next, intently shift your focus to determine what you are going to say or do next to get you closer to actually starting to create it.

As you follow-through on this challenge, nurture it, condition it by being consistent and you will be able to remain in self-control, remain calm, and change the outcome for the sake of your kids.

Shifting your perspective changes everything. It allows you to shift out of anger and into a state of being more intentional.

Note: To learn insights about where you are in your divorce situation, take the free Split Harmony Quiz.
Take two minutes right now to take the quiz:

Your response with suggested next steps will be emailed to you.

Do it right now for the sake of your kids.

Author's Bio: 

Mission: To help Entrepreneur Dads of Divorce realize they can create an environment of divorce where their children are thriving, even if the ex refuses to work together to co-parent.

Peter Hobler

Peter Hobler, MBA, is the driving force behind “The Ex-Factor” brand, developer of The 7 Principles of COURAGE, architect of The Vicious Cycle of Subconscious Fear, author of COURAGE To Find The FIRE Within: Invest In Yourself To Discover Your Passion and of Split Harmony: Turn The “Ex-Factor” from Chaos to Compassion, keynote speaker, and Personal Development Coach.