Being Mad At Your Ex Has A Silver Lining — You Can Get Over Them Faster
There’s a reason why Demi Lovato’s song “Sorry Not Sorry” will always be a go-to breakup jam. The song doesn’t focus on sadness or heartache, but on sweet, sweet payback toward an ex. “Now I'm out here looking like revenge, feelin' like a ten, the best I ever been,” she sings. “And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt to see me like this.” Lovato knows that being mad at your ex can feel powerful, and it can sometimes make it easier to move on from the relationship. Why? It has to do with the psychology of how people process their anger and sadness. Anger is an active emotion, and it energizes you to get out there and live your best life rather than wallow.
If you’ve ever been betrayed by a romantic partner, you know how devastating it can be. You’re probably feeling a mixture of hurt, frustration, and heartache, which can be overwhelming to juggle all at once. To take back some of your power, you might latch onto those feelings of anger. Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak, tells Elite Daily, “Anger feels like the most proactive emotion for getting over an ex, as anger energizes us while depression deflates us. Ever heard the saying, “Anger is a motivator?” It allows you to feel a sense of strength again after having the rug pulled out from under you.
“Anger helps us drive people away, whereas sadness reminds us that someone that once was ours has been driven away,” Trescott says. “The latter can make us feel helpless to what we’ve lost, whereas the former can help us feel in control of what we’ve lost.” By pointing the finger at your ex and focusing on how they wronged you, you’re less likely to want them back. You can justify the breakup by thinking about how they ruined your relationship, while you were the victim of their bad choices.
Unfortunately, anger isn’t necessarily an ideal way to grieve, and Trescott says it’s only a temporary salve for your sadness. “The catch is, while anger may get us out of bed and commiserating at brunch with our friends, pointing the finger at an ex never actually gets us closer to closure, healing, or even a new relationship,” she says. When you’re focused on your ex and what they did to you, you’re keeping your energy and perspective rooted in the past. You’re directing the blame externally, rather than looking inward at how you can grow from this experience. Anger may have jump-started your healing process, but now you’ll need to do the real inner work of healing from the inside out.
“The real way to gain back our power is to stop giving our energy to the wrong person by making them the problem, and start asking ourselves the right questions so we can become the answer to our problems,” Trescott advises. It’s not always fun to do self-reflection, but it helps you understand what you really miss about this failed relationship. “The question you must focus on answering is, who are you actually angry with and what circumstance exactly are you sad about losing?,” Trescott says.
A licensed therapist or breakup coach can help you peel back the layers and understand your grief from all angles. Is it really your ex you are sad about, or is it the loss of your love story? Trescott explains, “Often what you’ll find is what you were really excited about was not your ex, so much as the opportunity they were giving you to explore and express love.”
You may also be holding onto some underlying anger at yourself, for failing to recognize the red flags or allowing yourself to be deceived. Undetected shame can affect the way you see yourself moving forward. Trescott explains that fully understanding and processing your anger serves a dual purpose. “You give yourself the power to see your ex for who they really were, and accept that they are not a match for your future, as well as pinpoint the areas where you may be holding shame with yourself,” she says. This way, you can start to forgive yourself, let go of the past, and look ahead. “It will help you turn into a more self-aware person who has clarity over who you are as a person, the areas of yourself you need to work on, and the relationship you are most designed for next, as well as self-acceptance to offer future relationships,” Trescott encourages.
When you’re fully confident in who you are and what you have to offer, and once you’ve let go of any anger you’re holding toward yourself, you’re more freely available to accept new love that comes your way. Trescott warns against letting this past betrayal cloud your view of future relationships. “Look at every ex as an isolated incident and every relationship as a necessary stepping stone on your journey toward greater and wiser love,” she says. “By seeing your ex as their own person with their own assets and issues, you give a new partner permission to be their own person without holding them accountable for the past mistakes of your ex.”
You deserve the very best, and if a little healthy anger allows you to see yourself for the boss babe you are, then more power to you! Just don’t let this emotion hold you back from finding happiness on your own. As Lovato sings, “I'm on fire and I know that it burns.” Use that energy to show yourself love and compassion. You’re a true catch, and if your ex didn’t see that, you're better off without them.