When we are experiencing or recovering from divorce after 50, remembering to find joy in everyday things can be difficult. One of the reasons that, despite our best efforts, we can find it almost impossible to move on is when we are prisoner to one of the ugliest feelings of all.
Being bitter and resentful.
Resentment is nasty. Unlike feelings of guilt and shame, what makes resentment so ugly is that it has a tendency to turn you, an otherwise kind and reasonable person, into someone who is so angry at her own life situation that it is impossible to recover.
Bitterness and resentment make it hard even for the people who love you to be around you. Resentment makes it hard for you to focus on all the good stuff you have going on in your life. And bitterness keeps you from moving on. Definitely not what you want or deserve.
Remaining resentful means that you are a prisoner to your past, when you should be focusing on your future instead.
This feeling is a combination of anger, disappointment, and resentment at being treated unfairly. Did you notice that? The verb treated is in the past tense, and it deals with things that happened that you cannot change and cannot control.
The more you continue to look in the past, the harder and harder it becomes to plan for the things you can control. Such as your future. And your happiness. And the rest of your life, which I’m pretty sure you don’t want to live with the weight of feeling screwed over still resting on your shoulders.
So, knock it off. You need to spend that emotional energy on planning your future. Every time you feel yourself getting resentful for something that happened in your marriage, nip that thought in the bud. And instead start channeling those feelings and that energy into planning your future and your new life.
Being bitter means that you are letting your ex continue to hurt you, and you deserve better than that craziness.
Feeling resentful because of being treated unfairly during your marriage sucks. It’s completely not fair and not right that your ex did not treat you with the love and respect that you deserved.
But remember, the longer you allow yourself to feel angry because of the harm this person did to you during your marriage, the longer and easier it is for them to have control over you.
Keep in mind that your marriage with this person has ended, and you do not owe them ANY of your emotional energy.
There is most likely a reason that you are no longer with that person, and being divorced has given you the chance to start over and do things on your own terms. So why let your ex have any more control over you? This is your chance to define who you are, what it is that you want, and where it is that you want to be. And that sure has nothing to do with your ex being able to dictate how you feel, which is exactly what happens when you’re resentful.
You can let it go. You deserve to let it go. Because it does not serve you.
Exercise: How to let the resentment go
1. Write down—and be specific—about the things that are exactly making you bitter. But don’t spend much time reflecting on that type of stuff for a number of reasons. One, because the factors leading up to you feeling that way are in your past, which you can’t change. Two, because the only way you can overcome those feeling is to reframe how you think of it and focus on the future instead. Need some examples? Take a look below!
I feel bitter because I got screwed over with money in the settlement.
I feel bitter because I see my ex moved on with their new relationship and I’m still here with nothing.
2. Reframe that state of mind. The problem with resentment is that it forces us to look at something in the negative light, when, in fact, what we feel to be something negative may actually be a blessing in disguise. See what I mean below.
I’m feeling like I got screwed over. What does that mean exactly? Screwed over with my finances? Well, doesn’t that actually mean that I now have the freedom to watch my own budget and prioritize what’s important for me, instead of having to ask for their permission or having someone watch what I’m doing all the time? Heck yes! Now I get to manage my own finances—it may be difficult because I may not be as comfortable as I once was, but what I have and what I control is mine.
I’m bitter because my ex has moved on and I’m still here. Okay, so I’m not with my ex anymore, but that means that I don’t have to put up with all their craziness. Oh, so he/she has a new partner? Well, let them deal with my ex—I am better off without them and now I am free and my life is now my own. They actually did me a favor. I am better off without my partner, and if anything, I can actually feel happy and relieved that such toxicity is no longer in my life, dragging me down.
If resentment is still holding you prisoner, you do not have to fight the battle alone.
It’s normal to have some residual hard feelings after a split. However, if you find yourself not being able to shake it, remember that you have options for reaching out for a little assistance. Depending on your needs, you may find that working with a divorce coach or a therapist can help you pinpoint what is holding you back and can help you move on.
You should not have to be a prisoner to feeling bitter, and there is no reason that it needs to control your life.
Remember that you are better than that, and that you deserve a hell of a lot more for yourself and your future than letting those feelings of resentment and unjust treatment weigh you down. You have an awesome future ahead of you and you deserve it.