Dealing with Anger After a Breakup

In my reaction to dehumanize the object of my anger, I have forgotten compassion. Compassion for him, and compassion for myself.

Amy C Written by Amy C · 1 min read >

It’s been ten months since my breakup, and there are still moments where I feel extremely emotional. Bouts of sorrow and missing have passed, but it feels as if the sadness has morphed into another feeling: anger. I’d like to think that anger is the last stage of mourning, before fully healing. However, I think that the anger reveals something deeper about myself that I have to face.

I am angry that I gave my heart to someone who chose to recklessly break it into pieces. I am angry that things ended so badly and tumultuously, that all the good that once existed between us has turned into memories of betrayal and pain. I am angry that I didn’t set clearer boundaries, made excuses when things didn’t feel right, and that I allowed myself to get so hurt. I am angry that I chose “wrong”.

I have realized that in my resentment, I’ve projected this anger. And in that realization, I understand that it’s not him that I’m really angry at, it is myself. I blame myself. I question how much of the life I had was real versus a story of the person I thought I was with. And in my reaction to dehumanize the object of my anger, I have forgotten compassion. Compassion for him, and compassion for myself.

I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this emotional phase. Being hard on myself has been a habit I’ve adopted since being a young girl, and remembering to be gentle and kind to myself does not come easy. The solutions oriented side of me has exhausted almost every possible activity to try to heal. From reiki, to therapy, I think I’ve tried pretty much everything short of hypnotism and witchcraft.

I usually end my blogs with some positive and hopeful message. But this time, I don’t have one. I’m still trying to figure it out, and sometimes, it feels like an overwhelming mess. I guess all I can do is try to lean in to my emotions when I feel them, and in my reactions of anger and pain, try my hardest to switch my thoughts to ones of compassion. I won’t win every time, and I’ve probably failed at this more than I have succeeded, but hopefully with more practice it will eventually become easier.


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Photo credit: Jack Fussell

Written by Amy C
Amy Chan is the Founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart. Marie Claire calls her "A relationship expert whose work is like that of a scientific Carrie Bradshaw" and her company has been featured across national media including Good Morning America, Vogue, Glamour, Nightline along with the front page of The New York Times. Her book, Breakup Bootcamp - The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, published by Harper Collins, will be released Fall 2020. Profile

36 Replies to “Dealing with Anger After a Breakup”

  1. I’m in exact same place. 10 years of a very good relationship but suddenly.. It’s been 10 months I really hope I will get better. Soon..

  2. I can relate oh so very much to your posts. I genuinely thank you for sharing such private, deep, and emotional thoughts with us. I am currently going through such a hard time and as I identify with all the details of your post, I realize that sooner or later I will relate to the positive ideas. Again, thank you!

  3. I feel very similar — angry he couldn’t do the bare minimum I asked for while doing all of the work in the relationship.
    It eats me up. I journal everyday but right now, its still the biggest blow to my heart.

  4. Having been out of a 15 year relationship for about a year (followed by a brief rebound) , I realize that old adage about life giving you the same lesson over and over until you learn it, is quite true for me. I grew up with neglectful and abusive parents, and almost every man I’ve picked has been checked out (I got the abuse part earlier). I think there’s a fine line between blaming oneself and taking responsibility. Self-blame continues a cycle of pain and hurt whereas taking responsibility is more along the lines of understanding that you’ve made mistakes and now have the power to grieve and move on. I have been angry that it’s taken so long for me (I’m 49) to figure it out but what can I say, I’ve done the best I can and am now in a relationship with a beautiful, creative, PRESENT man. I wasn’t expecting or wanting to get involved but he just showed up-so far so good. I’m also seeing a therapist to deal with earlier traumatic wounds-some things become biologically entrenched (for more information on that-look up Diane Poole Heller/Peter Levine and/or Robert Sapolsky). I also highly recommend the book, “How to be an Adult in Relationships”-it’s a mix of psychology and spirituality (along Buddhist lines). I wish you and your readers the best in your endeavors.

  5. Reading your blog made me feel like I’m not alone…Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been struggling to deal with all the anger left within me after my breakup. Suggestions please, i’m ready to try anything.

  6. My fiancé broke up with me over the phone on my birthday 6 weeks ago. The pain and emotions have been overwhelming. He totally shut down emotionally and said that there was to be no discussion or resolution. He started projecting all his story on me. After he came to his senses we discussed what was at the root of everything. We were both sexually abused as children. I have done a lot on my healing journey. Whereas he only started seeing a pyschologist just over a year ago. About 6 months ago he stopped seeing her….she said he needed to decide whether he tells his family and confronts his abuser (my ex is in his early 40’s and has never told his family). I could see him start to unravel about 6 months ago and asked him to go back to the pyschologist. He said he was fine and did not need to tell his family etc….from my experience I knew better. The ‘secret’ and shame eats away at you like a disease. I am so hurt and angry at my ex. He said he feels inadequate and not good enough for me. He said he still loves me but this is the right thing to do because he cannot give me what I want. The catch 22 is that I actually understand how he feels because I have walked the same path with my abuse and healing. I know I cannot be with a man who feels inadequate….if he does not do the work to heal his past. He is a good man and it is difficult to separate my empathy for his past, that he is a wonderful loving man and how he has been cruel and discarded me. We moved in together and I made a beautiful home for us and his 2 children. Three months later be breaks up with me because he said he cannot cope. All along he was encouraging me and planning our future together….and then he just pulls the rug from our lives. He had fears about marrying again….this would have been my first marriage. I am starting to feel angry but still mainly hurt and pain. To see someone I love in pain and to not be able to help him is torture. I am angry with myself to not have recognized the signs that he was not coping. I am angry with his abuser (a present family member). I am angry that our future has been destroyed because of our pasts. I want to be angry with him….but all I seem to have is empathy, understanding, compassion and love. What is wrong with me?! I feel hurt but not bitter. He was not honest about his feelings and allowed me to uproot my life, move away from my family and build a future and dreams for our life together! Now I am trying to rebuild my life again. When will the hurting and pain end?

    1. Hope,
      Reading your story about an hour ago actually pulled me out of a three day long storm of rage, and perhaps to a more empathetic place. your story sounded oh so familiar, almost exactly, in fact. Only difference is, im not sure exactly that sexual abuse is the real factor behind his feelings of insecurity and inadequecy, though he has admitted that a family member had tried some “stuff” with him before, i never fully beleived that was the full extent of it. Or maybe it was..i may never know. I see you posted in January, and am wondering, how the situation has progressed? Does a woman simply dump these situations and move on with her life? can two people progress together? What would ever make him feel worthy of you, or is that just an excuse? Anyways, would be interested to hear the rest of your story, if there is more to tell.
      Sincerely, Trinity

  7. Thank you for writing this, the first few paragraphs are exactly how I’ve been feeling… I find comfort in that.

  8. i had a relationship with a 47yrs old guy and we broke up coz he said i have too much anger and bitterness,he cant deal with me anymore,im so hurting and heart breaking,I thot he will be there for me to overcome this situation since he identified i have a psychological problem but he only sees danger in me.I wish one day i could meet a guy who trully understands me BIG time,im sad cos i expressed love as soon as possible to him but he was holding back,I did everything to save this affair but i failed hey.

  9. I just passed my 10 month mark and I feel this way. I know the feeling of resentment toward myself and for the first time in a long time I have been able to cry sober after reading your blog. I knew that there were people who know/knew how I felt, I know/knew that someone out there got it; I just don’t have it at home… My parents have been together for over 20 years, my sisters are too young to have had a relationship like the one I had, and my closest friends are either happily committed or happily single. I used to think that even if I wasn’t perfect, I was very close to it, but I learned after the breakup that I am so imperfect it’s laughable.

    I hate feeling anger and resentment towards myself. I hate feeling like the hole left in my chest will never be filled. I hate feeling angry at every person that is happy or makes me think of him because it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to those people and it isn’t fair to me.

    Thank you for sharing. I’m glad that someone out there knew at one point what this pain felt like. I hope you have found your hope or positive statement now as I realize that this was written 9 months ago and if so I’m glad, if not I hope you do.

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