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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Get Angry at Your Ex

Sometimes the more space we get from someone, the more we can accurately see their actions.

When we can see how harmful someone’s actions were, this can lead to latent anger.

Even though the person is no longer in our lives, we can see the impact and unfairness with more clarity. That clarity can cause more anger at them (what an asshole) and at ourselves (why do I put up with that?).

We cannot cure the assholes.

But we can certainly figure out why we put up with an asshole. Therapy is a wonderful place to do that. I’ve gone to therapy for that, and I’ve also helped therapy clients explore that in their therapy sessions.

"Anger from the Past' Illustration by Jackie Schuld

If you are angry about a past relationship, GOOD.

Get angry.

It’s good to be angry. Anger arises in us when something we value is in jeopardy. Anger can help us identify what we value and never want to compromise again.

For example, I dated someone who made me feel like my requests for physical affection meant I was needy and selfish. He would point out what emotional deficiencies in me made me want physical affection. He asserted that if I tended to my own needs, I wouldn’t need physical affection so much.

What was most insidious about his words to me was that they were laced with some truth. Yes, if we attend to our own needs, we will need less from other humans. HOWEVER, physical affection is a good and powerful thing. We need other people and connection with them is shown to be healing to the body and soul.

I was at a place in my life that I couldn’t see that or articulate it.

After I ended our relationship, more and more anger began to rise up in me about the various things he said to me.

This anger was good and necessary. It pointed me toward what grated against my values and soul. It gave me great starting points for my discussion with my therapist and my self-exploration in my journaling.

It helped me begin to unravel the harm that was inflicted.

It helped me understand what I valued so that I made wiser choices in the future.

So if a relationship recently ended and you’re angry. GOOD. Get angry. Write it down. Capture It. Use it as fuel to get you to a place where no one will repeatedly harm you like that again.


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