Holding Onto Anger Won’t Hurt Your Ex, But It Will Hurt You

Breakups suck, especially when it’s an acrimonious split. It might feel good to stay angry at a toxic ex, but that anger won’t hurt him. Spending your days seething with rage and throwing stuff at walls won’t affect him much, if at all—after all, you’re not together anymore. The only person who stands to get hurt is you.

  1. Feeling angry is normal; letting anger consume you isn’t. Who hasn’t felt angry towards an ex? It happens to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with you for being pissed off and it’s healthy to let yourself work through that. However, it isn’t healthy to allow that anger to burn out of control because you think it will somehow hurt your ex. By all means, be angry, but keep that anger in check and work towards letting it go.
  2. You’re capable of remembering the past without letting it hurt you. Don’t try to forget memories of your ex completely because you’re angry and hurting—remembering the past is a good thing. When you remember all the terrible things, you’ll be a wiser person who can recognize and avoid similar disasters in the future. One day, you’ll be able to recall the memories without reigniting the anger towards your ex. Choosing to stay angry and bury the past will hurt you and you alone.
  3. You have to move on. Holding onto anger will bring your life to a screeching halt. Your ex and the rest of the world won’t stop and stew in bitterness with you—they’ll keep moving along with no regard for your situation. Your anger is a powerful feeling to you but no one else feels it. If you want to find peace again, you need to let yourself move on.
  4. Anger generally makes you an unpleasant person. When you hold onto anger, it tends to seep into every area of your life. Your family, friends and coworkers are likely to notice when you’re being a cranky jerk all the time. Acting like that won’t hurt your ex but it will definitely hurt you and the other important relationships that matter to you the most.
  5. He’s your ex for a reason. The reasons for your breakup were probably painful and crappy but they were reasons nonetheless. Something just didn’t work between the two of you and going your separate ways was for the best. It’s okay to be angry about that but holding onto that anger and directing it towards someone who isn’t even in your life anymore will hurt you, not him.
  6. Anger will hold you back. Because it’s such an intense emotion, anger has a tendency to complicate things. Clinging to anger will cloud your thoughts and make it difficult for you to get through a typical day. That has no effect on your ex whatsoever but it will absolutely cripple you. Anger can be a strong motivating factor at times, but in the end, it’s just counterproductive. You’re already in pain—don’t let anger drag you down even more.
  7. Ignoring anger won’t make it go away. Pretending like your anger towards your ex doesn’t exist is no different than holding onto it. It’s still there, simmering underneath the surface and waiting to explode. You’re in the blasting zone, but your ex is free and clear. Hurting yourself with your own anger won’t get you anywhere. Acknowledge the anger monster and do your best to move past it.
  8. It’s okay to ask for help. If you need to find support or someone to vent to, do it. Choosing to hold onto your anger while refusing to reach out will hurt you. Your ex can’t help you anymore but your friends and family are there for you. When you have a solid support group you’ll be able to bounce back from anything. Take advantage of that.
  9. You’ll get through this. When your anger towards your ex is at its peak, it might feel like you’ll never be able to let it go but you’ll get there eventually. You’ll feel normal again one day, even though that seems impossible right now. The anger will subside if you let it and you’ll be a stronger person in the end.
  10. Find a healthy outlet. If you think you’re having trouble dealing with your anger, consider finding ways to release some of the tension (that don’t involve staying angry at your ex). There is a ton of stuff out there that’s great for dealing with lingering anger. Exercise is a great one, for example. You can join a boxing class and beat the crap out of a punching bag. You’ll work out your anger with your fists and get healthy at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Lauren Clark is a writer and news curator based in Denver, Colorado with bylines here on Bolde and at Inside.com. While she’s vehemently anti-social media, you can find her on LinkedIn.