Nothing can ever erase the fact your ex-husband treated you abysmally during your marriage and divorce. However, hanging on to your hatred will merely taint your future with shadows of the past that are best erased. Making a conscious effort to rid yourself of that lingering darkness will help you to move on and enjoy your life.
1. Accept What Happened
Your ex-husband may have harmed you in ways that you find difficult to heal from, and may show no sign that he will ever apologize or even recognize that his actions were hurtful. Accept that he may never do so, and that forgiveness is important even if you feel he does not deserve it. You may feel that you are allowing him to "get away with it," says counseling psychologist Will Meek on his website. This can have the effect of binding you to the pain from your relationship, however, and when you forgive, you forge a path of healing so that you can continue with a happy, fruitful life.
2. Cultivate Compassion
When you hate someone, the very idea of developing compassion for them may make you feel like running for the nearest toilet to vomit. Doing so, however, empowers you as you realize that your ex-husband is only human, and a flawed human at that. Understand that taking this point of view does not free your ex from responsibility for his actions, says cultural anthropologist Janice Harper in a June 2013 "Psychology Today" article. It does help you recognize that your ex does not have supernatural monstrous powers, but is a mere mortal who struggles with his dark side.
While you will not want to erase your memory to the point that you happily allow your ex-husband back into your life, changing your thoughts when you find yourself ruminating over his lies or abuse can help you to release your hatred. When you catch yourself becoming upset over a memory of a past event, change your thoughts, says Harper. Fill the space previously occupied by thoughts of anger or revenge with happiness or a deliberate focus on something that gives you greater peace.
4. Embrace the Process
Letting go of your anger and forgiving someone is an ongoing process, says Meek. It is a misconception to think that once you manage to forgive your ex-husband that you will never again have feelings of hatred well up inside you. You may need to make a conscious effort to forgive your ex every day for a long time to come. Don't beat yourself up if you find yourself sliding back into old thought patterns -- just work to change them for the better. In the end, you will find that this challenging breakup has provided you with the opportunity to become wiser and better able to control your thoughts and emotions.
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