Why Am I Still Angry At My Ex Years Later?
Why are some relationships so hard to let go of? Even after years apart, they still seem to haunt us.
Relationships are tricky things. They can bring out the best or worst in us. Sometimes, even though we want to move on, we can’t.
There are a number of reasons why we harbor anger towards ex-partners that did us wrong, even years later.
Hurt and pain are something that needs to be worked through, and often it manifests itself into anger, meaning you continue to carry negative feelings and thoughts after a relationship has ended.
In this guide we speak about the many reasons why you may still be angry at your ex years later and show you simple ways to take the first step in moving forward and through this anger, helping to give you a more positive frame of mind and the ability to let go.
Reasons You May Still Be Angry With Your Ex
There are several reasons why you might still be holding onto old hurts from your past. Here’s a look at what you may be struggling with:
You Were Hurt
If an ex has hurt you this is a huge reason why you may still be angry with them. They may have hurt you verbally, emotionally, or physically each of which leaves a lasting mark.
They might have cheated on you. All of these actions leave you confused and angry, and often you do not get a reason why any of these things happened to you.
For abusers and adulterers, it is very easy to walk away from a situation without giving closure to those that they hurt.
You feel angry and resentment because you are trying to understand why these things happened to you, and you feel you have no sure way of knowing which can make you angry, manifesting in hatred towards your ex.
You Still Have Feelings For Them
For some, if you still love your ex after a relationship has ended you may be afraid to let go of feelings of hatred as you may feel that letting go of this emotion may result in your losing love for them too.
Being angry with someone is a way of keeping them in your mind, but it can be hurtful to the heart.
You want them to know that you are angry to try to strike up a conversation to try to deal with your feelings and ultimately see if they still feel the same way about you.
Afraid To Move On
When you have been angry for so long your anger can become like a safety blanket, giving you a reason to keep your walls up and protect yourself from others.
Letting go of that anger can feel like a breakup again in itself as you allow yourself to be open to feeling other emotions.
Letting go of anger is a positive as it lets you too fully close the book on a previous relationship while also giving you space to understand why you are angry and what has happened.
This may be scary, but only you can help yourself to move on from these negative feelings and there will be light at the end of the tunnel and a new life waiting for you.
How To Forgive Your Ex And Move On
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. It can help you heal from the past, but it’s also something that you have to do for yourself. If you want to be happy in life, forgiveness is an essential part of healing.
The first step in forgiving your ex is understanding why you are angry, is it because they did something wrong? Or was it more complicated than that? Maybe it was a combination of both.
Once you understand why you’re angry, you can begin to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning their behavior. Instead, it means acknowledging that their actions were wrong.
You can forgive your ex without having any contact with them. However, if you want to maintain a healthy relationship, you should try to talk to them.
This way, you can tell them how you feel and ask for their support. If you don’t want to speak to them directly you can send a letter or a text message, whichever feels safest to you.
If you decide to stay in touch with your ex, it’s important to keep your boundaries clear. Don’t allow your ex to control you and set limits on your time together.
If you believe that your ex has changed, then you shouldn’t hold grudges against them. But if you’re still mad at them, then you need to take steps to get over it.
How To Move Past Anger
The key is to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning what happened or giving up on your goals. It means letting go of the pain and allowing yourself to live again.
When you forgive yourself, you stop blaming yourself for things that happened in the past.
You accept that you have had certain difficult experiences but that you are going to process and move through them to give yourself a better chance at being happy.
So how do you start to move past anger? Here are some ways to begin:
Process The Past
Take time to think about reasons why you feel angry, what happened and how those events made you feel. Consider writing them down so that you can see them in front of you and take your thoughts out of your head.
When you are taking time to process the past, make sure you are in a safe and comfortable environment. You may choose to do it alone in a corner of your room with a comfy pillow, or you may choose to do it with your friends.
Simply by considering the events that have caused your anger you will be able to realize what you need to do to help yourself with moving forward.
Spend Time On You
Find ways to be kind to yourself as you move through this process. Treat yourself like a friend.
Consider journaling or doing meditation or other soothing activities that will benefit your mental health.
If things are difficult, and you are struggling try to move away from your anger at a slower rate. Do what feels right for you, don’t feel you need to put yourself in an uncomfortable position.
Speak To Others
Speaking to others about how you are feeling may help you to process your thoughts.
Friends and family will be that supportive voice helping you to understand that the actions of others are not an influence on you as an individual.
They will be there to console you and help to pick you up. If you find that mentally you are struggling it may be worthwhile speaking to a medical professional to seek further help.
Talking to someone is a very brave thing to do and for some, it can be hugely beneficial when processing the past and moving forward.
Seeking closure can come in many forms. You may choose to put any memorabilia from your relationship into the garbage, or you may choose to box it away.
Getting rid of external reminders in your environment can be a great way of getting rid of triggers in your life that remind you of your anger for your ex on a daily basis.
You may select to meet and speak with your ex or write them a letter. If you write a letter you may not decide to send it to them, you may pick to burn it or bury it, but this activity will help to bring closure.
Again, closure should be done at the right pace for each individual. Don’t rush into anything you do not feel comfortable with. Remember you are doing this to help and benefit your life, not for anyone else.
The first step to helping yourself is putting the advice in this article into practice. Even reading this piece shows that you want to move away from your feelings of anger and stop feeling anger towards your ex.
Maybe you are considering letting someone else into your life, or maybe you want to process and move on from the past, whatever the case maybe you have chosen to show up for yourself and you will be able to move into a happier mindset over time.
Remember to be kind to yourself, healing can take time.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: September 24, 2023