Letting Go Of The Anger After A Breakup When You’re A Mom
by Leslie Robinson
The anger is palpable. It resonates through your chest, you can’t eat, you don’t sleep; who knew a broken heart could feel so…real. Going through a breakup is hard enough as it is but imagine the stress and the pain when you’re experiencing it with a child in tow. Having to keep yourself together while you and your ex try to figure out how the dynamics of your interactions will now play out. I’ve been there, I’ve struggled trying to understand how my life would now work without my child’s father being in our life. There were days when I felt like I would never make to the other side.
But then one day a pair of small brown eyes looked up at me and asked, “Mommy, why are you always so angry?” and that’s when I knew things had to change.
Making the conscious decision to not be angry takes work. It takes effort and time to get to a place where the actions of someone you have spent a significant amount of time with, thinking you are building toward something, don’t affect you. When you can finally recognize that their poor choices, though they may bring you pain, are not your fault. It can be difficult to not let their words, the way they live their life, and how they left yours not keep you in a place of despair. The time after a breakup is hard, but when you’re a mom you must realize that the hurt you are harboring is only having an effect you and your child. The person you are seething over may have moved on, and there you are on your couch surrounded by your friends bitterness and anger. Letting go of these things is not an easy task but ultimately it is freeing.
Watching my own mother be a single parent taught me something about grace that I never knew I would need.
It taught me that I should never let my circumstance become the whole of who I was and I certainly should not hold onto the reins of pain walking a dead relationship horse around behind me as a trophy for how good of a mother I am. From her I learned that moving on from a broken marriage or relationship is the best way to teach my child how to get through a battle. My mother never spoke ill of my father no matter how she may have felt inside, from her I learned to never teach my daughter how to feel about her father based on what I went through with him. As mothers it is our responsibility to train our children how to navigate the trying waters of the world, equipping them with the ability to come out on the other side of pain without too many scars. Because of my mother’s example, keeping her head high and choosing not to expose my sister and I to her frustration; our relationship with our father was based on our own experiences and not the remnants of their breakup.
I have seen and know of some mothers who struggle to bounce back. At every turn they are dragging their child’s father through the mud, they are clutching onto his missteps so tightly thinking if they loosen the grip on his wrongs it means they are approving his behavior. I have seen women who do their best to make these absent fathers lives a living hell or find every opportunity to discredit him, at what cost though? If child support payments aren’t made, if visits are few and far between, if the man is nothing but a mere breath of a memory – does your baby still have to eat? Do they still have to have clothes on their back and shoes on their feet? Even if you mumble under breath about how negligent their other parent is, you are still there doing what must be done. So why not relieve yourself of the trouble? Why not recognize that even in their absence you are still top dog? You are mother. You are here and you get the pleasure of watching your child become all they can and want to be. Don’t hinder the relationship that needs all of you by giving life to the anger over something that is gone. Instead of transferring the burden onto your child and continuing to relive the loss over and over again, let go.
A wound can never fully heal if it is picked at. Each time a scab tries to form atop of the scar it is closer to disappearing but if you pick it, if you bad mouth that person, if you pick up the phone to scream at them about all the things they do wrong, if you mention their shortcomings every chance you get; the wound remains fresh. I encourage you to stop breathing life into that fire. Don’t spend your moments highlighting the failures of another when instead you could be relishing in the praise coming your way from being a good mom. Do not let your anger destroy the woman you are. Be happy, be free, be whole, it is the best thing your child could ever see. Deciding not be angry does not mean you are letting anyone off the hook, it means you are freeing yourself from the weight of a situation that did not pan out or from the choice of someone else to not be there. Sometimes mothers are so busy looking out for someone else they forget to take care of themselves. As a mom show your baby that life happens, but even through the trouble you can still find joy, peace, and something good in all you do.