Rose was so mad she could hardly see straight. She and her husband, Jim, were six months into their "trial separation" when she discovered that he had been dating someone else. Reeling from the impact of the painful news, she sped over to his new apartment, intent on learning every last detail about the new woman in his life. Her heart pounded and terrifying questions flashed through her mind as she drove: "How could he have lied to me? Who was this other woman? Was she attractive?" And, perhaps worst of all, "What was I thinking when I suggested that we should separate?"
At Jim's apartment, a deep and uncontrollable rage rose up inside Rose's chest as she pounded her fist again and again on the dining-room table. "How could you do this to me?" she cried, as Jim sat and watched, white-faced and speechless as the breakfast dishes flew off the table and smashed into pieces on the floor. He had no idea how to react
Anger is a familiar emotion for all of us. And in healthy relationships, it can be an overwhelmingly positive force in our lives. "Anger is a very healthy emotion," says Chet Mirman, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Divorce Recovery. "Healthy anger can tell us if there's something wrong
But for couples who are going through separation or divorce, anger is often anything but healthy. In her informative book The Good Divorce, Dr. Constance Ahrons defines divorce-related anger as "an extreme rage, vindictiveness, and over-powering bitterness that is felt when a love relationship is ending. It is a special kind of anger that usually hasn't been experienced before."