Dear Dr. Archer,
I need to find a way to get past this intense anger I still have towards my ex-husband. I don't mean a violent, physical anger. I'm talking about the anger I have at him for totally ruining not only our lives, but also our children's lives by being fiscally irresponsible and leaving us on the brink of bankruptcy.
While we were married, instead of saving money for a rainy day, he kept saying we had plenty of time, and would just spend, spend, spend. He also had a thing about keeping up with those Joneses. We lived far above our means and then he lost his job when the housing market fell through the floor.
We divorced last year, and now I'm struggling to keep the utilities on and food on the table. He's not a deadbeat dad; he does pay child support. I have a full time job besides being a full time mom, and don't think any second job I could get -- IF I could get one -- would help much.
I am so mad at him all the time for putting us in this position! How can I get past this?
I understand your anger, truly I do. Okay. So your ex was totally irresponsible and ruined the family life you loved. I get it. Divorce is difficult enough, but you lost much more than a marriage. It happens more than you might realize.
You've had your pity party and that's alright; you deserved it. It was good to get it out, but realize it's the past. It's been a year since your divorce, so at this point by dwelling on everything you've lost, you're only hurting yourself and your children.
At this point, Lisa, realize you are creating the anger you're feeling -- no one else. The reasons are understandable, but at this point all the anger is coming from within you and hurting you….and your children.
No matter what you tell them, they are learning by your example how to handle adversity. And to be honest, you're setting a poor example. This single fact alone should make you stand tall and do what has to be done.
Get rid of the things you positively don't need. Cut the corners where you can. Write down all your expenses and what you're spending on each. Now start slashing -- it can be done! There are things you don't want to give up, for sure, but in order to continue, tough decisions and tough action need to prevail.
A second job is always a possibility. For your second job, try to find something that you really enjoy so it's not really considered work in your mind. Don't give up on perhaps finding something you can do at home.
There are jobs out there; think outside the box, talk to your friends, post what you need to on Facebook and LinkedIn -- in other words, network!
If you see your finances are simply too overwhelming, then you can always fall back on bankruptcy. That's what it's there for, and it's a way for you to start over. Life isn't fair, Lisa, but we have to play the hand that was dealt to us.
You can change your attitude to one of being a survivor, or you can keep dwelling on the past and be a victim. I hope, especially for your children's sake, you choose the first. I know you can do this.
I'll finish with a quote by Washington Irving, who said, "Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them." You can continue to dwell on the past and lose.... or you can shake the dust off, stand tall, and set forth a new future, a better future, for you and your children. The decision really is all yours.