How is it that the deepest love turns so easily into the most intense hatred? In divorce, the anger often gets rationalised into endless argument over parting arrangements.
Yet even the most stable relationships are characterised by a balancing act between love and hate, hence perhaps once the love has gone, only hate remains.
All close relationships are accompanied by tension because they involve sacrifice of individual needs to accommodate the requirements of a couple.
Ironically, those prone to the most anger might be the ones who sensed something was going wrong early on in the relationship but mistakenly thought doubling their sacrifice was the answer.
Yet they forget that just as it takes two to tango, so it takes two to tangle. The allocation of fault is usually fruitless, and the first steps to anger management in all post-divorce therapy is to accept some mutual responsibility for the break-up.
Even ten years after divorce, research has found undiminished resentment towards the ex-partner in a significant proportion of women, though this kind of long-term anger is less common in men.
Hatred also arises because of a sense of `how dare they do this to me’. This `abandonment rage’ is more likely in those described by pychiatrists as narcissists (having excessive self-love).
The narcissistic choose particular relationships because they bolster their own self-esteem.
Intense anger follows the break-up because the narcissist sees any departure as losing something which rightfully belongs to them, hence the consequent need to argue over possessions.
Research has found men who are successful in their pursuit of their career goals are usually so self-centred that their female partner’s emotional needs end up more frustrated than those in relationships with less`self-actualised’ men.
Perhaps the greatest problem competitive people face in relationships is that they eventually compete with one other.