Managing Anger After A Breakup: Strategies For Healing And Moving Forward

October 17, 2023
Filipe Bastos
One person stands alone on a mountaintop, exuding determination and resilience.

Breaking up is tough, and managing the anger that follows can pose a real struggle. An avalanche of emotions like denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance commonly hit many individuals post-breakup.

This article offers practical strategies to handle the feeling of anger by acknowledging it healthily rather than suppressing it in order to pave the way for healing and moving forward.

Dive into this guide; you’re one step closer to conquering your emotional aftermath!

Key Takeaways

  • After a breakup, it is common to experience stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages may occur in different orders for different people.
  • There are three types of anger that can arise after a breakup: displaced anger (directing anger towards others), passive-aggressive anger (expressing anger indirectly), and redirected anger (taking out anger on unrelated things or people).
  • To manage anger after a breakup, it is important to be aware of your feelings, identify the type of anger you are experiencing, choose healthy ways to express it (like journaling or talking to someone), address the root cause of your emotions through therapy if needed, and develop a positive outlook by focusing on personal growth and self-care.
  • Seeking support from friends, family, or professionals is crucial for healing after a breakup. Writing about the positive aspects of the relationship’s end can also help build empowerment and reduce negative emotions. Engaging in physical activities can also be a helpful way to deal with your anger.

The 5 (Potential) Stages of a Breakup, According to Relationship Experts

A broken heart-shaped necklace on a deserted beach at sunset.

Relationship experts have identified five potential stages of a breakup, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.


Denial is a stage many people go through after a breakup. It’s like a shock to your heart and mind. This stage helps you slow down the sadness from the breakup. Sometimes, people use denial as a shield to hide from hard feelings.

You may say things like “This can’t be true” or “I don’t believe it happened.” These words show that you are in denial about the end of your relationship. There is no set order for when this stage will happen in your healing journey.

Everyone goes through grief in different ways and at different times.


The second stage after a breakup is often anger. This feeling may boil up as you face the heartbreak. You might blame your ex or even yourself for the failure of the relationship. Anger can take different forms and intensities after a breakup.

Some people express their anger openly, while others hide it deep inside. Both ways are common but can cause problems if not handled in healthy ways. Facing this anger stage head-on is key to overcome a post-breakup stage of grief.


Bargaining is a common step in dealing with heartbreak. It comes after the anger stage of grief in a breakup. People who bargain try to make deals or changes to fix things. They might think about how they can change the end of their relationship.

This is their way to feel like they have control over the situation when they are upset. Bargaining helps people cope with the hard feelings that come from a breakup. Each person may not follow these stages in order, and bargaining could happen at different times for everyone.


Depression is a common experience after a breakup. It can be diagnosed as an adjustment disorder with depressed mood, which means that the end of the relationship has triggered feelings of sadness and despair.

Experiencing depressive symptoms during this period is considered normal and part of the grieving process. However, it’s important to seek support if these symptoms persist or worsen over time.

Therapy or counseling can be beneficial in helping individuals cope with their grief and navigate through feelings of depression. Ending a relationship, especially when strong emotions are still present, can contribute to these feelings, so it’s essential to take care of one’s mental health during this time.


Acceptance is a crucial stage in healing and moving forward after a breakup. Relationship experts agree that accepting the end of a relationship is an important step in the process of healing and finding closure.

Therapists often see individuals go through different emotional stages, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance when dealing with a breakup. Acceptance means acknowledging that the relationship has ended and coming to terms with it.

It doesn’t mean forgetting or pretending that everything is okay right away; instead, it’s about allowing yourself to feel your emotions and gradually accepting the reality of the situation.

The Three Types of Anger After a Breakup

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After a breakup, individuals may experience three types of anger: displaced angerpassive-aggressive anger, and redirected anger.

Displaced anger

Displaced anger is a type of anger that happens when someone takes out their frustration or rage on someone or something other than the actual cause. It can be external, where someone acts openly angry towards someone who doesn’t deserve it.

This kind of anger perpetuates negativity and starts a cycle of fights. Understanding the reasons behind displaced anger, such as childhood trauma or unresolved issues, can help in dealing with it effectively.

By addressing the root causes and finding healthy ways to express our emotions, we can break free from this destructive pattern and move forward in our healing journey after a breakup.

Passive-aggressive anger

Passive-aggressive anger is a type of anger that can happen after a breakup. It’s when someone feels angry but doesn’t express it directly. Instead, they may act in ways that are not straightforward or honest.

This kind of behavior can be complicated and might show up in different ways. It often happens when there is hostility and anger involved in the breakup, causing people to respond indirectly instead of openly expressing their feelings.

Redirected anger

Redirected anger is when you feel angry and upset after a breakup, but instead of dealing with those feelings directly, you take them out on other people or unrelated things. This can happen because the pain from the breakup feels overwhelming, and it’s easier to direct your anger elsewhere.

However, redirected anger can have negative consequences for your mental and emotional well-being. It’s important to recognize this type of anger and find healthy ways to manage it so that you can heal and move forward after a breakup.

Seeking professional help or therapy can be beneficial in learning how to cope with and process your emotions in a constructive way.

Strategies for Dealing with Anger After a Breakup

Be aware of your feelings, identify the type of anger you are experiencing, and choose a healthy way to express it. Work on addressing the root cause of your anger and developing a positive outlook.

Don’t hesitate to talk about your feelings with trusted friends or seek professional help if needed. Practice mindfulness to stay present in the moment and cultivate inner peace.

Be aware of your feelings

It’s important to be aware of your feelings after a breakup. Recognizing and acknowledging your emotions can help you process them better. Whether it’s anger, sadness, or resentment, allowing yourself to feel these emotions is a normal part of healing.

Don’t try to suppress or ignore what you’re feeling. Instead, give yourself permission to experience your emotions fully. This self-awareness will help you understand the impact the breakup has had on you and allow you to take steps towards healing and moving forward.

Identify the type of anger

There are three types of anger that can arise after a breakup. The first type is displaced anger, which means directing your anger towards someone or something unrelated to the breakup.

The second type is passive-aggressive anger, where you express your anger indirectly through subtle behaviors or comments. Lastly, there is redirected anger, where you redirect your anger towards yourself and blame yourself for the end of the relationship.

It’s important to identify which type of anger you’re experiencing in order to find healthy ways to cope with it and move forward.

Choose a healthy way to express it

Expressing anger in a healthy way is vital after a breakup. It allows you to release pent-up emotions and find liberation. There are various ways to express anger healthily, such as journaling your feelingsengaging in physical activities like exercising or doing yoga, talking to a trusted friend or therapist about what you’re going through, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

These methods can help you process your emotions effectively and avoid letting anger consume you. Seeking therapy or counseling can also be beneficial in providing guidance and support during this challenging time.

Remember that expressing your anger constructively is an important step towards healing and moving forward after a breakup.

Work on the root cause

To effectively manage anger after a breakup, it’s important to work on addressing the root cause of your emotions. Take some time to reflect and understand why you are feeling angry.

It could be related to unresolved issues from the relationship or deep-seated insecurities. By identifying these underlying factors, you can begin to heal and move forward. Consider seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, which can provide guidance in exploring and resolving these emotional wounds.

Remember that healing takes time, so be patient with yourself during this process.

Develop a positive outlook

Developing a positive outlook is crucial when dealing with anger after a breakup. It involves shifting your focus towards the future and finding hope in new beginnings. Rather than dwelling on negative emotions, try to see the breakup as an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery.

Remind yourself that you have the power to create a happier and healthier life moving forward. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can help lift your spirits and encourage positive thinking.

Engaging in activities that bring you joy and practicing self-care can also contribute to developing a more optimistic mindset. By cultivating a positive outlook, you can better navigate through the challenges of healing after a breakup and find renewed happiness in your life.

Talk it out

Talking about your feelings and experiences after a breakup is important for healing and moving forward. Sharing with trusted individuals, such as friends or family, can provide support and comfort during this difficult time.

Expressing your emotions out loud can help you process them better and gain new perspectives. It’s also helpful to seek professional guidance from therapists or counselors who specialize in breakups and relationships.

They can offer valuable insights, techniques, and strategies to navigate through the anger and pain of a breakup. Remember that seeking support is not a sign of weakness, but rather a step towards healing and finding inner strength.

Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is an important strategy for dealing with anger after a breakup. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and accepting your feelings without judgment.

It can help you become aware of your emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations related to anger, allowing you to observe them without getting caught up in them. By staying present and mindful, you can gain a better understanding of your anger triggers and choose healthier ways to respond to it.

Mindful meditation can also be beneficial, as it helps calm the mind and relax the body, reducing feelings of anger. Integrating mindfulness practices into your daily routine can aid in healing after a breakup and promote positive coping strategies.

The Importance of Acceptance and Expression

Acceptance and expression play a crucial role in anger management after a breakup. It’s important to acknowledge and accept the negative emotions that come with the end of a relationship.

Instead of suppressing or ignoring these feelings, it is healthier to express them in a constructive way. By expressing our emotions, whether through talking to friends or writing in a journal, we allow ourselves to process and release anger.

Furthermore, acceptance is also key in moving forward after a breakup. Accepting that the relationship has ended and that it’s okay to feel upset or angry can help us let go of resentment.

It allows us to focus on healing and finding happiness again. Acceptance doesn’t mean minimizing or invalidating our pain but rather acknowledging it while also being open to new possibilities.

Combining acceptance with healthy expression can lead to personal growth and emotional well-being post-breakup. Through acceptance and expression, we give ourselves permission to heal and move forward towards better days ahead.

Overcoming Anger After a Breakup

In this section, individuals share their personal experiences of overcoming anger after a breakup, including realizations about self-esteem, accepting responsibility, and discovering healthy ways to channel their anger.

Realizations about self-esteem

Having low self-esteem can greatly impact how we handle anger after a breakup. It’s important to realize that our feelings of anger may stem from a lack of confidence and a negative self-image.

By recognizing these underlying factors, we can start working towards rebuilding our self-esteem. This involves practicing self-love, engaging in self-care activities, and reflecting on our strengths and accomplishments.

Through counseling or therapy, we can also address any deep-seated issues affecting our self-esteem and learn healthier ways to cope with anger during the healing process.

Accepting responsibility

Accepting responsibility is a crucial step in managing anger after a breakup. It means acknowledging your role in the relationship’s end and taking ownership of your emotions and actions.

By accepting responsibility, you can begin to heal and move forward. Taking charge of your own happiness and making necessary changes becomes possible when you accept responsibility for your part in the breakup.

Letting go of past grievances, even without receiving an apology, can aid in the healing process. Being honest with yourself about the reasons for the breakup is also important. Therapy techniques can assist individuals in letting go of past relationship trauma and finding healthier ways to handle their anger.

Healthy ways to channel anger

One healthy way to channel anger after a breakup is through physical activity. Going for a run, hitting the gym, or engaging in any form of exercise can help release pent-up frustration and stress.

It also releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Another effective method is journaling or writing down your thoughts and feelings. This allows you to express your anger in a safe space without hurting others.

Additionally, seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist can provide an outlet for sharing your emotions and receiving guidance on healthier ways to cope with anger after a breakup.


In conclusion, managing anger after a breakup is crucial for healing and moving forward. It’s important to accept and express your anger rather than keep it inside. Remember, feeling angry is a normal part of the grieving process.

Understanding your anger and using healthy strategies to cope with it can help you navigate through the pain and emerge stronger on the other side. Don’t rush the healing process, give yourself time and patience to heal from the breakup.


Q: How long does it take to get over a breakup?

A: The time it takes to get over a breakup varies for each individual. It can range from a few weeks to several months or even longer. It depends on factors such as the length of the relationship, the level of emotional attachment, and individual coping mechanisms.

Q: What are the best ways to deal with anger after a breakup?

A: There are several effective strategies to deal with anger after a breakup. Some of the most powerful ways include expressing your emotions through writing or talking to a trusted friend, engaging in physical exercise as an outlet for your anger, using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation, and seeking professional help if you feel overwhelmed by your anger.

Q: Is it normal to feel anger after a breakup?

A: Yes, feeling anger after a breakup is a normal part of the grieving process. It is common to experience a range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and confusion. It is important to give yourself permission to feel these emotions and to find healthy ways to express and process your anger.

Q: How can I manage anger after a breakup?

A: Managing anger after a breakup involves finding healthy outlets and coping mechanisms. Some recommended strategies include engaging in physical activities to release pent-up energy, practicing self-care to reduce stress, seeking support from friends or a support group, and seeking professional help if you have ongoing anger issues.

Q: What are the five stages of grief and how do they relate to anger after a breakup?

A: The five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) are commonly experienced after a breakup. Anger is a natural response during the grieving process and often accompanies feelings of loss. Understanding and recognizing these stages can help you navigate your emotions and eventually find healing and acceptance.

Q: Is there a right or wrong way to deal with anger after a breakup?

A: There is no right or wrong way to deal with anger after a breakup. Different strategies work for different individuals. It is important to find healthy and constructive ways to cope with your anger, rather than resorting to destructive behaviors. Experiment with different techniques and choose what works best for you.

Q: How can I get over a breakup and move forward?

A: Getting over a breakup and moving forward involves focusing on self-care, surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends and family, finding healthy ways to express your emotions, and giving yourself time to heal. It can also be helpful to set new goals, engage in new activities, and take steps to build a fulfilling life beyond your past relationship.

Q: Is it helpful to write a letter to my ex to express my anger?

A: Writing a letter to your ex can be a therapeutic way to express your anger, but it is important to consider the potential consequences. Not all situations are the same, and it is important to assess whether writing a letter will be helpful for your healing process. If you decide to write a letter, consider whether sending it or simply writing it for your own closure will be more beneficial.

Q: Can I use relaxation techniques to help deal with my anger after a breakup?

A: Yes, relaxation techniques can be very effective in helping you deal with anger after a breakup. Practices such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation can help calm your mind and body, reduce stress, and promote emotional well-being.

Q: Is it normal to still feel angry even if the relationship wasn’t healthy?

A: Yes, it is normal to feel angry after a breakup, even if the relationship wasn’t healthy. Anger is often a response to feeling hurt, betrayed, or disappointed. Recognize that it’s okay to feel these emotions and give yourself time to heal. Seeking professional help can also be beneficial in processing and working through any residual anger or trauma from the relationship.

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