Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by Angela Vaz
I feel you.
My ex was abusive to me for many years. And after spending so many years with him, I discovered that he was cheating on me with our married neighbor.
Words cannot express how much pain and anger I felt then.
It took me a long time to dissolve that anger and heal from that pain.
Sometimes, I still get nightmares about certain incidents and feel traumatized.
I’ve learned this from the last few years – healing isn’t linear.
It can happen in waves, and we can only be patient with ourselves because we are trying to sort through so many feelings while stumbling through life simultaneously.
Perhaps you feel anger towards your ex.
And you’re not able to pinpoint why.
In this post, I’ll talk about why you could feel this way and give tips on getting over those feelings.
I’ll also answer some questions you may have, and I’ve written several posts about similar topics, so I’ll link to those at the bottom of the post – be sure to check it out.
Let’s dive in.
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Is it normal to hate your ex years later?
First of all, it’s not uncommon to harbor these negative feelings towards your ex.
Especially if your relationship ended badly or the breakup was messy.
“Normal” varies from person to person.
Because we are all built differently, we have different emotions, and the nature of the situation also varies!
It is extremely normal to harbor feelings like sadness, anger, betrayal, hurt, resentment, or hatred after the relationship ends, especially if the breakup was very painful and came from nowhere.
However, if you cannot focus on anything else and fantasize about vengeance or constantly looking for closure, you need to address that.
It could indicate that you have unresolved issues and are emotionally distressed.
This will affect your life.
Basically, I did this for myself.
I forgave him and let it go for myself because I realized that my life is too important to hold on to anger and hatred.
I wanted to live peacefully, move on, and find love in myself and the world.
That would not happen if I kept holding on to that intense hatred.
Why do I still cry over my ex from years ago?
Because you’re human.
Because at some point, you felt intense feelings of love and friendship with your ex, and they impacted your life positively.
They made a difference to you, and sometimes you think about your ex fondly, or you’re reminiscing about what could have been.
Either way, it’s okay to remember people and think about them – it’s not a crime.
Emotions are very complex. Maybe you never processed those feelings, and from time to time, they creep up.
Certain places, songs, or events remind you of that relationship, and you tear up because those emotions are very strong.
Or maybe you are still grieving or have love for that person.
It’s okay to grieve and heal in your own time.
But if you feel that your feelings towards your ex are interfering with your ability to live life in the present properly – then yes, you do need to act on this and fix it.
I would suggest seeking support from a counselor so that they can guide you and help you move on.
You will need to process your emotions so that you can find closure.
Why am I still angry at my ex years later? 15 reasons why
This is one of the most common reasons I feel a person could be angry with their ex.
If the breakup involved cheating or a significant breach of trust – the hurt and anger will take a long time to resolve.
I genuinely felt like years of my life were wasted when I discovered my ex was cheating.
I remember thinking, “Why couldn’t he just tell me that he wanted to be with her and end the relationship with me? Why did he waste my precious time?”
That was what hurt me.
2. Unresolved issues
Maybe the breakup was messy.
If some unresolved issues and conflicts never get resolved, even during or after the breakup, those feelings can keep coming back and bother you long after the breakup.
This isn’t necessarily your fault.
Many people have trouble communicating their true feelings – instead of being honest, they beat around the bush, which can feel very messy and confusing.
So, you need to realize that this isn’t your problem to bear, especially if your ex didn’t give you much to work with during the breakup.
3. Unfair treatment
Perhaps your ex didn’t treat you well.
And now you know better; you’ve grown.
But those memories keep coming back. You know you were treated unfairly during the relationship.
You’ve seen kindness from other partners, and you’re contrasting that with how your ex treated you – so yes, that can lead to lingering anger.
4. Impact on self-esteem
If the breakup negatively affected your self-esteem or self-worth, you can harbor anger about the emotional damage your ex caused.
My ex would constantly make me feel bad about my acne.
His mother and the woman he cheated with had very clear skin, and I suffered from low self-esteem after the relationship ended.
Deep down, I felt really bad about my skin.
I really had to work on that insecurity for a bit.
Maybe you aren’t over your ex yet, and watching them move on to a new relationship or seeing them happy triggers strong emotions in you, like jealousy or anger.
This can happen if you feel self-worth is dependent on a relationship status.
Watching them move forward while you’re struggling with singleness may feel like they are achieving success and being single.
You need to realize that self-worth isn’t attached to relationship status.
It simply means they decided to spend their life with someone, and you’re still looking for a compatible partner – that’s all it is.
6. Financial disputes
If you are having arguments over money, shared assets, or financial support – that can lead to ongoing anger, especially if these issues were not resolved properly or you feel the judgment was not in your favor.
7. Parenting conflicts
This isn’t easy to get over.
Because once you have a child with someone, you are linked to that person for life.
Sharing children or having ongoing disputes over co-parenting responsibilities can result in long-term anger and resentment.
8. Lack of closure
Maybe there wasn’t proper communication between you both during the breakup.
Perhaps both of you or one of you was on edge, and you couldn’t process the breakup healthily.
This can result in long-term anger and resentment.
Maybe deep down, you are comparing yourself to your ex’s new partner, causing a lot of rage.
Or you cannot stop thinking about their success in life, fueling a lot of resentment and anger.
10. Emotional attachment
Love or feelings never go away entirely, especially if you and your ex were very much in love when the split happened.
You must remember you are a human being – not an on/off switch.
If this is the case and you are still reminiscing over the love you shared, or you’re unable to move on and are still upset about the breakup, then this can make it very difficult for you to let go of the anger even years later.
In this case, I highly recommend talking to a counselor or therapist so that you can process these feelings and move on.
Maybe you feel abandoned because that breakup or split happened unexpectedly.
If your ex abandoned you or left without proper support after the breakup, and you had to fend for yourself or figure out so many things about yourself, it’s understandable that you are angry about it.
12. Repeated patterns
If the relationship had a pattern of abuse, manipulation, or toxic behavior, this can leave a lasting impact on you.
This isn’t something people get over easily.
I’ve spoken to many women in abusive relationships, and they (me included) had to go through so much therapy to get over the PTSD that followed the split.
What happens is we feel shame and anger for allowing ourselves to have stayed in that situation.
If this is you, I want you to know that there’s nothing to feel bad about.
You did what you could at the time with the knowledge and resources you had.
Now that you’re aware, you can make better choices.
Don’t feel ashamed of your past – own it and use it to make better decisions from now on.
13. Unfinished business
Sometimes, people may still have unfinished personal goals or dreams connected to the relationship, which can eat them.
Maybe you had dreams you wanted to fulfill or saw certain desires and never got to fulfill them together.
This can lead to resentment, and it’s normal, especially if they’re still at the back of your mind.
14. Loss of friendships
It happens to most of us, I feel.
If you lost friends or social connections due to the breakup or due to your ex’s actions – this can feel sour.
Maybe you feel betrayed or angry because that friend meant a lot to you, and you still think about the past and are filled with regret.
All I can tell you is everyone changes.
And as we change and evolve, so do our friends.
If we evolve in the same trajectory – then the friendship will blossom.
But if not, then yes, we do part ways, and that’s okay.
It’s okay when friends come and go.
It’s a part of life. They played some role in shaping us; we can only wish them well and move on.
15. Emotional scars
If there was emotional and/or physical abuse – this could stay with you for a long time.
It’s not easy to get over.
Every time you are reminded of it, it will trigger a lot of anger or resentment.
I remember seeing someone who looked like my ex driving in a car towards me.
And out of instinct, I tightened the leashes around my dogs and walked quickly in the other direction while my heart pounded.
I remember feeling fear and, afterward, so much anger over how much control my ex still had over me.
This can take years to get over, so I highly recommend talking to a professional therapist or counselor to work out the trauma and feelings you experience.
I know what you’re going through isn’t easy.
But you have overcome a relationship that left you with raw feelings. And it is not something anyone can get over very easily.
I will tell you this: It’s okay to look back at the past, but don’t stare too long.
So, it’s alright to reminisce sometimes or think about the relationship and feel angry or hurt for a while, but if it’s interfering with your present life and really not letting you get on with your day – then you need to work those issues out.
Talk to a therapist or counselor and get the help you deserve.
Here are a few more posts that may help you:
- 7 reasons why your husband left you for no reason
- I hate my ex husband so much – how I got over those feelings
- My husband left me for another woman – what do I do?
- For guys: How to glow up after a breakup/divorce
- For girls: How to glow up after a breakup/divorce
- For guys: What not to do after a breakup
- I miss my ex so much it hurts – read this to feel better
- Finding peace: how to stop thinking about someone who hurt you
- Your ex still loves you but is with someone else
- No one compares to your ex, what to do?