Restraint of Tongue and Pen

How to avoid saying or doing something you might regret later

Posted Mar 04, 2014

The morning is always wiser than the evening ~

Russian proverb

Responding to a situation is always better than reacting to it. When we react to anything, it is usually with the first thought, word, or action that comes into our mind to retaliate with. If we are hurt, we often try to hurt back; if we are angry, we want to lash out in response; if we are left out, we want to reject those who left us out.

When things are said or done that hurt you, know that you do not have to respond immediately. You can sleep on most matters. When you wake up in the morning, you are likely to have a better perspective, be less emotional, and you may even have thought through what you’d like to say or how to handle the situation in a way that will be more productive than your first response may have been. 

Trying to hurt someone, especially your (soon-to-be) ex-spouse, in retaliation for hurts he has caused you doesn’t work. It may feel good in the moment, but that good feeling won’t last long.

You are entitled to your feelings of anger but lashing out at your spouse or kids is not the answer. More often than not, reacting badly just perpetuates a negative dynamic and the result is that everyone suffers. Divorce is hard enough without adding more layers of pain into the mix.

When you feel hurt or angry, give yourself time to calm down, call on your higher self and respond (don’t react). In those times when you feel a great deal of anger, find a safe, healthy outlet for discharging it such as exercising, singing, screaming into a pillow, journaling, or talking to someone about it.


When I am upset, I will bite my tongue, walk away, and revisit the situation when I am calmer.

Journaling Exercise

Write down three to five things that your spouse has said or done that have really hurt you. 

Next, write out how you’d really like to react (you can be as graphic as you’d like here).

Finally, write out ways you can respond to the situation that will maintain your sense of integrity and be more productive.

This is an excerpt from Susan's second book, Stronger Day by Day: Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce (Available in Portuguese or English)