HOW TO MANAGE YOUR ANTAGONISTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH AN EX?

Ugly divorces have a tendency to create ugly ex spouses for a variety of reasons and everyone involved ends up suffering. Sadly the ones who suffer the most are the kids who become the pawns in the battle to inflict pain where it really hurts the most.

When you have lived with someone for a number of years you get a pretty good idea of how to push each others buttons, add to the mix the anger and resentment that builds throughout the divorce process and you have the perfect mix to create hell in each others lives. At the time it sure feels like you just want to rip their heart out but perhaps its’ time for you to consider a much sweeter revenge.

This involves doing what might seem to be completely counter intuitive, and not necessarily easy, however if what you are doing now isn’t working then it’s time to do something different to avoid arousing more animosity or hostility.

We often fall in a pattern in the way we interact with our ex partners which often leads to things just going around and around in circles and consistently ending up with both parties feeling angry and resentful.

Here are a few strategies for you to consider implementing to interrupt the pattern you have been running and keep in mind that the only person you have any control over is yourself. If you need to kick the cat, yell and scream, call him every name in the book you can think of then go for it when you get home, slam doors or whatever it is you need to do and then let it go.

  • For your kids sake and for your own well-being more than anything else it’s important to learn to keep the emotion out of the conversation and focus only the outcome
  • Treat this relationship as you would with a business associate or the bank manager
  • Email to make an appointment to discuss a particular issue.
  • Always keep in mind the bigger picture, set an intention before you go so you know exactly what you want to achieve and stick to the agenda
  • Meet in a neutral location where other people are around to better help manage thing getting out of control
  • If things look like getting ugly, quietly get up and leave.
  • Phone calls and text messages need to be managed. The meaning behind text messages has the potential to be completely misconstrued.
  • If your kids come home with stories about something that is causing you or them some concern, once again detail the information in an email and ask for verification without making accusations. And ask your ex for help to resolve the situation stating that you want an outcome that is in the best interest of the kids – (remember too that kids can be very manipulative and play both sides so getting the facts around a situation is important)
  • There are going to be social occasions involving your children where both parents will be required to attend and being polite and friendly at all times is important – THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
  • Coming to some agreement around sharing holidays is not always easy given work schedules and other commitments – do your best to make them as workable as possible and if you are going to be   on your own make some arrangements so you make the most of the break rather than feeling lost and lonely without the kids around especially at times like Christmas.

If you are reading this and thinking what the hell, there is no way my ex would agree to this.  I get that, stand your ground, give it a go and see what happens. Taking the emotion out of any interaction that might involve conflict keeps things on a very level playing field and with an agenda and an outcome that needs to be reached you are training yourself and your ex on what to expect with all future communications.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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JOY, LAUGHTER, FAMILY & FRIENDS

Christmas, a time of joy, laughter, good times, family and friends.

Or it it?

This time of year can also the catalyst for endings.

Many people spend this time reassessing their lives. Whether it be a job or career they are no longer finding satisfying,

the realisation that continuing to ignore their health and fitness is no longer an option,

being in debt, ending conflict with family and friends or living yet another year being unhappy or unfulfilled in a relationship.

For many people who spend time reassessing their relationships either consciously or sub-consciously, it can and does lead to many couples heading to the divorce courts in the New Year.

It’s not that someone suddenly wakes up one morning and says “OK, it’s all over, I want out of this relationship.”

For many there has been an emotional and physical disconnect for some time before the actual decision is made to call it quits and sometimes it can be just one more little thing that happens that proves to be the catalyst for this decision.

When I started to write this blog the words ‘Emotional Bank Account’ popped into my mind and as I usually take notice of these ‘little things that pop into my mind’ I went to my book shelf to find the book that this came from. It’s just a little ‘off topic’ but worth sharing.

If you haven’t read Stephen R Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ there are many, many takeaways from this book and I highly recommend, it is a great read.

Here are just a few of the profound words from Mr Covey on relationships.

An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.
If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty and keeping my commitments to you I build up a reserve.

When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective. If a large reserve of trust is not sustained by continuing deposits, a marriage will deteriorate.

Instead of rich, spontaneous understanding and communication, the situation becomes one of accommodation, where two people simply attempt to live independent life-styles in a fairly respectful and tolerant way and may further deteriorate to one of hostility and defensiveness.

For many women who have been through divorce this is yet another time of emotional turmoil as they struggle with memories of good times past. Happy family gatherings at Christmas and seeing children’s faces light up with delight on Christmas morning. For those women now on their own, particularly if they are newly separated, it is a time of sadness for the loss of those special family times. It may also be a time of financial stress as they simply do not have the resources to buy their kids the gifts they would like to, particularly if they see the father lavishing all sorts of presents on them. The facts are that there simply doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of joy in the world for them.

If you are reading this blog and this is how you are feeling about Christmas there are some things you can do to make this a more enjoyable time.
The very best way, as with most things, is to take the focus of ourselves and think about what we can do to make the day more fun and enjoyable for someone else.

Easier said than done, I know.

But the truth is that when we get out of our heads and turn our thinking around there are many ways we can really make a difference in the lives of someone else and the reward is that we get to “feel great” about ourselves and grateful for the people and things what we do have in our lives.

Here are just a few ideas.

  • Have an open house for your friends who might be spending the day on their own. Here in Australia we call it an ‘Orphan’s Christmas’.
  • Perhaps volunteering at a homeless people’s shelter or a women’s refuge.
  • Or visiting the local hospital or an aged care facility.

Begin by asking yourself this question.

“What could I do today to make someones day a little brighter?” Notice what ideas come to mind. Then go do that!

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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