There are times when, no matter how hard you try to keep things peaceful, your ex just seems to be doing everything to make you feel miserable. It can come in many different ways: he/she could accuse you of not doing your parenting job properly, throw your faults back at you, or even repeatedly intrude in your personal affairs. With high conflict exes continuously pushing your buttons, your life can become downright stressful.
It is important to remember that your ex is probably trying to hold on to the past to avoid having to deal with the present. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should let yourself be drawn to this direction as well. Here are some pointers to consider when confronted with a high-conflict ex.
Think of your ex as an annoying client–no matter how close you are to losing your patience, you need to reign your anger in. Focus only on important matters, like your children’s needs, and forget everything else. Another important thing to remember is to “not bring your work at home”–create clear boundaries where issues about your ex are not welcome. Set aside a limited amount of time to deal with them, like an hour; then for the rest of the day, try not to entertain thoughts or to talk about them with anyone.
Don’t Give Them the Chance
If everything he/she says is meant to rile you up, then it may be best to set certain communication parameters. For example, you can set up a new email account just for your ex, and check it only once a day. If he/she keeps on calling you to rant, don’t answer the calls and wait for the answering machine to kick-in. If it’s really important, then he/she will leave you a voicemail.
A separation is only the first step to creating a new chapter in your life. Enjoy it with your kids, spend more time with friends, or go out on dates if you think you’re ready again. The more you move on with your life, the less control your ex will have over you.
Dealing with high-conflict exes is just one of the many single parent problems you may run into after divorce. Admittedly, life will not always be easy, and you will need all the support you can get. Seek the help of experts from institutions like The Bridge Across to get guidance on various aspects of life after divorce, including how to deal with exes who seem bent on making life difficult for you.
(End the Drama, Find Peace: New Rules for Dealing With an Over-Emotional Ex, huffingtonpost)
(How to Deal With Your Ex at Your Children’s Special Events, huffingtonpost)
(Are You Dealing With a Conflict Addict?, huffingtonpost.com)