1. Do you want to change?
You need to answer this honestly. Do you want to change? If you’re thinking, “Of course I want him/her to change!” That is not what I asked. You cannot change your ex. Try as you may. Manipulate as you may. Punish, kick, scream, whatever your tactic, it won’t work. The only thing you can change is yourself to make things different. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Do not enter into this endeavor with the hopes of your ex magically turning a new leaf. This is for you, for your sanity, your health and your wellbeing. So, let’s try it again, do you want to change? If so, what would that look like? How could you see yourself acting around your ex if you had no hatred? Why not try it next time you’re around him/her? See how it feels to not be affected by him/her. Trust me, it feels GOOD!
2. What have you done to contribute to your negative situation with your ex?
When you are truly capable of acknowledging your part of this chaos, then and only then will you have a good shot at diminishing it. It may not sound fair to you if he was the one who cheated, if she was the one who left, if he… But somehow, some way you have contributed or are contributing to the unpleasant situation you’re in. When you own up to your own negativity, take responsibility for it, you will inevitably feel relief at some point. To let yourself off the hook for harboring ill will is liberating. It gives you a sense of self. Self worth, mainly. You will start to see a potential for change. I promise. It may not come instantly, but if you’re looking to stop functioning in a world filled with anxiety, bitterness, hatred and dysfunction, this will bring you results. You will bring you results. Own up to it. Do you have to tell your ex about it? Nope! You’re doing this for you and only you. The sheer awareness of your contribution will help you to stop the crazy making in the future.
3. Have you become your relationship with your ex?
By chance did anyone casually ask you today “How are you?” and you answered with “You’re not going to believe what he/she did today.”
A lot of people don’t even realize that when they’re asked a question about something innocuous, they turn it into an opportunity to vent their dirty laundry about their ex. Are you one of those people? Really think about your conversations today. What were they about? What are they usually about? Whether or not you think that you do this, become aware of your part of conversations. Are you functioning in the present moment, listening and responding? Or are you only half there and re-capping your daily drama in your head?
If you do find yourself going on a tangent about your ex’s latest antics when it’s inappropriate, STOP! Literally, stop. Take a breath and ask yourself, are you going to let him/her have power over you like that or are you going to take your power back and not buy into the drama? It’s your choice.
4. Are you ready to deal with your feelings?
Sure, in theory you might be so tired of being angry and bitter and resentful and (insert your negative emotions here…) that it’s easy to say yes to this question. But stop for a moment and realize that dealing with your feelings is not as easy as flipping a switch and turning them off and on. Truly dealing with your feelings is not an event. It’s a process. Be prepared for all sorts of emotions and insights…and not insights into your ex, necessarily (although those might come, too). I’m talking about insights into your SELF. When I did this work, I didn’t anticipate the results that followed. It helped me identify why I was reacting the way I was and because of that, I was able to make a shift in the perspective of my ex.
5. What if my ex takes on a new partner?
Whether you left the relationship or your partner did, you’re bound to have mixed feelings when/if your ex gets involved with someone else. For me, it was a horrific experience and it had nothing to do with my ex’s new girlfriend. My daughter really liked her (and that made it even worse). Because of the magnitude of the detrimental effect it had on me, I had to change it or I felt like I would physically combust. Really! I was forced to look at why it bothered me so much. Was it that someone else was parenting my child half the time? Was it that it I felt unattractive and unworthy because I felt like my ex chose her over me? Was it that I didn’t want him to be happy? Well, to be honest, it was all those things and it took quite a bit of exploring those feelings and letting them out (in my journal) before I was able to shift my focus to the positive things about my ex’s girlfriend. She really was a nice person. She really did love my daughter and treat her well. She let me call her to check in on my daughter (which was something I really wanted that my ex wouldn’t allow me to do). And she made really good cookies. As it turned out, six years later, she and I remain friendly, even though my ex married someone else.
So if it’s happening to you, consider what you’re really worried about. Do you have a child that is really in some sort of potential jeopardy or is it purely your ego that’s struggling with this one? Regardless, again all you can do is focus on yourself. If you’re busy projecting negative emotions about your ex’s relationship, you are depleting your source of happiness. Besides, why not put that energy into something positive? Like…you, your kids or attracting a new, healthy, relationship (for you)!
6. What if my kindness is mistaken for weakness and Check our website my ex keeps up the antics?
A fire will only burn for so long without fuel. Your ex might, indeed, take your change in attitude and behavior as a sign of backing down. But your persistence will prove otherwise. Eventually, your ex will have nothing to react to, either. Again, you have to realize that you two have been locked into an interactive pattern. When one of you changes, the other is bound to change in some way or another, too.
7. What if the changes I’m trying to make backfire and our child/children think that I’m being weak? Won’t I be setting a bad example for them?
In the first place, you being a positive person and taking good care of you can never ultimately backfire. I promise. Oh, there may be some bumps in the road and your ex might, in fact, try to antagonize you into your old behavior, simply because that’s the dance you two have done in the past. Eventually, though (and maybe sooner than you think) you will begin to feel the benefits of your new outlook and improved self-worth. That kind of change can only have positive and exponential results for you and your children. And how good will the example for them be when you’re feeling so fantastically about yourself that you can treat your children’s father/mother with respect…and maybe even love?!
8. How can I get my ex to stop hating me?
Well, that you can’t do. You can only change the way you think, feel, act and react to your ex. I can tell you that when I truly let my hatred go, my ex and I got along a LOT better and I’m happy to say that now, three years later, I actually like his wife and we are not only capable of sharing various holidays, we enjoy it.
9. When we exchange the kids, my ex invariably does something to piss me off. How do I keep things from getting ugly in that moment?
A. Don’t point out that your ex is doing something wrong, mean, rude or inappropriate.
B. If you have a specific request for your ex to modify the current plans for the next pick-up or drop off, make it a request, not a demand.
C. Keep the topic to matters that relate to your child ONLY.
D. Do not discuss the past.
E. Do not ask questions about your ex’s hungry shark world cheats tool personal life, or volunteer information about yours.
F. Do not discuss money, child support, new love interest, old love interests, rumors, manners, gossip, gripes… in these conversations.
G. Do not discuss any legal matters between the two of you.
H. If you can’t fathom looking at your ex’s face another moment, keep your focus on your child. Literally. That should remind visit more information you why you choose to take the high road.
I. If you start to feel the desire to scream obscenities, tell your child that you need to run and remind them that you love them.
K. End with a generic pleasantry. “Have a good day.” works just fine.
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