It makes you cringe. It enrages you. It keeps you up at night.
You really don’t like the way your Ex never cleans the house, or feeds the children junk food, or disciplines the kids–or doesn’t discipline them. And never mind all the passive-aggressive remarks he says to you.
You’re very concerned about how quickly your Ex introduced her new man to your kid, how much she keeps trying to cut back on your parental involvement, how she looks for every opportunity to call you out on some mistake.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, if your ex is guilty of any of the above or all of it, chances are you feel furious, frustrated and at the end of your rope.
Whatever your particular situation, you do NOT approve of the way the other parent runs the household, raises the kids, or relates to you.
You just wish…
In order words, that he or she would just…change.
Then things would be SO much better.
I’ve been working with separated and divorced parents for over 20 years. Most who, at one point or another, feel victimized in some way:
“If only he would be more communicative with me.”
“If she would only stop getting her lawyer involved.”
“If only he would spend more time on homework.”
“If only she would quit thinking about herself first all the time.”
You could complete these sentences with any number of things, but the bottom line is that they all point to one thing:
A belief that if the other parent would only change, things would be so much better, and you could be happy.
As a result, you invest TONS of energy, heartache, and often money into trying to change the situation and your ex.
But victimhood never leads to victory.
All it does is keep you stuck and powerless, trapped in a negative cycle that does not help you and your children.
I know that as a parent you don’t want to give up. You want to do everything you can for your kids. But letting go of waiting for your Ex to change doesn’t mean you’re giving up.
It’s just the opposite.
Your children are watching.
They’re learning from you.
Do you want them to remember you as the parent who stayed stuck and bitter, unable to let go? Or do you want them to learn resilience, resolution, and self-respect from you?
As long as you keep holding out for your Ex to do something differently in order for you to be okay, you’re simply handing over your power. You could be waiting forever. And in the meantime, you’re wasting a lot of time and energy.
Time and energy you could be spending on yourself and your kids.
The fact is, you can’t control your Ex—or anybody else. But whenever you focus on the things you can’t change, you allow yourself to be consumed by frustration, anger, and worry. Plotting ways to change him or her just keeps you stuck and miserable. AND to top it off you’re allowing your Ex to have even MORE control over your life.
Not only are they controlling the situation you’re upset about, but now you’re allowing them to control your emotions, your responses, and how you choose to allocate your resources.
Years from now, when your children are grown, the differences you have with your Ex today, probably won’t matter very much. Instead, it’s what you DO have power over (i.e., your attitude, the choices you make, how you respond to situations etc.) that will have the most impact on the quality of life you and your children experience now.
That’s why, one of the most important lessons I teach is this:
Say you have a flat tire on the way to work.
You have an important meeting in the morning, and this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
Now, you could get caught up in having a flat tire and let it ruin your whole day.
You could curse, and grunt, and complain about how unlucky you are. You could think of all the things that are messed up because you got a flat time.
And, if you did this, you wouldn’t just have a flat tire. Chances are you’d have a flat tire AND a pretty crappy day to go along with it.
Radical acceptance offers you a chance to flip the script. And it’s not about being all woo woo or having a “the sun will come out tomorrow” moment..
Radical acceptance involves accepting things as they are, whether you like them or not.
And when you’re able to accept a situation for what it is, instead of what you wished it was… it allows you to take action and do something about the situation.
“Yep, I have a flat tire. And there’s nothing I can do about the fact that it happened. Now let’s see what I CAN do about getting it changed and moving on with my day.”
When you approach any difficult situation like this, the situation hasn’t changed. But your outlook on it has. And that changes everything.
By fighting reality, you increase your suffering. You stay locked in that place of feeling miserable, overwhelmed and helpless.
I get when your kids are involved, it’s hard to let go especially when you feel like there’s so much at stake. You feel like you have to DO something to make things better, and that may mean committing yourself to fighting the good fight or finding a way to get him to “see the light.”
But when you get into the blame game, you’re not helping your kids at all.
You’re wearing yourself out, and they can tell!
If you spend hours stewing over the fact that your Ex was late AGAIN dropping off the kids, what are you missing out on?
If you’re up at night rehashing a fight with your ex and rehearsing speeches to “set the record straight,” what are you missing out on?
If you’re out with friends and spend all your time talking about the latest drama with your Ex, what are you missing out on?
Even though you may feel this protective parenting urge to fight tooth and nail in order to get your Ex to change, the reality is there’s probably very little you can actually do to change the way your Ex behaves. However, you absolutely have the ability to change how you respond, the choices you make and how you process situations with your children.
In my video program Co-Parenting With Purpose, I’ll get real about what really matters to kids when it comes to divorce (AND…it’s often not what you think!)
In fact, most of us are often so overwhelmed by divorce that we unintentionally make critical mistakes when it comes to our children.
In other words, even though your heart is in the right place, the mountains of logistics and mixed emotions you have to deal with can cause you to miss what’s really going on with your kids.
I know this is the last thing you want to do.
That’s why I’d love for you to watch my program and get the skills and strategies you need to turn things around. In CoParenting With Purpose, you’ll learn how to let go of the internal “I wish my Ex were different” storyline and take control of your situation.
I’ll teach you the most effective ways of dealing with a difficult or high-conflict ex, while strengthening your relationship with your children so that they grow up to be happy, secure adults.
And I’ll also show you how to handle the practical, day-to-day issues that come up, including managing difference s between households and smoothing out back and forth stress for kids.More Effective Way to Create Change
Ironically, when most of us think about change, we tend to focus on all the external things we don’t like. When actually it’s the small, subtle internal shifts we make that often yield the BIGGEST results.
If you’re ready for things to be different but don’t know where to start, I’d love to show you how. I hope to see you on the inside.
Wishing you and your children the very best,
P.S. If you’re dealing with a very difficult Ex, you’re probably very worried about the impact it will have on your children.
The good news is there’s still a lot you can do to offset the tension and stress. The protective factor of ONE stable, dependable, consistent parent can make a HUGE difference. Here’s how to make sure you’re doing everything you can for your kids:Read More