If you are leaving a marriage that is full of conflict, that conflict will follow you into your post-divorce life. Divorce does not put an end to the crazy that went on during the marriage.
You may no longer live in the same home but you can bet, if you were married to someone with anger management issues, you will continue to be the recipient of their anger after the divorce is final.
In some cases divorce can exacerbate the anger so for your sake it pays to have a plan for dealing with the conflict to come.
Even if you are lucky enough to have a civil relationship with your ex, there will be times when you don’t see eye to eye on issues such as child visitation, holiday schedules and such. Arming yourself with coping skills to use during periods of conflict is essential for those of you who have children and will be attempting to co-parent with your ex.
The following 6 tips can help you deal with post-divorce conflict with your ex:
1. Show a little respect:
Try and respect your ex-spouse and his/her household. Find ways of being respectful rather than resentful. Do not personally criticize them, but don’t make excuses for their behavior either. But, when push comes to shove, there is nothing you can do about what goes on in your ex’s home so, why even borrow that trouble?
2. Follow the rules:
Live by the divorce agreement reached between the two of you or, handed down by a Judge that addressed financial arrangements such as child support, spousal support or division of property. Do not let your attitude towards it, after the fact; taint your relationship with your ex or your children. If you came to an agreement with your ex, live up to that agreement. If you have a court order, follow that order. No amount of anger over financial issues is worth contaminating your relationship with your ex or your children.
3. Let go of hurt feelings:
Hurt feelings from the past are the number one reason you and your ex engage in conflict with one another. Do your part by in keeping down conflict by letting go of the past and living in the present.
4. Care more about your children than your anger at your ex:
The two of you can make your children’s best interest common ground. If you are both focused on doing what is best for the children, there is less room for conflict. The bottom line, your children and their needs are more important than any anger either of you have toward the other.
Always put your children’s needs before your own. You may not like your ex, may not want to be around him/her BUT your children love both parents and it fills their hearts to see each parent get along with the other. Parents who manage to put their children’s needs first during and after divorce help minimize the negative effects of their divorce on the children.
5. Look at it from their side:
Try seeing stressful situations from your ex’s perspective. Every situation will require some give and take and it is easier to give a little if you can view the situation from the other person’s point of view.
Effort on your part to build a new and productive relationship with your ex will help all involved in the healing process to move forward with their lives. If your effort is thwarted you should accept the reality of the situation…you do not have an ex that is interested in anything other than being angry. Move on, cut ties, do not engage when your buttons are pushed and send him/her a clear and loud message…if you can’t behave reasonably, I will have nothing to do with you.
For your sake and the sake of your children though, you must put forth the effort to “get along.”
Olivia Abbott is a divorced mom of 3 children. She was a stay-at-home Mom for 14 years until her divorce three years ago. Olivia is now in school full-time working on her Master’s in Social Work. When not at school or studying Olivia enjoys the daily grind of motherhood, writing and exploring her newfound freedom as a single woman.
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