Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have been divorced for ten months. My ex-wife is cray. Some days she calls my office ten times to complain and yell at me. Now she has started badmouthing me to the kids. Are there some steps I can take to stop her behaviors?”
Divorce can be devastating
Divorce is never easy, especially if children are involved. Instead of simply signing the divorce papers and walking away, you are forever connected with someone who may or may not be healthy and willing to parent in a positive way. Your troubles could be exacerbated if your ex-wife suffers from any additional issues such as personality disorder or a drug or alcohol addiction.
Your goal, of course, is to rise above all of her irresponsible, selfish, and unreasonable behavior. This does not mean, however, that you have to passively sit back and let her manipulate you. In fact, there are many actions that should never be tolerated. Let’s take a look at some positive steps you can take to combat your ex-wife’s aggression.
Steps to deal with a difficult ex-wife:
- Do everything you can to live in harmony with your ex-wife.
The first step to dealing with your ex-wife might be the most difficult. You will need to step back and respond rather than react. What does this look like in everyday life? When she says nasty things about you to the children, refuse to speak ill of her. If she is revengeful, you bless her with kindness. Let go of what you cannot change.
- Maintain flexibility.
When it is in your power to say yes, say yes. Does this mean you let her walk all over you? Of course not. But if she makes a special request to have the children visit her for her birthday but it’s not on her visitation day- why not say yes. Don’t be unnecessarily stubborn.
It’s important to remember, however, that flexibility does not mean you do not have health and appropriate boundaries. If you believe you allow her to consistently manipulate you or take advantage you, get professional help.
- Practice how you will deal with her.
We practice sports, prepare for business presentations, and perform mock interviews. Why not practice and rehearse what you will say to your ex at specific times? Do it enough and you can take the emotion out of the exchange. Combine practice with techniques to keep contact impersonal. For example, if you cannot calmly talk to your spouse face to face, use emails or text messages. Try to avoid asking your children to act as intermediaries.
- Forgive your spouse.
This is by far the hardest step following a divorce. If you had warm and fuzzy feelings for your spouse you most likely wouldn’t be divorced. Divorce comes with heartache and pain. The best thing you can do for yourself is forgive your spouse. You might not forget the pain they have caused you, but you can make sure it does not ruin your life.
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