Some divorces are nasty right from the get-go. Others start civil and then it gets real, and the gloves are off. This can be a shock. Suddenly you might be faced with dealing with a person you don’t recognise anymore. Or you might realise that there are traits you’ve seen before but never expected ever to be directed at you.
This is the time when it’s critical to hang onto your own self-worth and hang on for all your worth!
It’s so easy when you’re hurting, angry, grief-stricken, and frightened for your future to lash out even though you know that accelerates the drama and often achieves nothing except raise the pressure.
To paraphrase the well know poem by Rudyard Kipling
‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.’
Advice on how to keep calm when dealing with your ex if they’re being nasty
Try to pause and take a breath before responding. Reacting from a place of anger and pain tends to make the situation worse, and it can spiral to places you don’t want to go. It’s hard not to react when you feel threatened and that you’re losing control of a situation. But responding in the moment is likely to close down your options. If you want to keep your options open, seek advice, work out what is best, pause and use phrases like, ‘I’ll get back to you on that.’ Keep contact to the minimum needed. You may need to block on social media and use a mediating app or something similar to communicate.
Take the higher ground, and keep in mind where you’re heading through the process. Keep the bigger goal in mind. For example, ask yourself questions such as, ‘Am I looking to find a fair solution to the issues? Or am I trying to prove someone else wrong?’
Taking time out means you give yourself space. If you need to vent, do it elsewhere, such as a good friend, helpful private forums, a therapist.
When you pause, then it’s easier to see the bigger picture. In the end, it’s all about you. What you do, think, say and feel. When you’re happy with all those things, then no one can rock your boat. When you act in a way that minimises drama you are protecting yourself. And when you protect yourself, you are giving yourself the self-care you need to make good decisions.
Remind yourself that it will end; you will get through this. If you take the higher ground, you will also come out with a heightened sense of self-worth. Set your own standards and keep to them. If you slip, pick yourself up and aim to have another go next time. Affirm your bigger goal. Ask yourself, where do you want to be in a years’ time? In five years’ time? What do you need to do to make that happen?
If the game playing and the attempts at drama still continue despite taking these steps, you know it’s not about you; instead, it’s about the other person. You don’t need to buy into it. Keep your distance. If it gets unhealthy, then get a good lawyer and therapist. It’s worth it. It will keep you on track and means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time something unexpected or painful crops up. Others can help you see the bigger picture, and you can let them take the strain and guide you.
In summary, don’t buy into the drama, keep to the facts, vent elsewhere, not to your ex, get support to help you stay objective and balanced, limit contact, consider blocking on social media, pause, breathe and keep your goals in mind.
And above all – hold tight to your self-worth and be your own best friend; if you do that, no one can take it away unless you let them.