It can be extremely frustrating when your ex makes you so angry – perhaps you say something you later regret especially when your son or daughter overhears.
Or you get so mad that you can’t stop thinking about what a jerk (or worse) he or she is – you tell everyone around you and it consumes you. Though you might not realize it at the time, this all-consuming anger and resentment limits your ability to enjoy each moment of your life, it pervades your time with your children, interrupts your sleep, and erodes your day to day experiences.
There’s no getting around it – during and after divorce when you have children, you need to deal with your spouse.
So how can you break this ongoing state of resentment for the benefit of your children – and for yourself? After all, it drains you physically and mentally and is hardly the role model you want to set for your children.
The fix involves a simple yet powerful shift in your “frame” – how you view your circumstances. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, the internationally renowned New York Times author and speaker was known for his maxim, “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Much of personal conflict arises when both people communicate from emotion, such as anger, frustration, or hurt.
But you can literally sidestep such conflict by realizing that only you are responsible for the relationships and circumstances you want to have in your life.
Therefore, you’re free to choose how you react.
When you find yourself locked in conflict with your spouse, start by suspending all emotion and get clear on what kind of relationship you really want to have with this person. Think long-term, to when your children are getting married and you become grandparents.
For example, putting aside all negativity for the moment, perhaps ideally you and your co-parent would be getting along and your children would be happy. Suspend the urge to think “if only he or she would…” Put that judgment aside, it won’t help you achieve what you want.
Then, when you feel angry or frustrated, detach from the emotion and simply observe how it feels. It is essential that you suspend all thoughts about what caused you to feel angry or frustrated or hurt. That will only strengthen these emotions. Continue this process until the negative emotion dissipates.
Finally, put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. How might he or she see this situation? Listen to understand his or her point of view.
This process is not easy, although the rewards can be immeasurable. It takes patience, practice and commitment to the higher goal of freeing yourself from such draining unproductive conflict and being who you want to be – for your children and for yourself.
Start today – as they say, there’s no time like the present!