A friend recently expressed their exasperation at yet another battle erupting with their ex partner over their children. The stress and the anxiety of having to deal with an ex who seems incapable of being an adult can be overwhelming.
Just two years, and multiples breaches of the court order, since I separated from my ex, I shared how I’ve coped and I thought it worth sharing here for others trying to figure out how to cope with an uncooperative ex.
For me, the key has been principles.
Principles help to guide our actions. Without principles we have nothing against which to measure our actions. And when we act according to principles, we achieve integrity.
After a separation it can be easy – as my ex has done – to be bitter towards your ex and take actions to spite that person. This can take many forms from speaking poorly of that person to withdrawing contact with the children.
This is wrong. Plain and simple.
Behaviour like that will have two definite outcomes; a further breakdown of the relationship between the ex-partners, and – most importantly – damage to the relationship between child and parent.
So the principle that has guided me all along is simple – what is best for the children?
I measure my every thought and action against that principle. I ask myself if I am truly doing something that gives them a better outcome, or whether it is merely to satisfy my own needs, or to take a swipe at my ex.
While that sounds great, it’s also not enough. I am biased, and I can’t help but be biased. It’s very, very hard to think and act objectively unless you are an outsider. Because of that I’ve leaned on family and my good, honest, friends to help hold me to my own principles.
They have openly criticised and questioned me throughout the entire period. They have helped me to maintain my integrity.
Here’s how that helps me cope – knowing that I have checked my thoughts and actions against sound principles, checked also more objective friends, I can be confident that I am doing the right thing.
When I have to – soon – I will be able to waltz into the court room with the self-assurance that I am doing what’s best for the children. My mind is able to rest, my heart rate stays low and I can continue with the rest of the duties of my life without being consumed by anxiety or stress because I am sure of what I am doing.
It’s not easy, and it took some time to get to this point, but it gets easier every day.