Stop Trying to Survive Your High Conflict Divorce

First things first – are you surviving your high conflict divorce?

You are surviving IF:

1) You have no idea when the next shoe will drop, when the next court application will be filed, when your kids one day wont’ be returned to you.

2) You have no idea if a Judge would believe all the lies and attacks in your Ex’s emails so you defend yourself (ad-nausiem) to make sure that IF a Judge one day read the emails he/she could read the truth.

3) You spend hours trying to defend yourself only to have new lies, attacks and manipulations sent your way via email, text, voicemail, rumours.

4) You don’t have a social life because you are either too busy trying to manage the fires your Ex keeps lighting, are too exhausted from putting out fires or are too afraid of trusting anyone, ever again.

5) You keep trying to be perfect for your kids while they are in your care so that their other parent doesn’t have any ammunition to hurt you with. But because you’re exhausted, anxious, depressed, angry as heck, scared and disappointed in the system – you end up short tempered, distracted and just about as imperfect as imperfect can look. (NOTE: Your goal isn’t perfect or imperfect parenting – your goal BEING PRESENT PARENTING.)

Sound like you?

Surviving is no way to live.

But trying to climb your way out of the basement hole that has become your life is damn near impossible.

Especially because you are TERRIFIED about what your Ex might do or say next.

TERRIFIED that someone might believe the lies and manipulations and your children will suffer because of it.

TERRIFIED that your kids aren’t going to have the childhood you imagined for them.

TERRIFIED that your Ex might actually destroy you – mentally and emotionally.

What if I told you there was a way to walk up the basement stairs, rather than try to crawl up them?

What if I told you that there was in fact hope that your life could look different than it does right now?

What if I told you that it could happen Right. This. Second?

Your Ex is mean, manipulative, petty, controlling, lacks insight and is the most charming lie’er anyone has ever met. You’ve feel like you’ve tried everything to change yourself so that your Ex would also change. You would happily give your left pinky toe if this entire mess that has become your life would just stop being so mess. I wish it was as easy as chopping off your left toe… we’d all be walking round with 4 toes and a happy, blissful co-parenting relationship.

Ummmm Andrea, you told me I could have an easier go at this – you told me I could walk up the basement stairs – TELL ME HOW.

1) Stop trying to fix the situation – You’re a natural fixer. You can see every angle to every situation and rationally figure out which direction is best. You keep trying to brainstorm a way to fix the high conflict co-parenting relationship you have with your Ex and you keep failing. NOTHING works. And each time you try, and it backfires, your level of disappointment and devastation sinks you lower into that hole in the basement. You can’t fix this. You can’t rationalize with someone who isn’t rationale. You need to stop.

2) Stop trying engaging in the conflict – There is a quote out there on the Internet somewhere that says something along the lines of:  “You don’t need to attend every conflict party you’re invited to.”

Take it one step further; don’t attend ANY conflict party you’re invited to. Reflect on your history with your Ex, have you ever been able to convince him or her of your position? No. So what makes you think you’ll be able to now?   Because every book you’ve read says that if you don’t find a way to be amicable with your Ex your children will be negatively affected and the guild and shame of not being able to give them a happy childhood is killing you, quickly.   If you are in a high conflict co-parenting relationship those books aren’t meant for you – they are meant for the 75% of folks in ‘regular’ conflict who keep getting stuck in their egos.

What your kids need from you is unconditional love (because the love they receive from your Ex likely comes with conditions), presence (that’s all any child wants – a parent who is present and engaged with them, kids really don’t care if they play tier one hockey or master horse jumping. Kids would take a present parent over an Xbox or trip any day) and a safe place to cry, have a tantrum or be dorky (because it may not be safe at your Ex’s house).

3) Stop defending yourself – Because it doesn’t matter what you say to defend yourself to your Ex, how much insight you try to give them, they are never going to change their opinion of you. Save your stress and anxiety for something else. Save your time and energy for your kids. Defending yourself to your Ex is just going to further exhaust and frustrate you. Because the next attack, lie or manipulation is just an email away – and then the attack/defend cycle starts all over again….

4) Stop professional shopping in an attempt to find someone who will finally help you. – Our system is an archaic one. Having faith that someone will finally get it, finally understand the level of abuse being shoved down your throat on a daily (hourly) basis and actually make it stop is almost as unlikely as winning the lottery. You can’t fix this and nor can anyone else. (See: Number one)

Well that was slightly depressing…

OR it could be your wake up call to start trying something radically different than what you’ve been doing up till now.

OR it could be the beginning of you taking back control of your sanity.

OR it could help you walk freely up those basement steps into a life that is more than just surviving.

Ready to change the dynamic of your high conflict co-parenting relationship? Ready to actually thrive while your Ex is trying to destroy you? Ready to learn actionable strategies to help you rebuild you while still managing the communication around your children effectively with your Ex?

When Parents Can’t Be Friends online course is now available.