I’m sure there are many of us who have at one point, gone through, or known someone where the relationship turned ugly…And soon after, the children are used in a harsh battle between parents. There probably aren’t too many other situations where the heartstrings can be pulled harder.
Yep… using children for emotional black mail is powerful…and can put parents in very difficult positions. For example, if you don’t do something she wants…Her reply is withholding or makes seeing the children very difficult. Or will have claims that its in the ‘best interest’ of the children to minimise contact with you. Then you might reply with some anger fuelled insults or name-calling…
And round and round we go…
The power struggle continues.
And it’s not like other relationships where you can just see the back of each other and be done with it once you break up.
You are both still emotionally invested at some level because of your children. The hard part becomes separating the emotional battles between each other as parents and thinking logically about what is in the best interest of your child….
Basically, lord, put your s%*t behind you. Easier said than done.
When things get heated, we tend to believe that what’s in the best interests of our children is what we want and disregard other perspectives.
Of course there are going to be times where one parent is not a healthy influence on your child because of addiction or mental health etc…But for the majority of the time, children really need both parents. And keeping either one away from the kids is like shooting yourself in the foot. So, listen up…!
Don’t call names or get into heated debates.
Don’t give ultimatums or threats like “if you don’t let me see them then x,y,z”
There is nothing worse than trying to appeal to the ‘reason’ in an angry ex’s mind.
Think about the situation from her perspective
If you have caused her emotional pain then think about things from her point of view. This will help you communicate.
What often happens is that the emotional pain that has been experienced by the mother turns into a battle of control around the kids in an attempt to ‘get back’ at or inflict some pain in return. If this is happening, then think about what she really wants… Is it an apology, is it to be heard, does she need closure?
Detach from your personal grievances
Detaching from your own hang ups and issues between each other as parents is going to be vital.
If you are purposefully treating the other like shit then creating any form of flexible relationship will be difficult. The way you talk to her, about her and how you react when their mother comes up in conversation – these are all things children notice, so become aware of it.
At the end of the day, realise that you are on the same team.
The team of your children.