When you devote much of your day in fear of your ex, or thinking about what your ex is doing, you are allowing them to live rent free in your head. It is completely understandable that if you have had many negative experiences with your ex and experienced a prolonged, bitter custody battle, you would become afraid of having to deal with them in the future. Still, the best thing to do is to get them out of your head and out of your life as much as possible.
I do not want to make light of the situation. I hope to help people move forward and stop giving their ex more attention than they deserve. If you have become overwhelmed with thoughts and fears about your ex, you have to work on changing your thinking. It is not going to happen over night, but it can be done. You will have to work hard at it and things may get worse before they get better. What I mean by that is the controlling, abusive, meddling ex will do their best to make you fail in your quest for freedom. That is reason enough why you must do it. When you start paying less and less attention to them and no longer cower in fear of them, they are going to get in your face a little more before they slither away and the fact remains, they may never slither away completely. You see, the problem is not with you. It is with them.
Your ex has been masterful at turning the tables on you and keeping you off balance. Because their behavior is not normal, you may be confused about why they are behaving the way they are. Worse, you may also be confused that in the real world, people view your ex as very nice, smart, thoughtful, etc. They may have a new relationship that seems just peachy and you may be questioning if you really are the problem. Trust me, you are not the problem.
Keep in mind that most people in the real world only get a glimpse of who your ex really is and when your ex wants to, he or she can really turn on the charm. The same goes for the new relationship. They must make their new partner see you as a crazy person. It helps them ensure that you will never go near their new partner and that they will steer clear of you as well. No one can talk to each other that way. The angry ex’s secrets do not get divulged. This keeps their new love in the dark about who they really are and it helps keep you wondering what the heck is going on…and they LOVE that. Remember how they treated you early on and how wonderful you thought they were. The new partner will also be charmed.
They LOVE having you fear them. They LOVE living in your head rent free. They do not even have to do anything because you fear them so much and try to anticipate what they will do next. It feeds their ego to know that they are always on your mind.
So how do you go about changing things?
First things first, you have to put your fear behind you. You may even need to get angry. You also need to retrain your brain to stop any and all thoughts of your ex whenever they crop up.
Second, have a diversion. If you are overwhelmed thinking about what your ex may or may not do about any given issue, have a friend or a hobby or even look for a new love interest and whenever you just cannot shake the evil ex thoughts, call on that person or take some time to work on it. If you choose a hobby, make sure that it is something that will keep you busy. Reading sometimes will not work because if your mind keeps wandering, you will not really be reading. Try exercise, too, and some stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, mediation or swinging your arms back and forth for 10 minutes. Trust me, it works.
Third, carve out “ex free” time. When you have the luxury of your child spending time at the other parent’s house or with grandma and grandpa or their friends, carve it out. Announce to yourself that you will not give your ex anymore time than they have already taken from you.
This can be done, trust me, I have done it. It takes some time and some practice, but once you master retraining your brain, the less you will think about your ex or care about your ex. It will become habit to you and you will be well on your way to a new and happier life. One last thing, it is natural to want to put your life on hold for fear that your ex will ruin anything that makes you happy, but that is just giving them more control over your life. You do NOT want to do that. Write down on a piece of paper in big letters the following:
NOT ONE MORE DAY. MY EX WILL NOT GET ONE MORE DAY OF MY LIFE. MY EX HAS BEEN LIVING RENT FREE IN MY HEAD FOR YEARS AND TODAY IS HIS EVICTION NOTICE. HE/SHE NEEDS TO GET OUT OF MY HEAD AND OUT OF MY THOUGHTS AND OUT OF MY LIFE STARTING RIGHT NOW. I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THE WAY I AM BEING TREATED. I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.
And then go live it. If you want to find a new love, seek them out. Your ex may try to meddle and he/she may try to make things difficult for you in unimaginable ways, but you are stronger than he or she is. Much stronger. They have a sickness that they probably cannot escape, but you will choose to get healthier. You will take steps to ensure that you never choose the same kind of psychopath as a partner again, and you won’t. Your new love will love you and because they love you so much, they will see what your ex is doing and they will stand by you no matter what.
When you see it, you will believe it and achieve it!
Image courtesy of Nattavut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How do people become mired in the Family Court System? People who don’t believe in their own abilities become stuck in the Family Court System. People who feel wronged become stuck in the Family Court System. People who want to punish their ex become stuck in the Family Court System. People who want the world to know that they are not bad people become stuck in the Family Court system. Unfortunately for all of those people, going to court is not the answer.
The Family Court System is a crazy, mixed up world of opposite outcomes. What you would expect to see happen there, rarely happens. The frequent flyers in Family Court, or High Conflict families, if that is the preferred label these days, think that they can chip away at the system until the truth is uncovered. No one in the system is really trying to get to the truth because, truth be told, the truth doesn’t matter in Family Court. There. I said it. Do you know why the truth doesn’t matter in the world of the Frequent Flyers? Because we are talking about family matters. Families are made up of people, and truth is in the eye of the beholder. You have your truth, and the other side has their truth. Some of your truth may be true, but some of the other person’s truth might also be true. This is why the pendulum can swing back and forth between each side and keep you coming back for more in the never-ending game of swinging the pendulum your way again. The problem with that game is that the other person is playing it, too.
People put too much stock in the system, giving it, and the people in it, way too much power over their lives, but the system has never done anything to deserve this blind faith from the people. If the people realized just how little faith the Family Court System has in them, they would take their children, and their money, and give the system the finger. If you are mired in the Family Court System, take a step back for just a moment, and look at the stack of papers you hold from the court. What have they “given” you that you could not have given yourself? You held all the power in the first place. They took that power from you because you believed that the system was more powerful than you, and more powerful than your children. In your life, no one is more powerful than you. No one. Stop allowing your power to be stripped away from you.
The Family Court System has no faith in you. They do not believe that you can survive as a single parent without a piece of paper that tells you to do the right thing. They do not believe that you know what the right thing is, without a piece of paper that tells you what the right thing is. They brain wash you into believing what they want you to believe, and they convince you that they are the experts on divorced families, because then you will come back to them whenever someone is not following “the rules”.
When you had children, did you wait for someone to tell you that it was the right time? Did you wait for someone to tell you how to parent? Did you ask anyone’s permission to have a baby? Did you and the other parent plan out every minute of your parenting journey with the children? Probably not. You couldn’t foresee everything then, and you cannot foresee, or plan, for everything now that you are divorced either. I suspect most people, but definitely not all people, discussed having a child. If it was planned, they discussed the timing of starting a family, if they could afford to have a child, where the child would be when they could not be home to care for the child. Most people discuss the basics, but then, they were content to let the parenting styles develop and flourish as they learned on the job. When the other parent did not step up as you would have liked them to, you just stepped up, and did what you had to do, and there was probably no pat on the back for doing so, was there? You just did what life required of you, what your children required of you, what your family required of you. You just did.
Now that you walk the path as a single parent, can you just do again? Can you let go of a system that doesn’t believe in your ability? Can you have faith in your own ability? Can you step up when and where you need to step up? Can you have faith in your children to see the truth in who you are as a parent, and better yet, a person? Can you trust in your children to develop their own truth about the other parent? If that parent is who you think they are, good or bad, children will see, regardless of pieces of paper that say otherwise. Actions speak louder than words. Remember that. Live without the court now because you will have to live without the court when your children are 18, even though you will still be a parent. Will you pretend then, that you don’t know what to do without help? Of course not.
Can you improve your life, and the life of your children, because you have faith? If you need more money, go after it yourself. Get a better job. Stop relying on the other person. They have already proven to you that they don’t have the same view of truth that you do. They have already proven to you that the things you’d like them to care about do not matter to them in the same way they matter to you. Stop relying on someone who is unreliable. Don’t seek out worthless pieces of paper. Write your own piece of paper that says, I believe in myself, and then hang it somewhere that you will see it every single day, and then believe it.
The system does not believe that you can be a good parent without the help of the other parent. Prove them wrong. The system does not believe in your ability to provide for your family without financial help from a person who no longer wants to share their life, or their money, with you. Prove them wrong. The system wants to dictate to you how you are going to raise your children. Do not allow that.
You are the expert in your life, and you are the expert on your children. You are the only one who can achieve your dreams. Dreams are not awarded to you in a court order. Dreams are achieved by those who believe in their own abilities. You will achieve your dreams much easier by staying away from a system that has no faith in you. You cannot work on your dreams when you are working on punishing your ex. Do not spend your life looking for a court to tell the world that you are not a bad person. Show the world what kind of person you are by doing the right thing, just because it is the right thing, and by achieving your dreams because you have faith in yourself.
This nonsense of the legal community demonizing parents who want a chance to have their day in court, has got to stop. There has been enough of this nonsense in recent years.
Any time a parent has legitimate concerns about the welfare of their children in a shared parenting situation, that parent is demonized, and their life and the lives of the children are put through hell for daring to question the legal community and their effort to bring joint custody everywhere.
In the past, custody determinations were based on what was best for the children. Even though we have family court laws that are based on the “Best Interest of the Child” standard, the courts frequently push the parents to share custody because the legal community has determined that is what is right for parents. It is all based on a gender equality agenda, and there is no consideration really given to the child, when that consideration would throw a monkey wrench in the agenda.
The reason I bring this up is because my youngest son recently moved out, which has given me the custody of my basement back! I am going through the junk that has been acquired over the years and going to do a cosmetic makeover of my entire basement.
The other day, while cleaning, I came across the nonsense bullshit that I had to deal with when I separated from my Mixed Personality Disordered (proven in a psych eval) spouse. I don’t bring this up very often because I no longer allow his mental strangeness to infect my life, and my children have learned exactly who their dad is and what he is all about. It doesn’t mean that they don’t spend time with the man, and it doesn’t mean they don’t love the man, it only means that I do not. There is no reason for me to have anything to do with him. When it comes to him and I, the relationship is toxic to both of us, and I will not engage in the toxicity. I did not want to engage in it back then either, but the court coerced and threatened me when I tried to disengage.
So back to the bullshit I found in my basement. When my husband and I separated, the man did some really freakish things. I knew he was an alcoholic. I knew that he was abusive to me, and the children, for that matter, but I became very concerned when the threatening phone calls came at all hours of the day and night from pay phones near where he lived, and the mysterious letters, and a package that I received in the mail started coming. The man actually stalked me for a summer. It was all very frightening.
He lived an hour away from me, yet, he would show up near my home, in places that did not make sense for him to have driven an hour to, and to be “coincidentally” there at the same time I was.
I received letters implying that I was a lesbian, with flyers from lesbian groups. I one time received a metabolife brochure, after my ex’s girlfriend had told me how fat I was (I weighed 135 at the time). I also received an odd joke printed out, something about a person who is lazy and can’t stand on their own two feet. The package though, that was the kicker. The package had deodorant, mouthwash, tampons, soap, etc., and it contained a note about what a filthy, smelly person I was and included a comment about me at “that time of the month”. I was very frightened to open that package. I seriously thought it might have a bomb in it.
There is much more to this story, and much I can tell you about why there is no doubt in my mind that my ex was behind all of this, but it would take a very long time to tell the story in full. One day I plan to tell this at a training event, but what you need to know now is that I did involve the police. The police did very little. They really did not care about it, or the fact that I was scared, or the fact that I was stalked by my ex husband. They told me flat-out that they could not really do much unless he injured or killed me. Isn’t that comforting? This is what Domestic Violence victims live with all the time, especially if they have children, and are going through family court.
Anyway, in the end, I could not prove that it was him. It might have been his girlfriend, I was told. True, but again, all of this gave me reason to be concerned about my children spending time alone with their dad and/or his girlfriend, but to bring that up in court, no one wanted to allow it, not even my own attorney, who I paid a sizable retainer to be an advocate for my children and I. As a matter of fact, this attorney told me not to include any of this in my affidavit because it would make me look stupid for having chosen such a man to marry.
The problem with not being able to have my day in court on the matter is that my ex’s bad behavior continued, and even got much more disturbing, as time went by. After hundreds of thousands of dollars, and eight years, I finally had to have my day in court anyway. Once I was able to prove my case, I won sole custody, which I should have had all along!
I find it deeply disturbing that family court and the legal community do everything in their power to keep parents from having their day in court and to explain why they should be an exception to the joint custody rule. It creates a hellish childhood for the children in these families, and it prevents the entire family from moving on with their lives and accomplishing their dreams.
We demonize any parent who doesn’t readily embrace joint custody. Why the need for such demonization? We don’t demonize mass murderers, but we will demonize a parent who just wants their children to be safe???
Back in 1993, a man opened fire on the Long Island Rail Road. There were dozens of witnesses. Passengers held him down until police arrived and handcuffed him. There was no question that he did it. Still, he was entitled to his day in court. No one was demonizing him for pleading not guilty and wanting his day in court. No one. He had his trial, represented himself and was found guilty. Justice worked, as it should have.
Why then, do family courts try to deny parents their day in court and to raise questions important to their child’s future? Why does the legal community treat a mass murderer with more respect than they do a parent in family court? It doesn’t make sense and it needs to stop.
And by the way, this is not only happening to parents who experience domestic violence. There are many parents who know that their children will not be taken care of by the other parent for numerous reasons, not only suspect, but know it. They should have a chance to be heard and a chance to present evidence to back up their claims. That is our right here in America. We need to fight for it.
Let’s take the Family Courts back to the rule of law and the role they are really supposed to play, and kick them to the curb on pushing their activist agendas on our lives.
If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
Have you had your fill of Family Court? Are you tired of the battle, and think or hope that your ex is sick of it, too?
Life’s Doors Mediation is looking for parents who have been at war for too long and want to find a new way to parent, whether that means co-parenting, parallel parenting, or something else that we come up with. I have been quite successful in changing the direction of parents who are looking to the family court for answers. I’d like to help you.
If you live in Minnesota, please give me a call. The first 2 parents who call me will get a free assessment to see if we can make a positive change to your situation. I will even contact your ex to see if they would be willing to call a truce. After that, I will work with you separately or together, as needed without charge. You have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain. Your children have a lot to gain also.
Can you be a little vulnerable and let go of the family court crutch? Find out today, 763-566-2282. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.