Are you spending time and energy fighting against the frustrating behaviours of your child’s other parent?
It’s draining, isn’t it?
And it really doesn’t get you anywhere either. They don’t change and you’re left desperately wishing they would wake up one day and magically start being reasonable.
Unless you discover magic fairy dust, that’s not likely to happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about the situation. You have more control to change this dynamic than you think.
I know because I’ve done it.
When my ex-husband and I first divorced, it was a quietly antagonistic relationship. He held his cards close to his chest, often not answering my texts or emails and not sharing any information he thought I might be able to use against him.
Because of his past experience with divorce he was very defensive and was committed to protecting himself in every way possible.
Not having open lines of communication seriously hampered our ability to work out the logistical details of our separation, and it also felt crappy. I allowed it to stress me out to the point where I would procrastinate doing the work I needed to do to move things forward.
I hated being at odds with him and would rant on occasion to close friends about how frustrated I was (never in front of our son).
I can’t pinpoint the moment the lightbulb went off—probably after a personal development seminar—but at some point I decided I was going to:
• take 100% responsibility for who I was within the relationship
• stop expecting him to behave the way I wanted him to
• stop expecting him to change at all
• tap into emotional intelligence to change the way I interacted with him
This did not change our relationship overnight. But it has made a significant impact over time and, more importantly, it was immensely freeing for me.
When you choose this path, you are in control of the only thing you need to have control over: yourself. By choosing to behave in a way that makes you feel good vs. reacting to another person’s behaviours, you are empowered. You are not the victim if the other person doesn’t want to cooperate. You can accept their decisions and behaviours as data that you then use to choose your path forward.
When you accept that you are not responsible for and cannot control someone else’s thoughts, feelings or actions, it’s like lifting a thousand pound weight off your life.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Co-parenting is like being in a job you can’t leave with a co-worker who can’t be fired. You’ve got to either accept that person for who they are or accept living with high levels of stress as you fight them tooth and nail (even if it’s just in your own mind).
So, are you going to spend your energy complaining and expecting your co-parent to change or are you going to focus on what you actually have control over?
If you’re ready to stop reacting to the behaviours of your child’s other parent, and want support to start the journey, book a strategy call with me. We’ll root out what’s happening now, explore what you’d like to happen and discuss next steps here.