There are times in the life of almost every divorced parent when they feel like lashing out at their ex. That’s because divorces aren’t the most rational things that two people can experience. It often feels like a betrayal and a personal insult, especially if the parties leave each other under tense circumstances (i.e. infidelity, money issues). But there are serious divorce consequences to acting on the ill will that you feel towards your ex, especially when you do it in front of the children. Let’s look at a few.
1. Trashing the ex is like trashing half of your child.
In every child’s life, they will come to the realization that they were brought into this world because of two people — you and your ex. They know they are a mixture of the two, and so when you attack your ex, you’re basically telling your child that half of who they are is no good. That may not be how you mean it, but that’s certainly the way it’s received. Think twice before making offhand comments or worse.
2. Trashing the ex can reopen old wounds.
Divorce is never fun and rarely friendly, but once it’s over, it’s over. The wounds start to heal, and you’re left a wiser and stronger person. Unless you go on a bad-mouthing tear against your ex, that is. By trashing the ex to your kids, it will inevitably find its way back to them, and from there, new conflicts will likely arise, ripping off old scabs and starting a new conflict where there shouldn’t be one.
3. Trashing the ex will keep you stuck in the past.
If running down an ex, especially to your kid, is how you choose to use your ability to communicate, then you’re doing no one any favors, most of all yourself. By continuing to dwell on the person that your ex is/was, you’re hindering your own ability to move on with life, and giving your ex way too much power over your own happiness. It can be difficult holding your tongue when they’ve betrayed you in some way. And if they’re the combative types themselves, then it’s even worse! But holding your tongue and having integrity is the best thing you can do for your child and yourself.
Have you ever been tempted to lash out at your ex while your child was present? How were you able to stay the course? Share your experience in our comments section!