Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ex-ray Vision for the Toxic Divorce

You don’t look different
But you have changed

No one talks about certain post-divorce strategies that are essential in the management of the toxic divorce. Not that any divorce is particularly good, but the acrimonious, contentious divorce is a special case requiring special measures, kind of like x-ray vision. And I’m here to talk about those measures.

The most important thing. Never, ever fantasize to sexual images, content, audio or anything else sexual involving your ex. No one told me this. I’ve never read it anywhere. Or perhaps I have but just don’t recall. Maybe it’s not THE most important thing, but it’s valuable. It helps one’s ability to look at the other, or through the other, in a non-sexual way, usually a good thing.

Right up there. Never ever let him/her see you looking like crap. Sometimes of course, it’s unavoidable. You run out for a carton of milk with torn, baggy sweats and stringy hair, and there s/he is. I don’t think you have to go crazy with this, never leaving the house without looking like perfection. But it’s something to keep in mind. As an electrolysis tech one shared, never let him see you looking bad. I wondered if she meant hairy. But you decide on what “bad” means for you. It’s not about what they think of how you look, who cares? It’s about how you’ll feel.

Nix ex. At some point you have to stop thinking of him, or her, as your ex. The exness of it looms. It’s all there is. It sucks the life out of you and dominates any room you enter. Give the ex a name. No, not that kind of name. Their actual name: Sue, Dave, George, Maria. It’s deflating, minimizing, it only takes up a small corner of the room or your mind. You are no longer dominated by them. You’re back in control. You can really look right at or through someone who’s a mere person, not an ex.

Something to consider. Be nice. Anger also sucks the life out of you. You have to ask yourself what’s the gain? Is it going to change anything? Will Sue or Maria change as a result? How is the anger affecting you? Your kids? Your friends? This is the point at which you no longer have to say everything you think out loud. Keep it simple. As we say in the south, kill them with kindness. Not literally of course. It’s a lot easier to look someone in the eye when you’re calm.

And finally. Speaking of friends, tell them to stop bashing Dave. It’s not helping your anger management attempts. After the initial validation of everything you think, for which bashing is essential, it no longer serves a purpose. Your best friend has a legitimate right to their own anger. After all, they had a relationship with Dave too. But you have to set limits at some point. That includes parents, sibs and other loved ones. If you’re working on managing your anger, their anger fueling the fire isn’t going to help. Facing Dave evenly is more likely when everyone else is even too.

You’re thinking of me, the same old way
You were above me, but not today.

And how about Pat Benatar’s Don’t let it Show for a little extra inspiration.