How To Handle An Ex Who Manipulates The Children
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By Helen Hignett, Featured DM Blogger - January 28, 2016

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Divorce is hard. It's never easy and it's even harder when you have children. Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences a person can go through. We get married and we are full of hope for our new life as a married couple, we gain great excitement through sharing our journey with the one person we love. 

We enter marriage not knowing what to expect, and we all know each individual marriage is different, and that there will be different obstacles for each couple to overcome that exists within each relationship.

It would be naive to think that any marriage will be easy.

The reality is not all marriages last, and divorce can cause more heartbreak than being married caused, more so if you share children. Sharing children means the other parent, in most cases, is always going to be in your life, and you will always have some sort of relationship which in turn means you will never be able to get away from the behaviors that caused the divorce.

Unfortunately, this is where children can become victims, because of parental control. Children are unable to see this occurring because they are young and immature and it can be devastating to the other parent to see their children being manipulated. It's heartbreaking to see your child being used as a pawn and there is often nothing that can be done about it. If we start retaliating we are doing exactly what they are doing and leaving our children confused.

The best thing to do is to allow our children to talk to us and correct any wrongs without also trying to manipulating our children. In time our children will start to see what's happening, we just need to keep their lives as normal as possible. 

Show them we love them, provide them with security and stability that allows them to relax. We also have to keep focused on our own lives as well, and do things for our own enjoyment because if we are happy and in an emotionally stable place, our children will feed off that energy giving them a sense of contentment, allowing them to grow, and become aware of the manipulation and subsequently, become more aware of their own feelings and different emotions as well.

We have to realise that we can't control our ex and what they say and do emotionally to our children. It may take time but the truth always comes out and as our children mature they will become more and more self-aware.

Once your marriage is over, you need to try your best to become emotionally detached. If you go forward treating your ex like a business, you'll see that in time things will start to get a lot easier.

Here are a few suggestions to help you treat your ex like a business:

1. Get your finances separated and sorted as soon as possible.

2. Limit communication with your ex.

3. Keep your ex involved in your children's lives, at home, and academically. 

4. Keep communication documented, if possible only communicate in writing, by email or text. This can then be reviewed by your legal team and used as evidence if required. 

5. Never write a correspondence when you are angry. Calm yourself down before you write. Reread everything before you send it, double-check to see if you've included all the necessary information, and stay focused on the children. If your ex responds with an attack, do not attack them back, and respond only if there are points regarding the children that need to be addressed.

6. Try and say very little when you are face-to-face with your ex. Stay cordial.

7. Educate yourself on your ex's manipulative tactics. You becoming aware of them is a big advantage.

8. If you have a schedule in place, implemented informally or by the courts, stick to it. Don't chop and change, it could be held against you in future proceedings. 

9. Unless it's something serious don't tell your ex how to parent, this allows your children to see them for who they really are. Just be patient.

10. Remember that the children are not to blame. They love both parents and the last thing they need is for their parents to be fighting over them.

11. Respect their time with the children.

12. When you don't have the children do things that make YOU happy. Get a hobby, meet friends and in time maybe start dating. This also shows your ex he can't manipulate you anymore.

When a marriage and family fall apart we can get so focused on hate, blame and fear that it can consume us. It takes valuable time and energy away from self-healing and more importantly, our children who are suffering to the adjustments also.

We divorce someone for a reason, try and remember why and use that to help us focus on regaining control of our lives again. It's hard to hear but only you can allow your ex's actions to make you feel unhappy and a victim. Try to keep a positive mindset, focus on the good things you can now concentrate on.

When we take care of our own individual needs it comes across to our children as being happy and in control, therefore, we are giving our children a positive model to follow.

We may not like our ex's anymore however, we have to remember and respect the fact that our children love them and they are the other parent. When we are fighting children feel pressured to take sides, and this is an unfair pressure for us as parents to put onto our children. We shouldn't want to make our children feel guilty for loving a person we hate. 

Allow your children to have their relationship with your ex, all you can do is be there for them, support them and guide them the best way you can, and when and if the day comes that your children realise what type of person your ex is, be there to comfort them, and if they ask questions always be honest. This will create unconditional bonds that will strengthen your relationship between you and your children and above all always show them how much you really love them.

 

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