I divorced 16-years ago. I remember vividly my ex telling me he was angry and would be “for a very long time.” Welp, it’s been 16 long years and he is still angry.
His anger caused the divorce process to drag on for 7 years. It’s caused him to break off contact with his children only to pop into their lives every 6 years or so and drop bombs on them.
The only time our 2 children and I know peace is when he has disappeared from our lives. Thankfully he does that often and for long periods of time. I owe him deeply for those peaceful periods.
Back in December, he contacted our younger son. He had not seen or communicated with either of our sons in over 7-years. He made promises to a young man who desperately craves his father’s love. Three months later he reneged on those promises and, here we are today, once again cleaning up after an angry ex who can’t get over it (he wanted the divorce) and continually allows himself to hurt his children.
For some of us, the negative repercussions of divorce is a never ending story. I can count on him to pop up and drop a bomb on us and I’ve learned to count on myself to keep a tight grip on the negative emotions it causes us and how we respond to the problems he causes.
I often tell people to monitor their responses to emotions during the divorce process and after. Being able to respond rationally to negative behavior from an angry ex helps keep down the cost of your divorce and will make the process less conflicted and will be invaluable in you being able to move on and rebuild after the divorce is final.
What happens when your ex isn’t able to monitor their responses and react in a rational manner, though? If he insists remaining angry the best thing you can do is keep your cool, for your sake and the sake of your children.
You can also arm yourself with knowledge of what might come your way. Doing this will help keep your expectations low which in turn, will help you respond to an irrational, angry ex in a way that does not do more harm.
Below are some common tactics used by an angry ex-husband or wife during the divorce process and after.
1. Accusations of Abuse of You or Your Children:
Getting a restraining order against a husband is a practice some women use against men in order to gain sole legal custody or have the husband removed from the marital home. Guard against this happening by refusing to engage in any form of conflict in person, via email or over the phone.
And, if you do become a victim of false allegations of domestic abuse, do not respond to the allegations in a manner that will make the situation worse.
And, this is not a tactic used by women alone. An angry ex-husband is just as likely to make false accusations of abuse against the mother of his children. The difference between the motivation when it comes to men is, normally, to frighten a mother and manipulate her into doing something he wants. Don’t fall for the manipulation!
2. Limiting Access to Marital Assets:
If you are a stay-at-home mother who is dependent on the salary of her husband, he can use his ability to limit your access to money as a form of punishment during the divorce process.
To keep this from happening, make sure that your name is on all marital assets before filing for a divorce. This includes all bank accounts, credit card accounts that you don’t close and retirement fund accounts that you expect to draw from.
In some cases, cases where you believe your spouse will empty bank accounts, you will want to open an account in your name only and transfer funds you need to live on into your new account before having your spouse served with divorce papers.
3. Use of The Discovery Process to Delay The Divorce Process:
During the discovery process, your divorce attorney will request documents from your spouse related to income and assets. A spouse can stall the process by refusing to respond to such requests. Or, he may send a barrage of requests to your via his attorney attempting to bog you down in paperwork.
To protect yourself from a spouse who will use the courts to abuse you hire an attorney who will not hesitate to use the Family Court System to force a response when he uses such tactics.
4. Refusal to Follow Through on Verbal Agreements:
Most going through the divorce process work at making sure it is not riddled with conflict. In doing so they can make the mistake of believing that their spouse will stand by any verbal agreements made between the two. I always suggest there be a legal document drawn up and signed by both spouses and their attorneys, just to cover yourself.
Such a document can be used in court to prove a spouse’s intent to take part in a verbal agreement. If push comes to shove you will have evidence that can be used as proof that your ex intended for a particular action to take place.
5. Ask For 50/50 Custody:
This will anger some men BUT there are situations where a father will request either full or 50/50 custody to scare a wife into settling for less during divorce settlement negotiations.
A wife may be willing to take less than she is entitled to if it means retaining full custody of her children. Your best bet is to offer 50/50 custody from the beginning. This takes away any leverage a husband can use and it is in the best interest of the children to spend equal time with two parents who love them.
It will also scare him off if full or equal custody isn’t what he is interested in. If it’s manipulation by threatening custody if you come out of the gate offering him 50/50 you’ll take away his ability to use custody threats against you.
6. Spying to Dig Up Dirt:
My ex had a keystroke program installed on my computer and bugged my home phone during our separation. He thought he would gain information he could use in divorce court against me. He didn’t succeed but don’t be surprised if your angry ex-attempts to do the same in your situation. Don’t do or say anything online or via the phone that will give him ammunition to use in court.
7. Attempting to Control Your Personal Life:
For some reason, some ex-husbands don’t feel that what is good for them is good for their ex. They will do everything in their power to know your every move, who you are dating, where you are going on vacation…every step you make.
The fact that you two are divorced, torn asunder means nothing. Just because you were once married to them they feel the right of ownership. They will remarry but throw a fit if you plan to remarry. They may have a strange woman stay overnight when the kids are in their custody but, if you even have a man over for dinner, watch out! These guys who are control freaks have failed to fully understand what “divorce” means.
Set your boundaries, shut them down when they attempt to control and refuse to communicate with them about your personal life.
8. Using Their Children as Pawns to Hurt You:
The angry ex who uses his children to get back at the mother of his children is the worst, absolute worst. This guy will stomp on his children’s hearts if it means causing you the least bit of inconvenience. And, there isn’t much you can do except be there to help your children deal with their pain.
9. Lack of Interest in Seeing Their Children:
He may fight like hell during the divorce process for equal custody but, when it’s all said and done, the paperwork is signed and the divorce is final, he rarely sees his children. He makes big promises and always breaks them. His relationship with his children will depend on whether or not he is in a relationship at the moment.
This kind of man is ALWAYS going to put his girlfriend or new wife first. He and his feelings are of uppermost concern to him and if he has to make a choice between being stroked by a new woman or putting himself out for his children, he is going to choose the stroking every time.
Giving in to your own anger and getting down and dirty yourself gets you nowhere and leaves a stain on your character that you will live with permanently. You can’t fix an angry ex, you can’t rationalize with an irrational person. All you can do is keep yourself emotionally stable enough to focus on your life and your children regardless of what your angry ex does.
Take the high road, don’t do anything you will one day look back on with shame just because he is being an asshole doesn’t mean you have to also.