As the ol’ saying goes, “Love your kids more than you hate your ex.” Minimizing your child’s exposure to adult drama is a MUST.
And that sure is hard, for divorce breeds hurt, pain, anger, blame and unresolved emotions. BUT It is choice you make. Though how? How can one put all that ugly aside? Well for starters, by swallowing a lot of sh*t whilst smiling pretty.
When people see me with my ex at a school event or birthday party, they usually proclaim, ‘Wow! You guys get along so great!’ That’s when I reply: “Did I ever tell you I’m a trained actress!?’ Not really, but I was a Thespian in high school and took drama at camp one summer. Any acting training is helpful in dealing with an ex you despise. I am able to put on character, a persona whenever I must be around him for the sake of our children. I never wanted them to have two birthday parties, two graduations, two of anythings just because their parents can’t play nice for a couple hours.
My ‘character’ around my ex is stoic but pleasant, business like, and mildly detached. Rude, undermining jabs just bounce right off, she is unshakable. I feel like her name should be Heather for some reason. Sometimes his backhanded comments get the best of me and I break character, especially if I’m PMS-ing, but I’m getting better with time.
I also remind myself that he has a mental condition and simply can’t help himself. His anger, his jealously, his rage, and his issues are just that, HIS issues, not mine. I must protect myself from letting his venom enter my hard-candied shell.
Yes, role playing is exhausting, yes you swallow a lot of shit while smiling, yes you often want to claw his eyes out…BUT for the greater good of the children, you remain calm, poised, and in character. And then, when I’m out of his vile presence, I run really fast, fanatically clean, vent to friends, or watch an episode of Snapped (a terrible, but can’t look away kind of show, where a scorned wife murders her husband). Any outlet that doesn’t involve actual murder will suffice.
Acting experience is only recommended, not required. However, a good therapist most certainly IS. A professional can help arm you with the tools to be bulletproof against your ex’s dirty tactics.
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