It’s rare for me to be able to have a civil conversation with my ex-husband anymore. For so long, I felt as though I couldn’t say exactly how I felt about things in my life and that I had to choose the right time to talk about sensitive subjects because I knew I would also need to ‘manage’ the reaction. While whether or not I was justified in my caution when handling sensitive subjects I’m sure could be argued, the reality is that it was how I felt for many years.
The second I said enough is enough and decided to move forward with the divorce, I felt this freedom that is hard to describe unless you live through it. I started to remember that I had a voice, a smart, strong voice that I didn’t have to keep silent anymore. There was no fear of retribution and I could now say “I don’t agree” or “no, I’m not doing that” or “I don’t think the kids should be involved in this or that”. It was amazing. It was stupendous. It was glorious. And then it did nothing but cause more arguments.
While I had spent years seething underneath my surface about having to ‘manage’ reactions and was then finally able to change how I dealt with him, all he saw was someone that had completely changed how she dealt with him. So it immediately put him on the defensive. I was then constantly on the defensive because he was on the defensive and so began the vicious cycle.
Lately, I’ve felt the need, more so than in the past, to stand up for my kids. God gave my boys two people in their lives that are supposed to be their #1 cheerleaders for the rest of their lives. For different reasons, I’ve felt the need to really, really cheer for them and also be the person that stands up for them and looks out for them and unfortunately I feel that I’m doing this alone. (Thank goodness for my husband/their step-dad being there too.) So I stand up for them and it is interpreted as something else – something against their dad, because it must be all about him, right?? (enter sarcasm) And so the newest argument begins. He baits me, I take it and it escalates. I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations. Nothing positive comes out of a conversation like that.
So today I decided to zip my lips. Something that I really try to do every time and can’t always say that I’m successful at doing. And…It felt amazing. It felt stupendous. It felt glorious. You know why? Because, I was cool, calm, and collected. HE did the unraveling and I didn’t. It felt better to zip my lips than to try to slice him with my tongue. Secretly, I got a little thrill the more that he acted like he claims I act (crazy)…and it was worth it. Something was unsettling for me about the topic and I followed my gut, disagreed with him, evoked my legal right to have the last call when we disagree, gave simple and clear reasons and said the conversation was over. When it continued in text form and a call to my husband, all I could do was smile. I felt better by not doing anything. I stood behind my legal rights and then walked away without letting him bait me. I didn’t let him get to me…and I’m sure that frustrated him. And it was glorious.
Last note – when your kids are around and you walk away from meaningless fights, your kids will notice the strength inside of you instead of feeling embarrassed by another one of “mom and dads fights.” Try it – it’s worth it..just keep reminding yourself of this.