THE SUBTLETIES OF EX-SPOUSE BASHING
It is a common cliché that divorce brings out the worst in people. Furthermore, clichés develop because of the truth they contain. Most people I’ve worked with who have had long-term negative feelings toward their exes tell me that the darkness and emotional weight of those feelings are far more toxic and powerful than anything else in their lives.
Unfortunately, since love and hate are two sides of the same coin, you can build up some mindbogglingly negative feelings toward someone with whom you were once in love. Moreover, when a couple splits up, there are often differences in terms of how to handle the kids. Since both parents (hopefully) have a profound love for their kids, getting into conflict over them can be particularly nightmarish.
So the reasons why we become so enraged with our exes are easy to understand. Here’s the problem: Psychological research tells us that the single most damaging experience for children going through divorce is being exposed to the animosity their parents feel and express toward each other. It can either be children overhearing aggressive things the parents say to each other, or parents expressing these unkind things directly to their children. In other words, as terrible as a divorce may be, the child’s ongoing awareness of conflict between the parents creates the most serious and long-lasting personality problems. The longer it goes on, the worse the trauma.
That puts us in a precarious position when we get divorced with kids!
More to come….