#3 of Overcoming Challenges Series
I want to welcome Kayla as a guest to my blog today. She has a powerful story to share regarding how to stay positive while co-parenting.
I never would have imagined myself walking down this path in life. As a little girl I dreamed of the perfect fairytale, but my fairy tale took a drastic turn towards a nightmare and I found myself divorced at 21 years old. My ex-husband was a narcissist, bipolar, and physically abusive man.
When we divorced our daughter was only 14 months old. To which my co-parenting story begins.
When you have lived in an abusive relationship and you finally get the courage to get out of the relationship, many victims feel a sense of relief. However, I did not have that relief as there was still fear for the future since I knew I was permanently tied to this man now. I had to make a
choice, live as a prisoner to him, or my happiness. I chose happiness.
I Choose to Be Happy, but How Do I Do It?
When I made the choice to be happy and positive, I had no clue it would be this challenging. I thought I would just be able to ignore all the things thrown at me, but I shortly found out that was not the case. I have to make my own conscious decision every single day to not retaliate, to
not get angry and lash out at my ex and to have enough of a guard up to not internalize everything that happens.
Reading daily inspirations help you to maintain a positive attitude.
Download a few here.
How to Stay Positive When My Ex-Husband Upsets Me
In the beginning, I still didn’t really know my ex, nor did I know the dynamics of our relationship now that we were divorced. I couldn’t tell if he was purposefully doing something to make me angry or if it was due to his mental health issues. After co-parenting with him for almost 3 years, now I have learned about his emotions and his “patterns”.
My number one tip for someone who is co-parenting is to learn your ex’s emotions and behaviors. This is the last thing that we want to do with someone we most likely have negative feelings towards, but it’s about putting those feelings aside for the sake of being able to learn more about them for the sake of your child and your own co-parenting relationship. Once you’re able to learn this about them, it makes it easier to be able to know how to respond in a positive way.
“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.”
~ Og Mandino
For example, just recently I went to pick up my daughter from her dad’s and she was all excited to show me this dress she had bought with his mom. I gave her an excited response and then in a positive tone, I asked her what the dress was for. In that moment I had thought maybe they had a wedding or an event to go to. She is only 3.5 years old, so she couldn’t respond, which is when he spoke up and said his mom had bought it for her school picture day.
His mom and I have boundary issues, so this was an attack on me, he knew this would get a reaction from me and I could sense he was on a low from his bipolar just by his facial expressions and emotions. In that moment I had to make a choice, fire back with a response, or let it go for now until we’re away from our daughter and he is back on a high.
I chose the second choice. I gave him a short response that we would have to discuss that, to which he responded negatively and I walked away. I waited for a few days and then sent him a text message explaining my thoughts about the picture day dress and how it made me feel.
In the end, I avoided a fight and emotional trauma to my child, nor did it even matter as I have her on picture day and get to pick her outfit anyway.
How Staying Positive while Co-Parenting Has Affected Me
Once I chose to be happy and let go of all the negativity and emotions revolving around my co-parenting relationship, I started to flourish. I’m a happier person now, a better mom, and a better wife.
When you chose to be positive and not internalize other people’s emotions, you have more of an ability to put those guards up and have a more positive relationship with someone who makes it hard to have a relationship with. Before choosing to be positive, my ex and I’s co-parenting relationship revolved around police calls and long drawn out court battles. I am happy to say it’s been almost 2 years since the last police report.
Choosing to stay positive allows your child to live in a healthy environment, never having to miss out on anything because their parents can’t communicate, and makes co-parenting easier.
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