As much as I would love to say this blog is about the TV show X-Factor (one of my guilty pleasures)…. It’s not.
Your guess was totally right when you figured out this article is dedicated to dealing with difficult exes. I bet you a million bucks 90% of people reading this article immediately thought of someone from a past relationship when they read that title. Maybe you didn’t think of the father of your kids, maybe you did… maybe you’re a guy reading this and you thought about your crazy ex-girlfriend. No matter who it was that came to mind, this blog post might be helpful to you.
I thought about writing this because when I talked to my ex-husband today (the father of my youngest daughter) he lied to me about where he was with my daughter so I couldn’t try to pick her up early for a birthday party we had planned to go to. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s totally allowed to say “no” to me picking her up early, but seriously lying about it instead of just saying no? In my book. that’s pretty lame. Anyways, my boyfriend got irritated to all hell and does quite a bit when it comes to having to put up with a lot of the really crazy stuff my ex has pulled in the past. But one thing my boyfriend can’t figure out is why I don’t get crazy upset or frustrated when this kind of stuff happens… It’s because I have learned to “handle the ex-factor”. Let me explain: When I went through my divorce, and for a while after, I used to get so stressed out because my ex wouldn’t want to pick up our daughter on time, he would never take the day off if she was sick, he would criticize me constantly, he would always tell me “it’s not my day” if I asked for any help aside from court ordered visitation (like when I was in the hospital), and he would constantly take out his bad moods on me anytime we would interact. I would get angry, I would bitch to my friends and family about it, I would cry, and I would get bitchy towards other people even though it wasn’t their fault I was upset. So one night, I’m sitting in a college class learning about interpersonal communication (go figure) and I decide to stay after class to talk to the teacher. The guy is probably one of the most inspiring people to walk the planet and has the most amazing outlook on life I’ve ever seen and loves to listen and help others. So I tell him about something stupid my ex did to piss me off that day and how frustrated I am ALL the time. He literally stops me in my tracks and tells me, “Why do you care?” Honestly, that caught me off guard at first. What do you mean? Of course I care! He’s a jerk! He likes to frustrate me and I get so mad when he messes with me and yells at me. Who wouldn’t care? But then I realized exactly what he meant. Why do I LET myself care? My ex is going to be a jerk whether I like it or not. No, I don’t have to let him walk all over me, but I shouldn’t let his outbursts affect my mood. Why should I let his bad day ruin mine too? And that’s when I heard the words that would change my outlook on life…
“Acceptance is the key to happiness”
Once I learned to accept that my ex was the way he is and I have NO control over that (which, by the way, is a good reminder of why we aren’t together anymore) I can learn to ACCEPT him for who he is. I may not really like it, agree with it, or condone it. I do not have to let him trample my feelings or condone him acting like a complete idiot. BUT, I no longer let it aggravate me. I accept that the only thing I am able control in sucky situations with him, are MY feelings and reactions. So why let him ruin MY day?
So now, whenever my ex causes drama or wants to yell at me. I reply calmly and rationally. I stand my ground but I don’t lose my temper or yell back or cry anymore. Because I have accepted that he will never change, and even if he does, I can’t do anything to change him. So in 5 minutes, I’m going to move on with my life and go back to my awesome day and he can go try to ruin someone else’s mood. *Added bonus: When they don’t get a reaction out of you, they tend to give up eventually or at the very least, you piss them off by not getting upset and that always makes me smile a little bit*