Losing something you care about is painful. Something that once filled you with joy now only leaves you with frustration and anger. Arguments and conflict are sometimes unavoidable in the divorce process, but if you’re finding yourself constantly in arguments and shouting matches, you may be embroiled in a high conflict divorce.
Divorces are considered the second most stressful event in life, just behind the death of a child or spouse. And as hard as it is on you, it’s even harder on your child. Everything they have known in life – their parents supporting them and each other – is ending catastrophically. Navigating this minefield is difficult, but it can be done.
Creating the shield
Divorce is hard, but by learning to manage your emotions, taking time to consider your actions and keeping yourself healthy can make a massive difference in the end. These steps can help both you and your child reach the other end of your divorce with your sanities intact.
Keep track of your triggers
All anger comes from a source. Try to take an inventory of what your former spouse does that triggers anger responses in you, and make a contingency plan for what you can do to not lose your temper. It may be disengaging from the situation. It may be refocusing your energy on something positive. Try not to let your anger get the better of you. It will help your emotional state and keep the stress off your child.
Keep your child out of the middle
One of the most common – and most destructive – actions divorcing parents take is putting their child in the middle of the conflict. Most often they don’t even realize they are doing it. Remember that even though you’re divorcing, you are still your child’s parents and you need to treat them as such for their sake.
Your child loves both of you. Don’t take it personally if they choose to be with the other parent more than you. “Loyalty conflicts”, like expecting them to not like their other parent because you don’t like their other parent, are painful and confusing for them. They are your child, they need structure and to be loved.
Keep substances out of the picture
There is no quicker way to lose your perspective than by abusing substances like drugs and alcohol. If a night out with friends seems like an attractive way to blow off steam, keep it well away from your child and ex. The last thing you want is to suddenly lose control of your emotions and do something you regret.
This applies to technology as well. If you decide to go out with friends, be sure to leave your phone turned off or at home. Angry texts and social media postings are being entered as evidence in divorces more than ever. A tirade on Facebook could cost you custody and a lot more.
Divorce is painful for you, your spouse and especially your child. If you feel the conflicts steadily rising, it can have an enduring effect on your child. Try to keep your emotions under control and be sure to continue to give your child the love and attention they need to get through this difficult time.