You want to communicate effectively with your ex so the two of you can co-parent the kids. Unfortunately, however, sometimes the bad feelings harbored by your former spouse spill over into out-and-out harassment.
Their behavior can take many forms: Bad-mouthing you to your youngsters and others, using social media to spread cruel gossip and innuendo about you or attempting to ruin your friendships. It’s a regrettable and painful situation that you need to recognize. Ignoring it and looking the other way doesn’t get it to stop.
It’s very disturbing for you and the kids. As one website put it, “Harassment can cause unnecessary stress, sadness, and frustration. Harassment between co-parents can also negatively affect children if they’re caught in the crossfire. “
Try these approaches
Opt for what you think will work best in your particular situation:
- If you or your kids feel unsafe, let law enforcement know.
- It’s tempting to answer back in kind when you get to the end of your rope. Your co-parent will just feed off your anger and get even nastier. Take the high road instead.
- Reach out for assistance and inform others close to you about what is going on.
- Write down any incidents of harassment as they occur, with as much detail as possible.
- Communicate with your ex only when you have to. Stick to the topic at hand, like your child’s report card or visit to the doctor.
- Texting or emailing might be wiser than in-person or virtual conversations.
There is help available
This can be a serious situation, especially if it escalates. The professional who represents you, as well as mental health counselors, can act as valuable sounding boards and give objective advice as you navigate your way through this issue.