Divorce Blog

3 Signs Your Ex Is An Emotional Bully (And How To Handle It)

Feeling beat up every time you talk to your ex? Don’t let them get to you anymore.

Do you feel drained after every conversation, text, or email with your ex? If so, you might be dealing with an emotional bully.

For most of us, divorce is already a very emotionally difficult time. We're grieving the losses and loneliness. We're afraid we're not good enough and we even wonder if anyone will ever really love us.

Brené Brown says that the twin fears of 'not being good enough' and 'fear of disconnection' are at the root of shame. Leveraging these natural shame-based fears against us during divorce is exactly the tactic emotional bullies use.

Emotional bullies manipulate through shame and blame. They're masters of creating even more misery during a time when we're already vulnerable.

So, how do you know if your ex is an emotional bully? Here are three of their tactics (and how to deal with them):

  1. Nothing you do is ever good enough. Your ex makes statements like "... and you say you put the kids first," "you should be ashamed of yourself," and, "you never were any good at ____."

    To deal with this type of bullying, you must do two things. First, remember you are…

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Feeling Heartbroken? 3 Ways to FINALLY Get Over Your Ex

Drowning your sorrows in Häagen-Dazs and Kleenex isn’t the only way to get over your ex.

Feeling heartbroken over the loss of a relationship colors the whole world a shade of gloomy gray. Misery and grief are all you can recognize. And although this is normal, it sure doesn’t feel that way. Most of us want to get over heartbreak as quickly as possible.

The key to getting through the gloomy, tear-stained grayness of your heartbroken existence is to go through it, to feel what you're feeling, and to see your ex differently. Yeah, I know it's much easier for me to say that than it is to do, so here are 3 steps you can take (and why you should take them) to get over your ex.

  1. Talk about your feelings; express yourself. The Huffington Post recently reported on some research Grace Larson did at Northwestern University. It turns out that it's a good idea to talk about your ex.

    Specifically, she found that people who talked in an interview setting about their emotions made more progress than those who didn't. It's important to note that this talking wasn't focused on problem-solving or blaming, but on perspectives. They would discuss things like when they first realized…

Read more: Feeling Heartbroken? 3 Ways to FINALLY Get Over Your Ex

There’s No Finish Line For Divorce Recovery

The path to move on from divorce and divorce recovery isn’t straight and narrow.

I recently got a new computer. And if you've ever had to transfer files from one computer to another, you know that it can be kind of fun to take a peek at what has been hogging up space on your hard drive.

Well, on my expedition through all of my files, I found emails in my inbox that were more than ten years old! Some of these ancient notes even had details about the negotiations my ex and I went through to settle our divorce in 2002. Not really anything I need to have hanging around any more, right?

Believe it or not, I paused before hitting delete and trashing all of that ancient correspondence. I was flooded with a variety of thoughts and questions. "Those emails were part of my personal history," I thought to myself. They were part of what defined me — back then. "Would I be throwing away a piece of myself if I deleted those emails? Would I be disrespectful of that old relationship?"

Yes, ten whole years after my divorce was complete, seeing those emails brought up some of the turmoil that I went through when…

Read more: There’s No Finish Line For Divorce Recovery

In the Depths of Divorce Despair? Here’s How to Find Hope

How to find hope like the word on this rock.

Simple ideas for finding the hope you need.

When you’re in the depths of divorce despair and you’re wondering whether or not you can stand the pain for one more second, you need to find hope. You need to find hope that you will stop hurting so much. And, you need to find hope that you can be happy again.

Some people find hope through prayer and their belief in something larger than themselves. They can find comfort in their faith. They know that no matter how alone they are feeling in any instant, they’re never truly alone.

But not everyone has this kind of faith and some find their faith faltering in the face of their grief.

How else can you find the hope you need to heal from your divorce?

You might find hope by spending time outdoors and connecting with nature. You might find hope by enjoying your children. You might find hope by playing with or cuddling your pet. You might find hope by talking with someone who understands the pain of divorce because they’ve been through it and survived to create a happier life for themselves. You might even find hope by reading inspirational quotes.

When I went through my…

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Want A Happy Blended Family? 5 Rules Stepparents MUST Follow

Love and respect is earned from a child, not demanded.

If you're thinking of marrying someone with kids, or if you've got kids and you're getting married, your kids are going to gain a stepparent. Blended families are challenging and cause stress on your marriage.

However, here are five rules for being a stepparent that help improve harmony in both your marriage and your blended family:

1. A stepparent is NOT the parent. A stepparent is a "bonus" parent in a child's life. As a bonus parent, giving gifts in an effort to buy a child's affection will not gain the status of new best friend. Your role is as another safe adult for the child to interact with. Your job is to model healthy life perspectives that complement those of their biological parents.

2. A stepparent co-creates the rules for their house with their spouse (the child's parent). By co-creating the rules and supporting each other in their enforcement, you avoid becoming the evil stepparent. You'll also create a home that you and your spouse will enjoy.

3. You can—and should—expect respect from the child, and showrespect as well. As in any relationship, there will be times of struggle in the stepparent/stepchild relationship. Mutual respect…

Read more: Want A Happy Blended Family? 5 Rules Stepparents MUST Follow

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