A lot of stepmums think the ex is high conflict, but too often they might fail to view the situation from their point of view.
Yes there are a lot of ex-wives and ex-girlfriends who may seem like they are causing problems, but we have to think that in their eyes, maybe we are the problem.
Is there really such thing as a high conflict ex, or is it someone who is just struggling with the position they are in? Everyone deals with life in a different way remember.
In a crazy way, I can actually understand the view of some troublesome ex’s (the ones that don’t go the extreme).
They may still be in love with your partner, struggling with not having their kids with them 100% of the time or have difficulties with finances.
They may think us Stepmums are creating a new, happy and perfect family life that doesn’t include them or that we are trying to tread on their toes.
If any ex-wife is reading this, I promise you it isn't a bed of roses on our side of the street every day. We have our ups and downs too!
They don’t always see our struggles, and we can’t always understand theirs.
In my opinion, I think it is best to keep away from any drama. At the end of the day, your stepkids are your partner's responsibility, and so really you shouldn't have to deal with any drama.
Also, do you really want to add fuel to the fire? Before we accuse someone of being 'high conflict', I think it is a good idea to check our own behaviour and see how we may be adding to a tense situation.
Just a note, I am not a lawyer or giving any kind of legal advice!
1) DO NOT ENGAGE!
Please please please do not get in a row with the ex or say anything you later will regret. Try and take the high road and keep out of any disagreements that your husband may have with her. These are not your battles to fight.
If necessary, block them on your phone and social media if you are getting any unnecessary hassle or the drama is taking away from you.
This will give a massive sense or freedom and peace!
High conflict people tend to like the drama and to get a kick out of bringing others down.
Do not give this person the satisfaction that they have hurt you or that you are bothered by their behaviour.
2) ACCEPT that a high conflict ex probably will not ever change, unless they really want to.
This means that YOU need to change your reaction to the ex and the situation.
There is no point trying to reason with someone who won’t take any responsibility for a situation they have helped to create. Let go of the idea that she (or anyone else who is difficult in your life) may change.
Just to point out, I feel I am reasonable and understanding person and I know that it takes two people to tango, and most probably there are some men who weren’t completely innocent in the break-up of a past relationship.
I know from my own experience, I have ex’s that I have felt were ‘crazy’ or didn’t treat me right, but there was always a part of the relationship that was my responsibility.
Painful break-ups, especially ones with kids involved, can bring out the worst in anyone.
I LOVE this quote by George Orwell. ‘HAPPINESS CAN ONLY EXIST IN ACCEPTANCE’.
How true is that?
How much happier would be if we accepted some of the things that we had no control of in life? How much easier would it be to stopping trying to change others or live our lives wishing a situation was different. How much time and energy could we spend on other much more worthwhile things? Or spending time following and creating our dream life, rather than letting someone else ruin the life we have now?
3) DO NOT JUDGE!
Everyone is doing the best they can, with their level of awareness right now.
Now I am not excusing super bad behaviour, and I am sure with a HCBM you may have witnessed (or heard through the grapevine) that some of the behaviour is really just not legally acceptable.
But can we really know what is going on in someone else’s head or why they do what we do? What has happened in their life for them to be the person that they are today?
I would say nearly everyone in the world is born an innocent, loving and joyful little baby. It is only when we experience trauma in life that we may become angry, resentful and wounded.
If we haven’t been a single Mum, how can we know how we would react to another woman being with the father of our children?
It is SO easy I know, to think and say horrible things about the ex if they are giving you a hard time. It is easy to think how difficult WE find the situation, but we really don’t know how she may be coping. Or not coping at all?
Everyone is on their own path and journey in life, and who are we to judge another’s journey. I think its best to keep focusing on ourselves, our reaction, our mindset and what we want out of life. Don’t waste precious time judging someone you may never understand.
You may notice that all of my suggestions are focused on YOU and what you can control.
This is the key to being a happy Stepmum (or human being in general!).
One of the biggest lessons in life is that we cannot control others, but we can control our reactions. The only person we have (and should have) power over, is ourselves.