104: How to Deal With a High Conflict Bio Parent

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By Brian Mayer, The Remarried Life with Brian Mayer. Remarriage, and Blended Families. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Brian Mayer takes a look at how to deal with an ex-spouse who always seems to be angry and want to pick a fight. We will take a look at why this happens and some suggests on how to navigate this very dicey situations so that you, your partner, and the kids can have the best experience possible. We hope you enjoy today’s message. For more information and additional resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com

Today's Goodies

  • In a relationship that ends in divorce there is often one or both partners that are left very hurt, alone, and said. Unfortunately this sadness often builds into anger that spills all over the place when trying to have simple logistical discussions about the kids, the transitions, and life at each home.
  • Unfortunately this is very common and often a normal human response to pain especially the pain caused by the ending a once deep and connected relationship.
  • Often it can sometimes feel like the anger comes out of nowhere. You might be having a simple discussion about one of the children’s allergies and maybe some different foods or medication that is needed and all of the sudden your ex-spouse bursts into an angry disagreement over how you want to handle this situation.
  • Or sometimes there is nothing that needs to be decided or a solution to be had at the time, and anger will erupt. The next thing you know you are hearing about all the times you failed in the relationship and what you did or didn’t do to cause the end.
  • It can get ugly so what in the world can you do when you ex-spouse becomes what we call a High Conflict Bio Mom or Dad (HCBM or HCBD). Lets talk through some things you can do to help in these situations.
    • Sometimes it is not about you. Take a step back and realize not everything that is spewing is on you is about you. Often frustrations over other situations that may come forth from your ex-spouse that may or may not be connected to your divorce. It is advisable to probably not explore these too much with your spouse but to just know this going in to discussions.
    • Keep discussions and meetings more business like. This means working hard to remove the troubling surface emotions like anger to come to the surface. Of course this takes two of you and so you may have to work to get buy in and or wait this one out a bit.
    • What are you doing to fuel the fire? Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look into the mirror at our own part in the chaos. Maybe you are gently but you still get defensive or don’t necessarily fully listen to what the other partner wants. If you are human then you will be often thinking more about your own response.
    • Is there a part of what your ex-spouse is saying that you can agree with? This is very difficult to do when anger is erupting. It is very hard to work on a compromise if you cannot logically process the issues while big emotions are happening. But if things are calm then work to hear something in the complaint that you can agree with.
    • Explain to your ex-spouse that you will not be able to continue the conversation if emotions continue to run high. It is okay to excuse yourself or take a break from this.
    • Stick to parenting discussions. If the issues stray then ask gently to get back on track. Often hurts over the past will come up and if you can steer you ex-spouse back to discussions about the children only.
    • Has forgiveness occurred yet? Often if this has not happened then bitterness and resentment will still be present. When genuine forgiveness is given and granted it can often lift the weight that is causing pressure. In science we know that pressure causes heat and that heat needs to escape. In relationships that heat escapes as anger toward an ex-spouse for sure.
    • Mediator or App Like Our Family Wizard: As a last resort when all else fails it could be help to have a mediator such as a professional counselor to help give unbiased thoughts. Additionally there is an app for smart phones called “Our Family Wizard” that can help keep schedules and conversations noted among other features.
  • One last word is that you may exhaust all of these techniques and it still may not work. You may still have an angry ex-spouse to deal with. If you feel that the verbal escalations that are happening rise to the level of abuse then you may need to either contact an attorney or law enforcement to gather their suggestions.

Resources:

  • None

Thanks For Listening!

  • With so many things that take time in our lives, I more grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast episode.
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute! Take care.

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