(This post was published on Huffington Post.)
Dear Single Mom,
While you might not have the perfect relationship with your Ex, one thing you certainly CAN have is peace of mind. From my own experience, I can tell you, You are NOT at the mercy of your Ex.
He doesn’t own your power, YOU do, and it’s up to you whether or not you give it away to him.
These are my top 5 basic tips to help set you free:
- Do your inner work. Focus on you. Stop thinking so much about what he does or says. Remember, you can only control what YOU do.Take some time to get to know yourself. Find a community — your own, personal tribe — that offers support and great insight. Spend more of your time around people who are positive, who do things that make you feel alive and happy.At the same time, let your Ex off the hook! When you start to be responsible for yourself — without attacking him or trying to control him — prepare to be surprised at the shift in his behavior, too.
- Set Healthy Boundaries For Yourself.
Single Mom, if you are continually feeling manipulated by your Ex, it is likely that you are not setting firm-enough boundaries for yourself.Setting boundaries means you are putting your foot down. Try writing down the things you would love for HIM to honor and respect. Then, ask yourself: “Are YOU honoring YOUR OWN boundaries? Are YOU respecting yourself? Are YOU walking your talk?” If the answer to any of these is “no” or “not enough,” don’t worry — it’s never too late. You can start right from now!Apply this tool in your own life, and then watch how the respect is reflected right back at you — from your Ex, and from all other corners of your daily life.
Remember, the change starts with you. He cannot overstep your boundaries unless you allow him to do so. You have the power to SAY NO WHEN YOU MEAN NO and to SAY YES WHEN YOU MEAN YES.
- Ask for what you want.
A lot of women are still terrified to ask for what they want. In my experience, when I’ve been the most vulnerable, open and truthful about my needs and desires, I have achieved the most success in my relationship with my Ex.If you want to co-parent with your Ex and get the best out of him, you must speak up! But, be kind and respectful, and refrain from using the language of blame, or it will be difficult if not impossible for him to be receptive to your requests.I have found that it’s most effective to start by acknowledging something good that he did. For example: “Frank, thank you very much for taking the kids shopping the other day, that was very generous of you. I heard the kids had a lot of fun, too. I would like to ask you if you if/to/for ___________, and I’m wondering if you can provide that because ________.”
You get the idea. 🙂
- Acknowledge him. No matter how big or small their action, men want to feel appreciated! You may be thinking, “Oh, he’s just carrying out his share of responsibility.” But that doesn’t excuse us from being grateful. Trust me: YOU CAN NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GRATITUDE. The more positive reinforcement you give him, the better father he will be to your children.
- Never talk badly about your Ex to your children.
Please take my advice on this one. Every time you say something negative about your Ex to your children, you are promoting negative energy between the two of you.And he will feel it!The kids will likely tell him at some point, and that will “inspire” him to retaliate, leading to an unending cycle of negative actions and hurt feelings.
Remember, he is doing the best he knows how to do, and NO MATTER HOW that looks, you always have the choice to step away from the misery, to get yourself back together and create your best life. It’s ALL up to you!!
To Your Highest Life…