Sign Up for Michele's
HARMONY & BALANCE
Listen to Michele's podcast
available online or with free iTunes subscription! Click Here
Building A Bridge with My Former Spouse
by Michele Germain, LCSW
What happens when you interact with your former spouse? Are you angry, fearful, upset and defensive? Or are you centered, focused and neutral? Are you proactive or reactive? Do you have your business hat on, or are you the scream machine? Are you reminded of your unresolved feelings you are still harboring? Do you find yourself upset the rest of the day after an interaction? Are you worried about the children and wondering how they are going to do with the divorce or breakup? You look ahead and realize you have a job to finish. Raising your children. And this requires a relationship with your former spouse. It is called co-parenting post divorce.
Recent research indicates that divorce itself may not be damaging to children. Rather, the on-going conflict, anger and unresolved feelings that are exhibited by one or both parents create a great deal of distress in children. Especially when they are put in the middle, and witness conflicts and arguments or hear you talk negatively about the other parent.
Unless you have been in an abusive relationship, it is better for the children if both parents participate in the child’s life in a cooperative manner. Children can adjust to a variety of living patterns, including living in two homes. The process is more effective if the parents are working together and are focused on the children’s healthy development. Parents must put their emotional pain aside while they are coming together to discuss, support and respond to the needs of the children.
You might now be saying, how in the world am I going to talk in a business like manner when I feel like exploded every time I see him/her? Because of the children you must stretch and force yourself beyond your normal comfort zone. This will require you to work out your pain in the presence of others so you can be with your ex-spouse in a non-reactive business like manner. In my personal experience it helps to connect with your spiritual self so that you have the strength to come from your heart. The mission is to build a bridge with your ex spouse and raise healthy secure children. The results are more likely to be:
Now the question becomes how do I put this into practice? How do I connect and maintain a conflict free, business relationship with my “ex” when my body, heart and mind get triggered into fear, anger and disgust every time I connect. Here are seven strategies to help you reach this goal:
Building a bridge occurs with one brick at a time. And, the bridge you build will reflect the life you lived. Be patient and loving with yourself as you embark on this journey called co-parenting to raise healthy secure children. It will require courage, honesty and a connection to your spiritual essence.
Michele Germain, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and certified bioenergetic analyst with over twenty-five years of experience. As a specialist in divorce recovery for the last decade, she has written articles and conducted workshops on the topic, and has been interviewed on television and radio programs. More information on her work can be found at www.michelegermain.com.