Communicating with your Difficult Ex...

1/

Responding to Messages

Cooperative communication between divorced parents is ideal but is not realistic nor appropriate to in situations involving coercive control and other forms of abuse.

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Power imbalances make it difficult to resolve issues, to make decisions in a timely manner and to make them in the best interest of the children.

Trish can help you communicate with your ex:

  • without increasing your stress level

  • without adding to the conflict

  • but still gets your message across.

STEP 1:

Which Messages Require a Response?

Learn to differentiate between messages that require a response &  ones that don't.

Not every message from your ex requires a response...

some messages are sent for the sole purpose of provoking a response & make you look like the one who is unhinged. 

 

STEP 2:

How Do I Respond?

Trish will illustrate how to respond messages from your ex, without emotion & without inciting conflict.

Using using Bill Eddy's BIFF® principles and Chris Voss's Never Split the Difference negotiation strategies, you will be better prepared to handle any message that comes your way.

​​​​STEP 3:

Practice, Practice, Practice

Responding without emotion,

without explanation,

without justification

and only dealing with pertinent facts doesn't come naturally to most of us.

Trish will help you hone this skill through role-play and practice. Practice writing draft res responses to messages you've received from your ex.

Together with Trish you will review your draft responses to ensure you have utilized the learned principles to provide a clear message to your ex. 

2/

Change Your
Response to Conflict

Managing your responses to minimize conflict is one of the instrumental tools for surviving your divorce.

This involves training your mind and body to distinguish real from perceived threats.

It also requires identifying your conflict ‘hooks’ or ‘triggers’ and determining how they influence your responses.

Trish can help you learn to react calmly & rationally when faced with false allegations or aggressive communication.

Reacting to your ex-spouse’s behavior without emotion will help you regain control of your life.

 

Triggers or Hooks:

When you FEEL someone is: 

- controlling you

- excluding you

- preventing you from obtaining information

- questioning your ability, credibility, intentions.

- insinuating you are untrustworthy.

- dismissing or minimizing your position, status.

3/

Learn to Self-Regulate

Once you're aware of your conflict ‘hooks’ or ‘triggers’ it's essential to learn to emotionally regulate yourself.

 

Being able to self-regulate requires validation of your feelings and experiences. 

 

Only then will you be more able to rationally interpret situations and then react more rationally.

This is a difficult process to embark on alone.

 

Trish has extensive training on emotional regulation and can guide you through the following:

Self- Validation

Your feelings & experiences are valid.

How can we expect others to validate our feelings if we don’t validate them ourselves?

Radical Acceptance (“it is what it is”) 

Accepting reality & understanding that denial only exacerbates suffering. 

 

It keeps us in a victim mindset of “why me?” “this is so unfair”.

Pain is inevitable in life, however radical acceptance prevents that pain from turning into suffering.

 

Benign Interpretation

See things they way they are…without inference… without interpretation…without judgement.

 

Wise Mind

(combination of emotional & rational mind)

Emotional mind:

Driven by emotions & perception.

Facts are distorted or amplified.

Rational Mind

Driven by observable facts.

Somewhat detached from situation.

 

Wise Mind

Driven by emotions & logic.

Allows us to see the whole picture.

Set & Maintain Your Limits

  • What can you tolerate without resentment.

  • Stop playing the blame game.

  • Blaming is counterproductive.

Distinguish Between Primary

& Secondary Emotions

We assume what we are feeling is anger...

but it's actually sadness or fear. 

Primary emotions = emotions we display

Secondary emotions = what's behind those displayed emotions. 

 

Treating the primary emotion can be done by:

- changing the situation

- changing your reaction to it, or

- accepting the situation/person causing emotion

 

Decrease Your Emotional Vulnerability

(self-care)

If you're emotionally & physically healthy, you'll be more equipped to behave rationally. 

Proper sleep, healthy eating habits, and treating physical ailments and pains.

 

Determine Roadblocks to

Conflict De-escalation.

  • Contempt

  • Bitterness

  • Blame

  • Forgetting this is someone you love (loved)

  • Inability to express yourself accurately

Tired of the crazy-making, gas-lighting, word salad conversations with your ex?
Book an appointment with Trish today & get on the road to ending that cycle.