High conflict divorces are peppered with all sorts of negative emotions. Betrayal, deceit, anger, and manipulation can all feed the fire of wanting revenge. If you are or have been in a high conflict divorce, you’ve probably daydreamed about destroying your ex’s car or publicly broadcasting their misbehavior. In fact, this is the story line to many great songs and movies out there. What if I told you the sweetest revenge is not what you think? I’m here to let you in on the secret of how you can maintain your pride while still holding the upper hand.
- Zip It!
Divorce is played on the battlefield of communication. Ammunition is fired back and forth in the form of hurtful words and accusations. The idea of this type of communication is to get an angry reaction from the other person. You want them to realize how much they’ve hurt you or they want to go to any lengths to be viewed as the winner. The best way to put a halt to all of the destructive communication warfare is to refuse to participate. The number one thing that can squash an inflammatory rant is silence. If you refuse to engage, the other party has two choices- stop the attack or continue the rant on their own at the risk of discrediting themselves.
You have power in how you communicate and it is a strong tool in your arsenal. Silence can often say so much more than any cutting word ever could. If you choose to use silence, you take away their power over you and do not feed their satisfaction of seeing you triggered by them.
2. Stick to the Facts
While at times it is best to not respond, that is not always possible throughout the process. This is especially true when trying to establish a co parenting relationship. Just like with the silence tactic, sticking to the facts can be just as unnerving to the person who is trying to get reaction from you. If you know you ex is pushing your hot buttons and expecting you to erupt into an emotional volcano, imagine the satisfaction you will have when you don’t produce that result.
When the conversation is getting derailed with blaming, shaming, or accusing remarks, you can simply reply “I would like to focus on ______ right now”. It is likely that they will try harder with their cutting remarks to get under your skin. This is when you become the broken record and once again bring it back to the factual topic at hand with no emotional response to their comments. The fact that your are staying calm and not participating in their drama will be unsettling to them and very satisfying for you.
There are ways to continue to move the divorce process forward in a productive way that do not involve constant dialog with your ex. You can choose to communicate via email. This will allow you to think your responses through and not respond when your ex is pushing your hot buttons. This also allows you to stick to the facts about the case or about co parenting. Another benefit is that it forms a paper trail, which avoids the “their word against yours” scenario. In extreme cases, it might be necessary to not have any communication at all with your ex and allow all communication to go through the attorneys. This may be the only way that negotiations can be handled so that you can reach a resolution.
3. Live Your Best Life
This is the ULTIMATE revenge. Nothing says “I’m over you” more than actually moving on with your life!! If you find yourself constantly calling out your ex on Facebook or scheming some way to pile on the guilt and shame in hopes of getting revenge, you are really only investing more time and energy into your ex. This actually shows them the opposite of revenge. It shows you are still emotionally attached, angry, and bitter. Even negative attention is still attention and means you are still playing the game. Truly going out there and living a happy life means that the dysfunctional relationship is no longer negatively affecting you or holding you back. Best of all, you don’t have to compromise your integrity to do this!
When you think about it, revenge is a funny thing. It’s intent is to hurt the person and show them how much you don’t want to be involved with them. In reality, it fuels the flames of the relationship, even if it is to continue the toxicity. Following the steps above allows you to actually untangle yourself from the dysfunctional relationship and move on. When this happens, you won’t even be concerned about getting revenge because you will be too busy focusing on the positive aspects of your life! And that, my friends, is the sweetest revenge of all!!