Try this the next time you pick up the kids.
Tell your ex-husband that you hate him. Tell him that you’re going to do everything in your power to make sure he sees nothing of the kids. Start screaming and kicking, and come down hard with your fist on his car.
Not only will this make him mad, it will get you upset as well. This approach will keep you feeling angry for hours, if not days. Your creative energy gets zapped. And where did all the enthusiasm for spending time with your kids go?
This Is What Happens When You Don’t Make Peace
Your life becomes a living hell. You can’t sleep at night. You can’t work at work. All you think about is the injustice of the situation. And it gets you down.
So how can you make peace with your ex? A powerful tool to help is called The Work of Byron Katie. It’s a process of writing down your stressful thoughts and then questioning them.
When you do The Work on you ex-husband, you stop feeling like a victim, and start seeing how much influence you actually have on the situation, and on your own happiness.
But It’s Him That’s The Problem, Not Me!
The Work is not about condoning bad behavior. Your ex may well be the perpetrator.
The Work is about your happiness. So ask yourself: how is your battle-readiness affecting you? How is your defensiveness affecting your happiness? It’s your life we’re talking about. How do you want to live?
When you use The Work to question stressful thoughts about your ex-husband, you will find how you make you unhappy. The Work is about learning how you can free yourself from the stress. And when you do, it will be much easier to deal with him.
Three Ways To Make Peace With Your Ex
The Work is a series of questions (learn how to do The Work here) that you can apply to any stressful thoughts or beliefs.
Here are three ways to use The Work to find peace within yourself about your ex. If you do The Work on these, you may find your freedom creeping back inside.
Here are three main areas worth questioning.
1. My ex-husband needs to change.
2. My ex-husband hurt me.
3. My ex-husband is a bad influence on the kids.
Let’s look at each one of these area one by one.
1. My Ex-Husband Needs To Change
This is a powerful belief. And it doesn’t have to be tackled all at once. The most effective way to bring this concept to The Work is to make a list of all ways you think he should change. Then take each item on the list to The Work to question it.
Here’s a sample list. You should create your own, though you’re welcome to use anything you see here that resonates with you. Remember, the more specific your complaints the better.
He shouldn’t call me so much.
He should have the kids ready when I pick them up.
He should respect my time.
He shouldn’t argue with me.
He should send child support on time.
When you have your list, and it can go on for a while, take each item one by one and do The Work on it. A facilitator can help you quite a lot. As you look at each item and question it, you’ll start to see things differently. And you may notice a growing freedom as you start to see things differently.
As these concepts start to loosen, you may want to look at the second area worth questioning with The Work.
2. My Ex-Husband Hurt Me
The second way to use The Work to make peace with your ex is to question all the ways that you believe he hurt you.
Again, make a list. Fill in the blank like this. "My ex-husband hurt me by…" Your list might look like this.
He left me for another woman.
He thought his work was more important.
He treated me with contempt (specifically how and when)
He destroyed our marriage (specifically how)
He won’t talk to me without being cold.
This list can go on. You may gain momentum as you write. Just get it out on paper. And then take each concept to The Work. As you work this list you will find your part in things, but more importantly you will find how you can free yourself from your pain.
But don’t stop there. If you want to get freer still, it’s time to question one more concept.
3. My Ex-Husband Is A Bad Influence On The Kids
This concept has many branches, just like the other two. And when you question each part of it, you’ll come to peace with the role your ex-husband plays for your children.
This time, list all the ways you think he is a bad influence (especially the ones that make you mad).
He doesn’t make them do their homework.
He curses in front of them.
He talks bad about me in front of them.
He lets them watch too much TV.
He has never aimed very high in life.
But Don’t Try To Do It All In One Day
If you want peace within yourself, a powerful way to get it is to use The Work to question all the stressful thoughts about your ex-husband. Three big concepts worth bringing to The Work are "My ex-husband needs to change," "My ex-husband hurt me," and "My ex-husband is a bad influence on the kids."
If you are caught in these beliefs, they will keep you angry. And they will keep you gathering the evidence, which makes you even angrier. When you list all the supporting evidence for these beliefs and question them with The Work, your anger has no choice but to subside.
And when the anger subsides, you don’t have to try the kicking and the screaming, or the fist upon the car. No, you can pick up the kids you love and move along. You’ve got a life again.
Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. To learn more about The Work go to www.theworkasmeditation.com
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