web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


When Your Ex Puts Your Child In The Middle (Conclusion)


Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Dear Mordechai,

When I decided to get a divorce, I resolved early on to take the high road. Whenever my children are in earshot, I am careful to refer to my ex in only posi­tive terms. I stick to blame-free explanations for why my marriage ended, and keep my venting phone chats with my sister, late at night, when the kids are asleep. It hasn’t been easy, and no I’m not perfect. I’ve slipped here and there, but overall, I’ve protected my children from the fallout of my feelings. Last weekend, though, my daughter returned from her mother’s house and said, “I know why you and Mommy divorced. It’s be­cause you lied to her!” Guess what? It’s not the first time. I’ve spoken to her about it, and she only defends her behavior; I don’t think she’ll ever change. Now what?

(Answer, continued from last week)

When faced with your ex’s bad behavior, you must be sure that your child understands the following:

• You are responding to your child’s feelings, not to those of your ex.

• Sometimes people – even parents – behave in ways that are inappropriate. You can be trusted with your child’s feelings and confidence; you will not fly off the handle and confront your ex.

• You will help your child find better ways to deal with these painful situations in the future.

• So how can you accomplish this without breaking the golden divorce rule of don’t criticize your ex? You stick with how your child feels about your ex’s com­ments instead of dealing with the comments them­selves. In your case, your ex told your child that the divorce ended because you lied. How do you think your daughter felt to be told that her world fell apart be­cause of your lying? You don’t want to say to your child equally venomous words like, “How dare she! You want to talk about lying. She should look in the mirror. You know your mother….” Why would your child ever come to you with similar issues in the future, if she knows that she’ll get more poison? But she is not seeking only answers, but someone who can help her resolve how incredibly awful it feels to hear a parent attempt to destroy her relationship with her other parent. Simply respond to her by telling her that you can imagine how she must have felt under those circumstances – “Wow, you must’ve felt somewhat sad to hear Mom say stuff like that.” This tells your daughter you really hear her “heart,” not just her words.

This opens up a conversation about how your daugh­ter can manage her feelings, and perhaps talk to her mother about the way she speaks about you, or simply for the two of you to be able to talk about this stuff in the future. Your daughter will be relieved to know that you truly understand what it’s like for her to be in that position. Give her the chance to respond, and don’t feel the need to “counter” her mother’s attack, if she says something like – “Well, yeah; I mean she’s always say­ing how you weren’t there for us and stuff.”

Understand, when just dealing with your child’s feelings, you allow her to open the conversation about many other things she’d never feel comfortable dis­cussing, had you just responded by countering her mother’s statement. So what do you finally say about Mom’s critical points?

Be gracious. Explain to your daughter that in gen­eral, it takes “two to tango” and of course, you made certain mistakes…telling her, for instance, “And when people are divorced they often go back – in their minds – and blame the other, so it’s not so unusual for one parent to pin it all on the other. But as you know, any relationship is so much more complicated than that. Imagine a simple argument you have with your broth­er. Both of you are convinced the other one is wrong, and the truth is generally that both of you could have done things to avoid the whole problem.”

With this type of understanding, your daughter will breathe a sigh of relief and continue to talk to you about her innermost thoughts for many years in the future.

About the Author: M. Gary Neuman is a psychotherapist, rabbi, and New York Times best-selling author. He is the creator of NeumanMethod.com video programs for marriages and parenting.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “When Your Ex Puts Your Child In The Middle (Conclusion)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 at Lausanne are likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.
Iran Likely to Force Obama to Back Down on ‘Deadline Threat’
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

While we are all accustomed to the occasional recipe substitutions – swapping milk for creamer, applesauce for oil – gluten-free cooking is a whole different ballgame.

Something-Cooking-logo

Until the year I decided to put a stop to all my tremors. I realized that if I wanted my family to experience Pesach and its preparations as uplifting and fulfilling, I’d have to relax and loosen up.

Teens-032715

David looked up. “Hatzlacha, Dina,” he smiled. “I hope everything goes well.”

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

More Articles from Rabbi M. Gary Neuman
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Sacrifice is the backbone of our souls. It indicates self-regulation for a higher purpose.

Spoiler Alert: Going to see the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”, starring Tom Hanks is not like going to Disney World. Well, it is like going to Disney World if you go mid-August with your triplet toddlers, feed them all cotton candy, and lose your car because you forgot you parked in Pluto 7.394. It’s not a happy Disney movie.

Stacy and George walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex-wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes spent embroiled in a detailed account of their battle only fired up their anger – and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not coming back.

The therapeutic alliance has always been about a firm connection between patient and counselor. There has always been one primary standard – physically meeting in an office setting. There might be some phone calls in between sessions or to bridge some vacation gap. But therapy has always been about a feeling of connectivity and there is no better way to do this than face-to-face.

Cindy is 43, successful, attractive, a dedicated mom, extremely caring… and she hates herself. She doesn’t readily admit this, but spend a minute inside her head and you’ll discover the resounding messages revolving around negative rants – everything from “I failed” to “I should’ve done better.” You wouldn’t know it from her behavior. She’s a high functioning, regular member of society.

As adults who were children of divorce know, healing does not occur through time alone. In fact, my research found that only 46% said they had a positive relationship with their fathers as adults.

Stacy and Michael walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes embroiled in a detailed outline of the battle only fired up their anger and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not returning for therapy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/when-your-ex-puts-your-child-in-the-middle-conclusion/2006/06/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: