10 Tips To Control Your Emotions Around Your Ex
Contributed by Sonyan White July 19, 2017
Anger. Sadness. Excitement.
These are common emotions every person experiences while going through a divorce. Issues arise when negative emotions lead to more serious problems like arguments and disagreements over child custody.
The question is how to control your emotions while around your ex. Emotions after a breakup run high. You may feel lost and out of place. Grief and depression are also common emotions after a divorce.
Above all, however, you will feel angry – especially when your ex is around. If you share custody, you may find it all the more difficult to control your emotions. But you must. Your own peace of mind depends on it.
“Holding onto anger is like holding onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”—Buddha
Those words ring true even today. The more you hold onto your anger, the more it eats away at your happiness and peace. By learning to let go of the pain they caused you and accepting where you are, you can let go of that ‘hot coal’ – and create the life you want.
But how can you drop that figurative ‘hot coal’?
Today, I want to take a look at a few ways you can learn to control your emotions and create a better relationship with yourself and your ex.
Tip #1: Control The Situation
Sure, you can’t control every situation, but there are times when you can control the environment you find yourself in.
For example, if you know that sharing your child’s birthday party with your ex will cause unwanted emotions, avoid the situation. Don’t force yourself to go simply because you feel you have a right to be there.
Another example might be if you find that your ex is often late picking up your child. Why not plan ahead and meet at a department store or somewhere you and your kiddo can grab a bite to eat. If he’s late, it won’t be such a big deal.
Think ahead and diffuse the situation as best as possible to eliminate unwanted emotions.
Tip #2: Focus On What You’re Doing
Instead of being so worried about what your ex is doing, focus on what you’re doing. Focus on your thoughts and feelings about the situation. If you’re caught up in what your ex is doing, or likely isn’t doing, you’re only going to make yourself miserable.
Controlling your emotions starts with understanding them. Determine the source of your anger and what triggers it. Go beyond blaming your ex for how you feel. Remember, you alone are responsible for your suffering and happiness. Like the Buddha said, holding onto your anger only leaves you burnt, not your enemy.
Tip #3: Reframe Your Thoughts
One of the easiest ways to control your emotions is to reframe the context. You feel anger when you feel that someone or something has restrained your goals or desires.
While changing your thoughts won’t change the situation, it can change the way the situation affects you. You can replace your negative thoughts with ones that bring you joy to recondition the way you feel.
As soon as anger hits you, replace the thought you were thinking with another one that brings joy or at the very least is neutral. This guides your mind towards a happier state.
Tip #4: Make Your Kids The Priority
Above everything else, make your children your priority. No amount of anger, sadness, or jealousy can give your kids a better life. If you share children with your ex, put their needs front and center.
Tip #5: Use The Mirroring Technique
When your ex says something you don’t agree with or like, repeat it back to them. This is called a ‘mirroring technique’ and it works by keeping both you and your ex centered on the conversation at hand.
Remember to keep a calm and collected tone. If you come across as sarcastic it could prevent a fruitful conversation.
Tip #6: Pay Attention To How You Feel
Focus on your emotions rather than the content of what is being said. Analyze why you feel the way you do.
Did your ex make you feel unimportant when he completely ignored your request to meet at a specific time? Hold that emotion and feel your way through it. You cannot feel happy again until you first feel anger. Allow it to subside before you speak.
Tip #7: Act Like You’re Working Out
View maintaining your emotions like an athletic feat. Consider it a ‘workout’ of sorts whenever you have to deal with your ex. Don’t get distracted by the content of the conversation.
Mentally tune it out and simply focus on deep breathing and see how long you can go before feeling like you have to lash out. When you do, refrain.
Tip #8: Allow Time To Pass
If you have a particularly nasty argument with your ex, simply allow time to pass. Sometimes the best way to handle your emotions is to allow them to phase themselves out.
You can’t always control the way you feel, but you can control yourself the next time you come in contact with the person who upset you. Don’t rush to meet up with them again if you’re still upset. Give it as much time as you need.
Tip #9: Try To Listen To Their Side
It’s easy to hate every word that comes out of your ex’s mouth. It’s a much more noble feat to carefully listen to what he has to say and acknowledge when he makes a valid point.
View him as merely the vessel for the content of what he’s saying and maybe you’ll get more from the conversation.
Tip #10: Remember That Anger Only Burns You
Possibly the most important tip is to remember that anger does nothing for you. It doesn’t heal you. It won’t give you back your marriage, and it certainly doesn’t benefit your children.
To heal, you must allow and forgive. Don’t use anger as a crutch. Feel it and be done with it. All else is pointless.
If someone you know is suffering from their own anger, why not share this article with them? The insights I’ve shared may sound simple, but they have a profound effect on those who follow them.