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Drive Your Ex Nuts and Improve Your Position for Court at the Same Time

April 15, 2017

Former couples who have it in for each other find a million ways to fight about their kids. They are forever sending nasty hate messages filled with innuendo about how awful the other is and how much better they are.

Even little issue can be magnified to give the impression that the other is just terrible as a parent and doesn’t deserve their relationship with the kids. Both can unleash a torrent of messages each thinking they are not only getting the other  back, but somehow proving who is the worse parent while all the while trying to elevate themselves.

A wise woman once told me, when you get in the mud with the other pigs, we can’t tell the pigs apart.

Think about that in the context of a court battle over your kids. When things eventually go before a judge, will the judge be able to tell the parents apart? Will the judge be able to say who is the better parent? From the judges perspective, there will  only be evidence of a nasty ongoing relationship where both parents trash the other to the detriment of the children. The judge will know that your kids are being raised in the mud of the parenting relationship. How does one choose the better parent in that?

If you really want to get back at your ex, do the unexpected. Really mess with their mind…

You start by sending texts informing them of the child’s accomplishments that day. You start the message by saying something like, “Just thought you would appreciate knowing Billy enjoyed reading the book you sent.”

It will drive your ex nuts. Your ex will wonder what you are up to. Your ex will find a way to message you back and wonder why you are sending this. When the child returns to the other parent, that parent may even question the child if the book was actually read. After all, at least one parent directly or indirectly pumps the kid for information. Can you imagine if the child actually said, “Yes, [the other parent] read me the book you sent and said you were nice for sending it.” Yup. that will really mess with their mind!

After you start your campaign of niceness, continue by then thanking your ex where clothes, toys or other items are returned with the child. Then if you really want to ramp up the good vibes, totally ignore your ex’s behavior that really annoy you. Don’t give your ex the benefit of knowing when you have been triggered. That will really drive your ex nuts.

Bear in mind, that as you do this, you are now setting the bar for reasonable behavior. Your good behavior will only serve to heighten how nasty the behavior of your ex really is. By no longer lingering in the mud along with your ex, you will have cleaned yourself up, leaving your ex to wear their own dirt. Now we really can tell the parents apart!

In so doing, your ex is presented with two options without you ever really making any demands. Your ex can either belly up and engage in similar nice behavior, lest they look the nasty parent, or they continue in which case their behavior stands out and makes your case at court.

Either way, you win.

Oh, and by the way, your child just may like your change in disposition and may more naturally gravitate to your company. To add, if your ex does belly up and match your behavior, then that court case may no longer even be necessary. Then everyone wins and your kid can get on with a very pleasant life.

Just sayin’.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

  1. Rachel permalink

    I can attest to the fact that this is a slow but very effective approach. It really does only take one person to make the decision to get out of the mud. Just try it and stay the course. Take the fake it till you make it approach and in most cases there will eventually be a turning point. One thing not mentioned in the article is the amazingly positive effect that these small acts of kindness have on your child. Try it and see how happy it makes them when they go to “daddy’s” house and he pulls out his phone to show them look daddy got to see them riding their bike or scoring a goal or playing with their new puppy. Just watch the effect that this has on your children over time. Remember, that person who you supposedly detest contributed 50% of all that is sweet and good and beautiful in your child, and your child loves and misses that other person. Who knows, seven years from now you may find yourself carpooling to the U.S. together so that both you, and your ex, and your child, and their step-parent, can all share the memory of your little boy’s first trip to play travel soccer in the U.S. Just know that if YOU choose to stay in the mud you won’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of keeping your children from getting dirty and don’t be surprised when one day they decide to leave you both wallowing in your own filth!

  2. I have always from the beginning done this as I wanted to make sure my son’s father was aware of what was going on in his life when he was with me. Not always easy, but the high road is the right road for me and almost 7 years in we are amicable and get along. Unfortunately it is not always the road that people take when they are hurt. thanks for posting.

  3. Ann permalink

    In light of my ex-spouse’s behavior – both for a very long time prior to, as well as after our separation – most would think that I had no good earthly reason to take the high road in my communications with him.
    But I always knew that the only right thing to do was to preserve the mental and emotional health of my children. They’d suffered through a dysfunctional environment already and their future well-being and freedom from chaos was my only priority. My ex and I are not friends, but we are civil, and I am very glad that I was able to restrain myself from stoking the fires. His children are well aware that they will never have the kind of relationship they might have wanted with a father, but they still have a connection they can rely on.

  4. Pam Petrosino permalink

    I totally agree with all your suggestions. I tell all my clients. Kill them with kind words and to be nice. Very hard to do. Because their relationships went south. As for my clients who lost their children through their fathers. Gaslighting the mother before it goes to court . The husband does everything in his power to ruin her in every area of her life .because she stayed in a abusive relationship because of her children .. I have a nonprofit that helps I individuals of abuse etc in Ohio. Petrosino personal well being foundation

  5. Lorrie Eubanks permalink

    In some instances I agree with your theory. Maybe a case of two healthy parents who both love their children yet hate each other. However, in most custody battles that are deemed “high conflict” one or sometimes both of the parents have a cluster b personality disorder and are abusive. No amount of “Killing an abuser with kindness” will get positive results. Yes it will piss him/her off and he/she will declare war. This will most definitely have a negative affect on the child. You see the only communication a healthy parent should have with a cluster b parent is via email, only legal, educational and medical matters regarding the child. No more, no less. The conversation should be businesslike and short, only including pertanent information. The heathy parent should place healthy boundaries between themselves and the abuser and should follow court orders to the tee.

    • Thank you for posting in regards to personality disorders and abuse. When people are “normal” this method may be beneficial, but I have yet to see this method work for personality disorders, mental illness, or “high conflict” cases.
      Also, judges dont seem to care about whether parents get along. They sometimes award custody without carefully considering that the best interest of the child is not being met, but rather the “rights of the parents” are being adhered to.

      In all, I do believe taking the high road is a beautiful approach. It will definantely work for those who truely think outside of themselves and think about the best interest of the child.

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