Is Your Ex Evil? Or, Is Your Thinking About Your Ex Flawed?
Is your ex evil? The key to a successful divorce, one in which the family isn’t destroyed financially and the children emotionally damaged is the ability of both spouses to see each other as flawed human beings, not as evil beings.
There is a human phenomenon psychologist’s call selective attention. It’s this selective attention that may have you wondering if your ex is evil.
Human beings have a natural tendency to pay attention only to data that support their pre-existing points of view or desires. Information that contradicts their beliefs or wishes is filtered out of their awareness. Obviously, this practice can lead to severely distorted notions of people and events and to making very poor choices and decisions.
I see this selective attention “phenomenon” in many of my divorce coaching clients I work with. Once it is decided there will be a divorce one or the other spouse will begin to rewrite the history of the marriage and especially the biography of the person they married and are about to divorce.
Is your ex evil or, are you just rewriting history?
The husband becomes evil and this sort of thinking is most prevalent in the one seeking a divorce. Why? Due to guilt, shame and a way to justify the desire for a divorce. You feel better about yourself if your husband is evil and you had no choice but to leave.
What is wrong with this kind of thinking? It takes away any chance of a civil divorce. It damages any children of the marriage and God forbid an adversarial divorce attorney become involved with the selective attention thinker. You can kiss a large chunk of your marital assets goodbye if this happens.
I remember my ex as being a kind and loving man. He was a great father and as long as he had us, up until the day he left we never wanted for anything. If we did, he made sure we had it. Being able to remember him in this way enables me to see him as human…someone who makes mistakes but isn’t evil.
It helps me to continue to attempt to have a civil relationship with him. Something we should all strive to have with an ex-spouse especially if we share children.
He, on the other hand, remembers me as being the cause of all his misery. An abusive shrew that kept him from living the life he wanted to live. According to him I was abusive during the marriage, controlled his every move, drove him into debt; just an all-around bitch that made his life miserable from the moment I uttered the words, “I do.”
His revision of who I was in the marriage and who I am as a person keeps him from being able to see me as human. I have to be seen as the evil one in order for him to continue to feel good about himself and the destructive decisions he has made since leaving the marriage.
Decisions like defying divorce court orders, cutting off contact with his children and turning a blind eye to the damage his behaviors have caused.
Because of this, he will never be able to have a civil relationship with me. His guilt and shame have grown exponentially since our divorce, so much so that there is no way my ex could ever see me as anything but the evil ex-wife who still, 14 years after divorce continues to cause him misery.
Just as our marriage failed, so has our divorce. The key to a successful divorce, one in which the family isn’t destroyed financially and the children emotionally damaged is the ability of both spouses to see each other as flawed human beings, not as evil beings.
Is the way you process data about your ex keeping you from having a “successful divorce?”
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