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Tips From a Family Law Paralegal

Parents: Take the High Road - No More Badmouthing Your Ex

 Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW, has published a great article on the importance of not badmouthing your ex. Yes, maybe he is a jerk. I know, she makes Cruella de Ville look sweet. But if you have children together, they will suffer from your badmouthing ways.

So how do you resist the temptation to hurl the insults? How do you refuse to take the bait that your ex dangles tantalizingly in front of you? Zip your lips! That's right, just like the old fashioned adage "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Use these tips to help you keep your lips firmly zipped.

Your children are ½ your ex: when you insult your ex, you're insulting your children. 

You once loved this person: it may seem incredulous, but there was a time when you actually wanted to spend the rest of your life with this person.

Redirect your emotions: Change the trajectory of your frustrated feelings and start focusing on what is going right in your life. Make a list of things for which you are grateful, including the smallest details of abundance (your health, family, friends, etc.). Gratitude always feels better than anger.

Badmouthing ultimately hurts you: Remember that lowering yourself to the level of a school yard bully is no way to go through life. The anger activates your body's stress response and wears you down. Being unkind, nasty, and spiteful has a way of backfiring. It's like holding a hot coal, ready to fling it at your enemy, only to discover that you're burning your own hand.

 If your ex is badmouthing you, then they are suffering: If you're on the receiving end of being badmouthed, just know that your ex is most likely not functioning at their best. Even if you can't wish them some compassion, you can at least stop the spiral of negativity by refusing to play dirty.

Difficult circumstances can be your teacher: Love yourself and your children enough to stay out of the fighting ring.

If you do resort to badmouthing, you can stop: If you find yourself slipping with an insult, say the words "Cancel that" and try again. 

Ultimately, taking the high road is not always easy but you and your children will benefit in the end.

Lisa Martin is a Family Law Paralegal at the law firm of Hanis Irvine Prothero, PLLC. If you have questions regarding a family law matter, she can be reached at (253) 520-5000 or by email at lmartin@hiplawfirm.com.

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