Tag Archives: 100% positive

Trying Again to Be 100% Positive

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When I set out on this journey, three years ago, to build a 100% positive divorce parenting blog, well… I knew there would be challenges. I knew that I was starting with a chip on my shoulder and another blog, where I could vent. Today things are much the same, I still blog out of both sides of my mouth, and I’m still confused as to how I can keep pissing my ex-wife off so frequently.

I’ve come close to achieving my goal of 100% positive, even when I’m skirting a difficult subject. But I’ve also failed repeatedly.

I know sometimes people need other people to be mad at. My mom, for example, is a worrier. If I don’t give her something to worry about, she’ll be worrying about someone. It’s fine when it’s not me. But it’s always going to be someone. So, perhaps that’s the deal with my ex-wife. She needs someone to be mad at. Somehow the world has done her wrong, or she’s not living the life she’d really like to be living, and somehow I have something to do with it.

I’ve done my best to pull all punches here on The Whole Parent. And I’ve come close to achieving my goal of 100% positive, even when I’m skirting a difficult subject. But I’ve also failed repeatedly. Most of those posts are sitting unpublished in the “drafts” folder, awaiting some revelation or insight that allows me to approach the subject with a better attitude.

That seems to be the name of the game these days: attitude. I could be mad at my ex-wife. There are certainly things she’s done, things she’s doing, things she will do, that can set me off. My first response, these days, however, is to breathe, relax, and let it go. If I can laugh about it later I can laugh about it now.

Let’s take a recent example of miscommunication that could’ve gone two ways. It went the angry way, but let’s look at what happened and see how I fed into the fury rather than diffused the situation, like I normally do. (To be quite honest, I’m a bit tired of being the good guy divorced dad.)

You see, last week my wife authorized braces (not the inexpensive kind) for both my kids who seem to have great smiles, to me, the non-educated non-dentist father. She agreed to some $5,000 per kid with the dentist and had the Invisalign braces put on my kid’s teeth. She never asked me about it. Never mentioned it. I heard about it from one of my kids complaining about them, not knowing why he had to get braces in the first place.

Wait. What? So my ex-wife incurred a $10,000 medical expense and forgot to ask or tell me about it? That’s a violation of our joint-custody rules. Hmm… I suppose I could go about my response in two ways. 1. Anger. 2. Reasoned response.

I sent her one email on the subject.

“I will only say it once. I do not think either of our kids need braces.”

In an effort to cover herself she didn’t respond to my email, she blasted everything about the last six years that made her angry at me.

That was it. Now, I could’ve done better. I could’ve played, the “you must’ve been too busy to call me…” card, but I was irritated and I let my angry side show a bit. I’d have to say I stayed pretty far away from the ANGRY response. And maybe because I didn’t take a more aggressive approach it gave her an opening to rail against me. She went on in a two page email about how disappointed she was in me, in my questioning her decision about this, about how unsupportive I’ve been in the last six years, since our divorce.

Of course, she was defending by attacking. She didn’t answer my question, until I posed it in a second email. Again, very short and to the point.

“I’m assuming that you want me to pay for half of their expenses, even though you did not ask me about it. Why didn’t you ask me about it?”

Now, I knew this would get her fired up. And another hot letter (too hot to excerpt even) came smoking into my inbox. I didn’t even read the entire letter. She knew she was in violation of our agreement. She was taking the FU approach to responding.

I’m curious how my more tempered email would’ve been received? The problem is she knew she had done something wrong. (Getting $10,000 worth of braces put on our kids without consulting me.) And in an effort to cover herself she didn’t respond to my email, she blasted everything about the last six years that made her angry at me.

Well, I’m doing a pretty good job here of keeping it above-board, but occasionally, like today, I have to let a little of the pain show through. Tomorrow I go back to being 100% positive. And tomorrow I will once again show the fully loving response to her angry missives. It’s all about the kids these days. Our anger, our emotions towards each other, shouldn’t even come into the equation. I do my best. But I can do better.

Have I failed?

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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image: positive thinking, creative commons usage

Resetting Your Priorities in the New Year as a Single Parent

WHOLE-prayerties

It’s all too easy to blame your ex-partner for things that aren’t working in your life. I know that I’d like to have the last few years back and do a couple things differently. And I know that seeing my ex refurnish the house, her house, while I’m struggling to find a house again, is painful. But guess what? It’s not her fault. Ever.

I am responsible for my own happiness. Full stop.

That’s a hard line I’ve come to rely on as I’ve been turning everything around about my life, my divorce, and my parenting. It is NEVER about her.

Taking Inventory

When we take our own inventory in life it’s a good thing. (The 12-step programs have given us fantastic resources and frameworks for digging into what’s not working in our lives.) It’s when we take someone else’s inventory that things get a bit more muddled. Their issues, desires, and failings are really none of our business. (Kid’s lives have a slightly different relationship, but we’ve even got to watch our “assessments” of our kids.) My ex-wife and her joys or lows are really none of my concern. And when I pay attention to her life [how’s she doing… wait, she’s got a new living room set… how’s her boyfriend working out…] I’m really doing both of us a disservice.

I could focus on her. I could retrace things about our marriage and divorce that could’ve, should’ve, would’ve been done better.  I could dig into my own issues and seek forgiveness… Except… That time has passed. The only forgiveness I need at this moment is from and for myself. Divorce is ultimately an individual experience. No amount of counseling, friendships, or new relationships can take us our of the sorrows, joys, and struggles of resetting every aspect of our lives. Books, blogs, therapy, friends, exercise, they all help, but the real work is done on a much deeper level.

I’ve been asked on several occasions about this blog. One friend said to me, “It’ll be great when you’re over your divorce. It seems like your still obsessed with it.” I found her statement funny at the time, but now I understand what she was getting at. She was reflecting her own issues. She was sharing about her divorce pain, not mine. Even as she was checking-in with me on some level, she was really talking about herself.

I’m well over my divorce, it’s the parenting part that I won’t ever be over. And that is where my focus has to reside. Not on her, or the divorce, but on myself and my relationship to my kids. (I know I repeat this idea, like a mantra, but I need to hear it.)

And…

And I need to continue to explore the ideas of love and trust for myself. When I pull back the covers a bit on my failed marriage, I am really seeking to understand more about myself. It’s a bit voyeuristic at times, but I’m not that interested in her or her feelings. I really have no way of knowing all the emotional swirlings that were going on in her mind as things broke down between us. I can only account for my own actions, my own feelings in the moment, and my current reflection back on *my* role in the process of loss and separation.

Sure, the pain of being divorced comes up from time to time, but it’s primarily around the loss of time with my kids. She is much less important to my life and well-being than my kids. In fact, other than taking care of my own health (mental, spiritual, and physical) there is nothing more important in my life than the care and feeling of my two kids.

My positive approach to life is how I show up for my kids. They are watching us. They are learning from our actions.

The real kicker comes when I catch myself assessing my ex-wife’s success or failure post-divorce. That type of thinking *would* indicate an obsession and inability to move on from the relationship. These type of thoughts come in minor flashes now, but they used to come in broad strokes that would re-chart the course for an entire day, when I wasn’t vigilant about rejecting them. There is no value, none, in taking someone else’s inventory. This life is not about them, it’s about me. I can be distracted by focusing on others, or circumstances outside my control, but that is a dark path that leads to depression and feelings of despair.

Get this message: I am responsible for my own happiness. Full stop.

As I began writing this blog in 2013 I knew it would not be easy to reframe all of my “work” in a positive light. However, just the act of starting the 100% positive goal began a process that transformed my own experience of live after divorce. When I started I still had resentment, I still felt like I had been wronged, I still had long periods of sadness surrounding the loss.

What emerged as I kept revisiting all of my feelings from this positive perspective is my own positivism. What I learned in the process of writing all of this “divorce” stuff was that it wasn’t about the divorce, it was about me. This blog is about my recovery of joy. Even in these hard times, I worked to see the good. As things began to get worse I doubled my efforts. The positive voice began to become my inner voice. The letting go of negativity towards my ex-wife was the biggest single step in my recovery process. And knowing that my kids were affected by all of our interactions, I saw the positive changes in their lives too.

We can’t imagine what is going on in another person’s life. We try. But we know that our projections are not real. In redirecting that inventory-centered mind on ourselves we can take charge of what we can know, what we can change. The act of writing this blog has allowed me to reclaim my own joy.

I am one of the happiest people I know. I’ve always been this way. A friend on the street a few weeks ago asked me, “Were you this happy as a kid?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’ve always been the one who shouts across the room to greet someone I care about.” I had just hailed him from 50-yards away.

“A lot of people don’t see themselves that way. A lot of kids I’m teaching these days have no sense of their inner voice. It’s as if they don’t have one. As if they don’t remember themselves as kids.”

Taking the High Road

Here’s what I know. My ex-wife has nothing to do with my happiness or success. My positive approach to life is how I show up for my kids. They are watching us. They are learning from our actions. How we deal with hard times will inform and set their own internal compass for later in life as they run into challenges. In resetting everything in my life on my own experience, I learned that my positive approach to living in the present moment was the most powerful parenting lesson I could give them.

I am someone who claims to be spiritual but not religious. To me, what this means is I take more comfort in the Serenity Pray than I do in the Lord’s Prayer. I prefer friendly company or contemplative solitude to church. And while I’m not sure how spirituality will play out in my kid’s lives, I know that I show them every day what it means to be a self-fulfilled and happy person.

I am joyous. I am alone. And I am always hopeful.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

back to Positive Divorce

God, grant me the serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things that I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

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image: prayer ties, tifanie chaney, creative commons usage

The Whole Parent Journey – Year One Retrospective

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It’s been a year since I started this blog. 80 posts later, one firing, and a ton of growth, I am very happy to have set out on this journey. Today I’d like to celebrate the wins and learnings that have transpired over this first year of publishing. Let’s look at how we began, back on Sept. 21, 2013. [see the Full Index of all posts]

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Here is a gallery of all the cover images once I defined the brand style. I’ve covered a lot of territory. Not all of it easy, but hopefully in keeping with my 100% positive mission statement.

My goal has always been to improve my understanding of co-parenting, and how to keep coming back to the issues with a positive approach. It’s kid’s first. Nothing else matters.

As the divorce issues and parenting issues have gotten resolved the next progression along the path of wholeness is returning to the idea of being in a relationship again. And while this blog did not start out with a “dating” agenda, I believe that “wholeness” will come from finding a long-term romantic relationship again. Along that path I have journeyed back into the dating pool, and here I have attempted to capture some of my self-observations and lessons. Again, these are my observations, your milage may vary.

It’s been a great run so far, my traffic today averages 300 – 500 visitors a day, thanks to my affiliation with The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. And I’ve even been made a contributing editor of the GMP.

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And the monthly growth has been pretty astounding.

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So here’s to the next year. Thank you for joining me on this journey, I hope you stay tuned.

Click here to see the Full Index of all posts.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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image: team dad, john mcelhenney, cc 2010

I’m Proud of You: The Dance of Fathers and Their Sons

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I am fairly certain I never told my dad I was proud of him. There were lots of reasons for that. Last night when I was having a casual chat with my son about my new job, this conversation came out.

“this is a HUGE job… I know it doesn’t make sense to you at this moment, but this is the biggest job of my career so far”

“I’m so proud”

“you are?”

“XD” (this is the text icon for a smile so big your eyes are squinting shut)

“cool”

It didn’t really strike me until this morning that my son had told me he was proud of me. I know there were a lot of factors in his declaration, but the moment really came home as I was thinking about my dad. And I’m pretty sure, due to the uncontrollable circumstances of his drinking that I never told my dad that I was proud of him. And maybe his dad had never said it to him or visa versa.

But last night my son gave me a gift. Without even thinking about it, at the speed of text, he said it. And backed it up with a super smily text icon. We moved on to discussions about what kind of computer I was going to get and how many monitors I would have on my desk, and other techie stuff. But the chord of joy was struck in me. My son is proud of me. And while my new job will lighten up the financial load a bit for all of us, his mom included, what I heard from my son was, “I am proud of you.”

What my dad didn’t ever understand is that if he would just sober up and take care of himself we would *all* be set.

In the last months of my father’s life we had some sober days to recover what we could of our relationship. He had left the home when I was six and turned into more of a bear and bastard as he married a new drinking partner. There was so much anger and sadness around my father that it was hard to maintain any relationship at all with him. But sons will be sons and I continued to try and have an impact on my dad’s life. I tried to show up at his house and dazzle him with my accomplishments. But nothing really worked.

I hoped when I won the district tennis championship in 7th grade that my dad would acknowledge me. Or when I got all a’s, or was accepted into the most prestigious prep school in the country… But he didn’t. In fact with the prep school announcement he actually raged at me in a drunken stupor late and night and kicked me. He seemed incoherent, but it was clear that he was unhappy about me escaping his circle of influence. But of course that was the goal of going thousands of miles away to school.

My escape didn’t last long. Over the first Spring break, when I didn’t come back to town, my father suffered his 3rd major heart attack. I was summoned to the dean’s office for a phone call. It was his new wife, slurring and crying telling me about him. He was okay. Still in intensive care, but he was going to make it. It was the worst phone call of my life. Ever.

My life spiraled into a series of bad decisions and depressions that lasted most of my young adult life. And during my sophomore year in college my dad died of cancer. More chaos. More sadness.

And even after all this, today, I am aware that I didn’t say how proud I was of my father, ever. I’d like to say it now. “My dad was an amazing doctor. His patients and staff loved him. And his success in medicine would be hard to replicate in any field. He took better care of his patients than he did his family, and certainly much better care than he took of himself. Dad, I am proud of you. You were amazing.”

My dad might have wanted to change, but he didn’t find the way to do it until the medical procedures prevented him from drinking at all.

As he was dying we had an opportunity to reconcile to some extent. He never really understood my English degree at the university. He was expecting a doctor or lawyer. Maybe both, he told me once, “A medical legal lawyer,” he said. “Then you would be set.”

What he didn’t ever understand is that if he would just sober up and take care of himself we would all be set. He didn’t take care of himself after the divorce and he slipped further away from being my dad. He made some offers over the course of my high school years. He would build a room for me over the garage. (But he didn’t, and it was an after thought on his brand new house. There was no room for me.)

And one day while I was in college, I brought him a particular short story to read. It had been published in the university literary magazine. He read it but I could tell it didn’t make sense to him. He smiled, sipped his Cutty Sark, and said it was “nice.”

I was never able to live up to my father’s dreams for me. He died before I even got a chance. And in the same sad way, I never got to tell him how amazing he was to me. Of course I’d be talking about my memories of him from 0 – 5 years old. Not a lot of time with my hero-dad.

Today I am not a hero to my son. I’m simply a dad who is present and caring. I am interested in every one of his activities as he grows and changes in the first weeks of 8th grade. And I can see what an amazing young man he is turning into. I wish my father had gotten the same opportunity to recognize and appreciate me. And perhaps I would’ve been able to appreciate him back.

We cried, laughed at “what might have been even” in the tragedy we all knew was right around the corner.

Instead he was cut loose from the family, as a result of his own decisions to maintain a drinking relationship rather than a human one. And as he descended further into hell, we all went with him, even as we were trying to escape the loss and vacuum his absence created. And when he died my two sisters and brother and I stood together and wept. He had become so fragile as he was dying. We could hardly remember the scathing rages that had terrorized our lives while he was living in the same house.

We are tied to our parents emotionally for our entire lives. The relationships we had or have with them form a lot of the information around how to be in a relationship at all. And as I forgave my father, after his death, I began to forgive myself for not being able to save him, or at least be awesome enough that he would quit drinking.

I know now that waiting for the other person to change is a dead-end street. My dad might have wanted to change, but he didn’t find the way to do it until the medical procedures prevented him from drinking at all. And then for a few short months of remission his children all rushed back to town and to his side to attempt our repairs with him. And we all did our best. We cried, laughed at “what might have been even” in the tragedy we all knew was right around the corner.

I’m excited to live through those times WITH my kids. And I will be 100% positive and 100% present for all of them, as long as I live.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

Note: I have written the experience of losing my father, the death bed scenes, the aftermath of his death, my entire writing career. I will probably keep trying to capture the depth of the emotion of that loss for the rest of my writing life.

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image: father and son on enchanted rock, john mcelhenney, (cc) 2014

The Cadence of Co-Parenting; Staying Close Even After Divorce

WHOLE-mom-kid

There are not fewer things to coordinate when you become a single parent, in fact there are more. The things you once traded equitably, now fall 100% in your lap when it is your parenting time. This new cadence can be jarring, frustrating, and make for some upset campers on all sides, unless you plan ahead and go 100% Positive.

Here’s an example.

When you were married and one of your children woke up sick it could make for a challenging morning, as you juggled timing and sick-kid duty with your spouse. As a co-parent, when then this happens, things can get a little more tense. The goal is the same, get your child a chaperone for the day and a chauffeur to the doctor, if necessary, but the negotiations about who can “afford” to stay home, and who’s got the most important meeting, can foul up the good will.

The trick is to remind yourself, the drill is the same, the requirements are the same, but the cooperation with your ex-spouse needs to be even more careful.

In general, if the kids are with me and one of them is sick in the morning I figure out how to reset my “in-person” obligations so I can provide the care my child needs. I’m lucky to have a virtual-type job in digital marketing.

“Just checking to make sure you’ve got this” from the ex-wife have proven to be, as they were when we were married, a lifesaver.

When my co-parent wakes up with a sick kid, and no babysitter until school lets out, she occasionally has to rely on me. If I thought she was dumping the responsibility on me I might get mad. And I suppose, if it happened all the time, for some reason, I might also begin to suspect foul play. But when I know that she is cooperating as a parent, in the other areas of our kids lives, I extend that faith to these events as well.

By keeping the lines of communication open with my co-parent, I can defuse my own misperceptions and remain focused on the solution.

Our sick kid needs a parent, what can I do to help? It’s the same issue, with a different relationship and balance of trust. As co-parents, we rely on each other, we still talk about our kids, and we hope to continue growing our trust in this cooperative parenting after divorce.

The routines around school always seem to be the most challenging. Who’s taking who to the next cross-country meet? Will both parents be going? And asking questions like, “Are you okay with me signing our daughter up for volleyball?” are all part of the balance of parenting with another person, now no longer your primary partner. And I will admit, the occasional emails, “Just checking to make sure you’ve got this” from the ex-wife have proven to be, as they were when we were married, a lifesaver.

We are certain to hit a few bumps from time to time, but if we can focus on the kids and what the requirement is, we can save ourselves, our kids, and our former spouse a ton of heartache and frustration.

I still smile at her, “Just being a mom,” tag she throws in when she knows she’s sent three or four reminders. And I go above and beyond to let her know I really appreciate her efforts too. She was the more calendar-oriented partner, and when I can give her thanks for alerting me to a looming deadline, I do it.

It doesn’t take much to keep the goodwill flowing between you when you remember the needs of  your kids and leave any emotional content out of the negotiations. In a divorce recovery class, someone said, “Deal with your ex like you do the convenience store clerk. You go in, get what you need and take care of business. You don’t really need to know about the rest of their lives.”

When your kids come first you can find the flexibility to work with your co-parent at solving the complications that arise. And sharing that appreciation with your kids serves to let them know you still value their other parent, and you are working together with them to be the best mom and dad you can be, even in this different configuration.

It wasn’t always easy. And we are certain to hit a few bumps from time to time, but if we can focus on the kids and what the requirement is, we can save ourselves, our kids, and our former spouse a ton of heartache and frustration. This is my fourth year as a co-parent, and while I still have disagreements with the mother of my kids, I never resent her efforts nor take them for granted. And I try to give her support and appreciation as often as I can. Our happy and healthy kids are the result.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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image: beginner’s luck, susan sermoneta, creative commons usage

Co-parenting Is Not Always Easy, But We Have a Choice

The Whole Parent - End SarcasmMoney issues might have had a great deal to do with the breakdown of trust and adoration in my marriage. And even though the marriage is over, the conflict and misunderstanding around money is a difficult topic. Even when you love one another, it’s difficult. When it comes up after divorce, it can easily escalate, like war.

But we can stop it. I can stop it. Even if I have no control over the discussion, I have my part and my participation in it. The pause and silence are my friend. If I always try and answer, even when I don’t have an answer, I find myself defending things I wasn’t trying to propose. If I respond with anger, I NEVER get what I need.

I learned something, only recently, that has worked with some effectiveness: I try and respond with an update. At least I’m not freezing my ex out of the discussion. I may not have the answer. (And at this moment, today, I certainly don’t have the answer.) But I am engaging in the conversation.

I don’t have to respond in-kind. I can take the higher road and do my best at giving an honest respond, and if possible a solution.

And sometimes, the response, “I’m thinking about this and will respond to you by Monday,” often has a soothing effect, for both of us. I’m not left with this need to respond, and while I haven’t given the answer, I have expressed my intention and timing for my response. This gives us both a little time to think/work on the answer.

In conflict, my ex-wife and I often do better if we write it down. We even used love letters in our courting period. We both enjoy putting our ideas in logical sequence and giving them some considered thought. This is a great way to diffuse the potential emotional escalation. And when I take a pause, I can often reframe my initial angry response in a more loving and considered manner.

So today, I can slow things down. I can let her know that I am thinking about her question/request. And then I can set an expectation for when I will be giving her my response.

I don’t benefit at all from firing off a knee-jerk reaction to an angry email from my ex-wife. I don’t have to respond in-kind. I can take the higher road and do my best at giving an honest respond, and if possible a solution.

So much of co-parenting is about negotiation and compromise. We no longer have the same loving emotional ties to our former partners. We no longer have to make their urgency and priorities our own. But we owe the considered response to the parenting relationship. By taking our anger elsewhere, we can keep the focus on the REQUEST from our ex and try and keep the response to an ANSWER.

Sometimes I have to parse out the request. And sometimes I don’t have the answer. But the tone and method of my response is up to me.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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Note: The image is of me, and represents my intention to keep sarcasm out of all my responses to my ex-partner.

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I Am Not the Problem, We Are

The family of origin - The Whole ParentThere are bumps along the road to single-parenting and our hopeful arrival at co-parenting cooperation. And what ripped our marriage apart is probably still the dysfunction that we deal with as separate parents, doing our best.

The thing to remember is this: the other parent is doing the very best they can.

It’s hard to swallow sometimes. When the discussions get difficult, it’s easier to blame the other person for the issue. But if it’s an issue it’s a joint issue.

A few of the rules have changed, but if we can return to the memory of that love that existed, and see how it is transformed into the love of our children, and “for” our children, we can do a better job at responding with compassion and empathy.

The hard fact is this: We are no longer married, but we are in a relationship forever. The things we used to fight over as a couple are still between us. And just because the loving relationship is gone, the love and anger at loss-of-love is not gone. So, this morning when I got another “you done me wrong” email from the mother of my children I chose a different path.

I offered information. I answered the questions that I could. I suggested an in-person chat, which she has rejected over the last six months of “parental” negotiations, and then I stopped. I stopped short of contradicting her accusations. I stopped myself from responding in-kind with my grievances. And I tried to imagine the woman that I fell in love with, as a friend, struggling with some parenting and financial issues.

We are triggered by our ex-mates. We could not have married them, and had children with them if the connection was not elemental and deep. That connection is still there. A few of the rules have changed, but if we can return to the memory of that love that existed, and see how it is transformed into the love of our children, and “for” our children, we can do a better job at responding with compassion and empathy.

Kurt Vonnegut’s book Slapstick had a memorable line that framed a good portion of my young adult life, after I acquired it. It is my mantra when dealing with family matters.

“A little less love, and a little more common decency please.”

I am sad sometimes that I no longer have a partner and cheerleader in navigating these difficult times. But that role/relationship ended several years before the marriage did. And now I have two fabulous kids and their mom.

Own your anger. Process it with someone else. You’re ex-lover, ex-partner, and the other half of your co-parenting relationship does not deserve it, and will not be served by your venting.

I don’t have to take on her issues, I don’t have to make her priorities my priorities, and occasionally I have to get mad and stand up for the NO that needs to be said. But I don’t ever have to say it in anger or personal frustration. That shit is mine. And I will do well to deal with it here. Outside of the relationship with my ex-wife.

Finally, in my self-recovery process I learned about how important it was to get the anger out. To write the anger letter. (This is a great gestalt for most relationship problems.) WRITE IT, BUT DON’T SEND IT.

Own your anger. Process it with someone else. You’re ex-lover, ex-partner, and the other half of your co-parenting relationship does not deserve it, and will not be served by your venting. Do vent. Find a healthy release for YOUR stuff. And then return to the love of your kids, and the memory of the love you once had for their other parent.

Always love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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