What’s the story you tell yourself about your ex? About how the relationship ended? About the part you played? Are you a victim in this story? Is your ex the perpetrator? What horrible things have they done and/or said to you? How often have you told this story to someone else? How often do you rerun this story in your mind?
Have you ever questioned your own story?
Please note – I am NOT talking about domestic violence cases.
Every single time you take a part of your story out to think about it or tell it to someone else it changes slightly. Most people have a tendency to reinforce, emphasize and the ‘bad’ and minimise or eliminate entirely the ‘good’ (unless they’ve painted themselves as a hero). As you retell it to yourself or someone else you see it slightly differently, and usually NOT for the better.
This leads to an increase in bad feelings towards the other person. It can increase stress, anxiety AND make you angry. It can be really hard to let go of that anger. When you try to interact with that other person, guess what? Your brain is primed and ready to fire!
Have you stopped to consider that the other person has their own story? What do you think their story is? How do they portray themselves? How are you portrayed? Do you think they have an accurate picture of you?
You’re Both Right, And You’re Both Wrong
Here’s a tip – each of you is wrong about the other and is wrong about exactly what happened. You will never get to the ‘TRUTH’ (unless you’re Truman Burbank and your entire life has been captured on film). I see this in mediation all of the time. If one party tells me a story of woe about how they’ve been victimised by the other, I can guarantee that the other party will tell me the exact opposite story. This happens over and over again. It’s like living a groundhog day.
Instead of trying to figure out who did what to whom, why don’t you try a different approach?
Change Your Thinking
- Take 100% responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions. All of them. Write them down.
- Take 100% responsibility for your part in the relationship. Be honest with yourself and never use the word, ‘but’ (e.g., I kept the children from them but I needed to because they weren’t paying me child support). Nope. You didn’t need to do anything.
- Question your point of view and seek out exactly what the family law says. Ask an expert if you need to. The Family Law Act is easy to read so get online and read it! Many people believe they are in the right because it’s their opinion. Not because it’s written into law.
- If you can’t seem to let go of the anger, or of being a victim, seek help. Not from someone who is going to provide endless sympathy, but from someone who can help you let go of the past, manage your thoughts, feelings and emotions, and achieve your goals.
Where to Get Help
If you’re having a hard time letting go of feeling like a victim, letting go of your story, or with managing your anger consider seeing a coach and tell them you’d like help to change. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results!