THE 7 KEYS

TO MAK­ING SEP­A­RA­TION WORK WITH YOUR CO-PAR­ENT

Lift Magazine - - Front Page - Writ­ten by Teash Ol­ogy Life Coach / So­cial Me­dia Com­mu­nity De­vel­oper / Sin­gle Mum

My daugh­ter’s fa­ther came and spent five days in my home to cel­e­brate her 16th birth­day.

And it went well.

Some con­text: Our daugh­ter has grown up in her fa­ther’s home un­til a few months ago when she came to live with me. I spent a lot of time over the last 14 years hav­ing to track her down. Her fa­ther was so in­se­cure about whether I would try to take her away from him, that he ran away from me from day one, even af­ter I had packed his car and boat with ev­ery­thing he needed to go off and be the par­ent with my bless­ing.

*Sigh*

It took a lot of strength to get through this jour­ney, but I did it, and now we can share the same house peace­fully, as adults, as par­ents and make it work.

Here are the 7 keys that made it pos­si­ble:

1. HAV­ING CLEAR BOUND­ARIES

I chose to end the re­la­tion­ship with this man. Which means from day one of sep­a­ra­tion there was no sex, no kiss­ing, noth­ing, Don’t com­pli­cate the mes­sage you are send­ing, not only to your ex-part­ner, but to your­self. There is a rea­son why your re­la­tion­ship wasn’t work­ing, re­mem­ber that. If you feel safe to do so, a hug to say good­bye will keep a bond of care be­tween you. A hug will also ben­e­fit your child/ren who are watch­ing, and who may have al­ready seen the worst from both of you. A hug is an op­por­tu­nity to show them the best of both of you.

2. OWN­ING MY FEEL­INGS AND MY RE­AC­TIONS

No mat­ter what I’m feel­ing about my co-par­ent or what I don’t like about him, I keep my mouth shut.

My re­sponse abil­ity is MY re­spon­si­bil­ity.

3. DE­VEL­OP­ING SELF-AWARE­NESS

I know what up­sets my co-par­ent, I know how I could hurt him. I know what would be con­sid­ered ma­ture be­hav­iour from me or what would just be the ‘long time ago hurt lit­tle girl’ part of me want­ing to make him pay for it. I don’t let my­self go there. EVER.

I also know what an­noys me about my co-par­ent’s be­hav­iour and so I must find that place in my­self that chooses not to re­act, that chooses a way to make it ok for him to be him and me to be me, safely.

It is up to me to find a way to com­mu­ni­cate suc­cess­fully and if it doesn’t work, I must be pre­pared to try some­thing else.

4. HAV­ING GRAT­I­TUDE

I have known the en­tire time that if it was go­ing to work be­tween the two of us as co-par­ents, it was up to me to be the change. I re­mained grate­ful for the mo­ments that worked and found a way to cre­ate more of them. My co-par­ents was not plan­ning on chang­ing, ever. His new re­la­tion­ship was hav­ing the same prob­lems that I had ex­pe­ri­enced with him. This was his les­son as much as it was mine and even to­day I re­main grate­ful that we got the op­por­tu­nity to live and learn and grow, no mat­ter how slowly. And now I get to watch as he has fi­nally come to the place within him­self where he is ready to learn what he needs to so he can have a happy and healthy life. It’s a beau­ti­ful thing and I’m grate­ful to be there to wit­ness the hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence he’s hav­ing.

5. HAV­ING PA­TIENCE

It didn’t al­ways work.

I ar­gued at times when I should have shut up. But each time I spoke to him, I did a lit­tle bit bet­ter. Be­cause as frus­trat­ing as I felt he was, the more up­set I got, the worse I felt.

One day af­ter ar­gu­ing with him on the phone, I ended up with a se­vere ear in­fec­tion that lasted three weeks. It was hor­ri­ble. But through it I ac­knowl­edged that it was only there be­cause I didn’t want to hear what he was say­ing. From that mo­ment on I found ways to keep the sub­jects that got us fired up out of the con­ver­sa­tion.

I learned how to treat my­self and him kindly when we did need to com­mu­ni­cate.

6. GIV­ING UP BLAME

There were so many rea­sons why I blamed him, he was self­ish, an al­co­holic, ir­re­spon­si­ble.... blame blame blame. In the end I had to ac­knowl­edge that I chose him in the first place. I cre­ated the re­al­ity that led me to the re­la­tion­ship that re­sulted in a child. He was al­ways who he was and even though I didn’t like his be­hav­iour it was me who stayed. It was my own be­hav­iour, my own choices that held me there. I have no one to blame, not even my­self. It was a choice that I made and I came to ac­cept that.

7. LEARN­ING SELF-LOVE

I chose to learn as much about my­self as I could from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

What led me to ex­pe­ri­ence this (what did I be­lieve about me)?

How can I make it dif­fer­ent for my­self in the fu­ture?

What do I need to teach my child so that she can feel em­pow­ered to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing dif­fer­ent/bet­ter for her­self?

How can I now be a great ex­am­ple for my kids?

What can I do to break the cy­cle of abuse that I was brought into the world with?

Who do I need to be?

What do I need to be­lieve?

I knew the change had to start with me.

Now, you might be read­ing this and think­ing ‘No way, he’s hor­ri­ble, we could never’. That’s ok. Be there for now. Print this off and come back to it in a year. Maybe two. Be kind to your­self, for the sake of your kids. This is your jour­ney. You get to write the story.

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