Our culture offers so many opportunities to talk - about how we feel, what we're doing, who did what to whom and how I feel about that. We can add little faces and emoticons to further describe our thoughts. Oh it's so validating when others respond, "like" or comment!
When dealing with separation, divorce and co-parenting I was tempted to share 'out there' in order to somehow justify my feelings and seek support for my viewpoint. I'm so glad I kept a low profile, it would have been so easy to let it all out there! As it was I regret that so many knew so much - that was even with trying to be discreet.
Bad-mouthing your ex can feel pretty good when you are angry and in pain. Still, it isn't often helpful or productive and this is the time to enact some healthy boundaries for yourself.
- Post on Facebook about specific frustrations - what goes around comes around and it will surely not help the relationship you still have with your ex.
- Unload repeatedly on the same [perhaps mutual] friends - they will think you are bitter and negative if the topic is complaining every time you get together.
- Consider every interaction and child exchange to be the time to bring up grievances. It can wait until you can talk alone or email about specifics. Let go of the feeling that each time you see your former you are reliving the betrayal and rejection. That is in the past, live in the present.
- Find a few safe, trusted people with whom you can vent and rant. Then move on to better and more uplifting topics.
- Keep it light on the internet and remember the permanence of your words.
- Protect your children from feeling of mistrust because you do not feel the same way they do about their parent. It is their right to idealize mom and dad and to point out faults will create distance between you and them. Let your ex define his or her own relationship with the children...they will know the truth in time.
- Prepare a few key phrases for when acquaintances ask how things are going, "We are well and learning to work with our new family time." "There are challenges and working on them." "Some days are tough, but most days are busy, fun and full - like all families."
I can think of several times I've really just wanted to shout out my pain, and explain to everyone the intricacies of why our marriage failed. I had a need to feel justified and wanted validation from others. A key part of my recovery has been to acknowledge that I know the truth, I don't need others to pat me on the back and agree. I know I have acted in line with my values and I don't owe others an explanation. Sometimes I know there are people who judge me or don't understand and I'm okay with that now. I've never regretted holding back, but there are things that I wish I didn't share.
What is your experience with sharing? Needing validation? Facebook? Talk around town?