1. Hell hath no demons like an ex spouse disappointed in themselves
They can be total jerks… But- when we realize that weak people lash out at others because they are pissed at themselves for screwing up, it changes the whole energy around the interaction. My 14-year old has figured this out. He will look at me at 9:30 pm when I am in the middle of a storm of 2-day old dirty dishes ranting at him about his chores, and say “Mom, you are tired. Please go to bed. I will do them in the morning.” He can clearly see that I am mad at myself and blaming him. He knows not to take it on. But I learn more slowly… When my ex doesn’t pay the court-ordered child support, and then lashes out at me in abnormally mean exchanges, it takes me longer to figure out that it is not because I am the terrible person he is accusing me of. It is because he is disappointed in himself for not having the money he is court-ordered to pay.
When I can pity my ex and his weakness for eating out too often for his budget, and feel sorry for him for not taking responsibility for his own choices (and therefore losing his opportunity for growth), his entire verbal assault bounces off of me like rubber bullets. I am the unruffled duck to his accusations of tardiness; his cries about my perilous driving (I got a photo-radar ticket that he found out about) don’t even register. I know he is having a hard time with his life, and being lame about moving forward and fixing his own issues.
Yes, I need to work on my speeding, tardy, dirty dish habits. But these habits don’t justify the torment he unleashes. My answer? Pity the fool! Be grateful that we learn from our mistakes and don’t unleash hellish torture and misery on others to try to avoid our own anxiety and natural consequences. This applies to more than just ex-spouses of course…
***Pitying him doesn’t mean I let him out of the money he owes me. It just means I think of him as a chicken instead of a demon.
2. Eggs are really easy, cheap protein when we run out of money, creativity, and time for healthy meals. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, hard-boiled eggs- all awesome. Kids think French toast is the best thing ever– try one of those the next time you run out of mojo for dinner.