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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I hope you can offer me some suggestions on how to overcome

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Good morning,
I hope you can offer me some suggestions on how to overcome my situation.
My husband's ex-wife is a very volatile person. She appears to thrive off of hurting people and my husband is no exception. It has been years since their divorce, yet she still takes her opportunities to stick it to him, and turn their children against him.
For example, volatile, hurtlful and threatening texts get sent to my husband at key times, his father's funeral, his mother's funeral, and this morning on his birthday. She has hurt him financially and mostly, by lying to the children and causing all sorts of drama.
This hurts my husband and resultingly angers me. I used to be fairly care-free and I need to be. I am self-employed in sales.
But it seems that I have allowed resentment to build up against this woman and I find myself always steaming over it. My thoughts are frequently fixated in fantasy about getting even with this woman, then I feel guilty as I realize she is emotionally ill.
My husband feels abused and beaten down. He is tired of it all and heartbroken that his adult children are acting ill also. I also get angry at him that he is still accepting her punches.
I realize I need to get beyond this, and my husband also - for our peace of minds.
Any advice?

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

How old are your husband's children?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

His daughter is 27 and son is soon to be 25.

Thanks for the information.

At this point, his children are adults so your husband's need to have contact with his ex is minimal. And the children are old enough to understand what is going on with their mother. As long as your husband stays away from putting his ex down or questioning her behavior with his children, then he can maintain a good relationship with them, leaving them to have their own opinion about their mother's behavior. And if they choose to follow their mother's behavior, then there is little anyone can do except try to get along with them and set boundaries.

When dealing with someone with a personality issue, it is always best to ignore their behavior the best you can. People with personality disorders, which is sounds like your husband's ex might have, often provoke emotional reacts in others because their behavior is so offensive and hurtful. Training yourself to not react and to remain neutral can help. Develop a few non emotional responses you can provide to just about anything she says to you (and your husband can do the same), especially when she tries to provoke you. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is a good response to just about any comment. It leaves your feelings out of it, negates a reaction and keeps her from feeling offended or taking further action.

If you can, also ask others to support you. If she shows up to family events or funerals, then stay with other people around you as much as you can. Also, if she tries to contact your husband in any way, make sure he sets boundaries with her. Being firm and not emotional helps a lot, even if you feel like you want to lash out. Cut her off, hang up or do not respond to emails. If there is something important to know, you will find out. Otherwise, do what you can to minimize her ability to upset you.

It can be very hard to cope with someone who may be mentally ill. As for support from other family, friends and make sure to maintain supports. Do things together than bond you and distract you from the negative effects of her behavior.

I hope this has helped you,
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