Heartbreak

5 Reasons Bad-Mouthing Your Ex Will Only Make Things Worse

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After a breakup, not bad-mouthing your ex can feel next to impossible.

Whether you left or were left, the end of the relationship can lead to anger, bitterness and resentment.

And, try as we might, keeping those feelings to ourselves can be difficult, sometimes even impossible.

I am here to tell you, from personal experience and the experience of my clients, that bad-mouthing your ex will only make things worse, even if it feels really good in the moment.

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5 reasons why you shouldn't bad-mouth your ex

1. You won’t be able to move on.

Much like when you still follow your ex on social media, bad-mouthing them maintains a connection between the two of you and not a good one.

A client of mine’s husband left her and, surprisingly, he was very angry with her and blamed her for the end of their marriage. She was angry and hurt and tried to talk about that anger and hurt with him but that made him even angrier. And he didn’t share that anger with her — he told others about it.

At her daughter’s birthday party, my client was sitting with her ex and her family. She texted him and learned that his text alert for her was "Houston, we have a problem.” She was devastated and left the table, crying.

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How could her husband, the father of her children, be so disrespectful?

She asked her daughter about it and she said that he said that "it played well at board meetings." At his board meetings, at work, he was denigrating her in front of others.

And what did this do for him? All it did was keep her connected to him. Every time she texted him, that is what he heard. And every time she texted him, he was triggered into feeling the anger and resentment that he felt toward her.

Furthermore, I am guessing that while the co-board members laughed at this alert, it really made them uncomfortable and perhaps lose some respect for him.

So, know that bad-mouthing your ex, while it might feel good in the moment, will only keep you connected to your ex. If you don’t talk about them it will lead to not even thinking about them and that will help you move on!

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2. It will make you feel bad about yourself.

Be honest. Every time you bad-mouth your ex, does it make you feel good about yourself or does it make you feel like a smaller person?

Bad-mouthing your ex can feel really good in the moment. You are releasing your anger and getting positive affirmation from those around you that what you are feeling is warranted. But really, does it ultimately make you feel better about yourself?

Bad-mouthing anyone is something that we have been taught all of our lives that we don’t want to do. From early childhood, our parents teach us to be kind. That being unkind to others hurtful and something that we would never want to happen to us.

And I am guessing that, as an adult, you basically have a rule that you won’t talk shit about people.

Bad-mouthing your ex is breaking that rule.

So, pay attention to how you feel after you bad-mouth your ex. While it does feel good in the moment, does it leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth? Do you regret doing so, just like when you eat that whole pint of ice cream because it tastes good but then you hate yourself for how you feel afterward?

If bad-mouthing your ex makes you feel this way, stop doing it. You can control this one thing in your life — so do it!

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3. It might affect their lives.

This is something that a lot of people don’t consider when they bad-mouth someone — the long-term effect that it could have on that person’s life.

Another client learned through the grapevine that her ex (who was a co-worker) was telling people that she was "crazy." That she was clingy and jealous and immature. She asked him to stop but he didn’t.

Eventually, the words got to her boss. He called her into his office and told her about the things that he was hearing around the office and that they were making him uncomfortable. He didn’t tell her that he was going to fire her but she recognized that, because he had heard those words, he was looking at her differently.

And that wasn’t good for her career.

After a time, her ex stopped bad-mouthing her and her work life got back to normal but things with her boss were never the same. They were both aware of what had happened and they both felt uncomfortable about their conversation around it and it made working together challenging.

My client ultimately found a new job and is doing well but the experience was harrowing for her.

So, if you are bad-mouthing your ex, know that it could have a profound effect on their life, something I am guessing you don’t really want to happen!

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4. Your friends will never forget.

This is one thing that we forget when we bad-mouth our ex to our friends. That we can never take back the words that we say. And that our friends will never forget them.

I have a client who had been struggling over the past year with her relationship with her boyfriend. They moved in together and when they did, she realized that his up and down moods made her feel unloved and disrespected. And, did she talk to him about it? Nope. She talked to her friends!

On countless nights, while taking walks or having a drink, my client talked about all the bad things about her boyfriend, the way he treated her and how unimportant he made her feel. And her friends, because they are her friends, got angry with him and told her to break up with him.

And when she didn’t, her friends, while outwardly supportive, had her words at the back of their minds, always. They were never able to accept her boyfriend because of all of the bad things that she said about him. And, when she was struggling, they got sick of hearing about it and had a hard time being supportive.

So, know that your friends, your siblings, and your parents will never forget the words that you say when you are talking about your partner or someone you recently broke up with. As a result, their relationship with that person will be forever changed!

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5. You might start a war.

When relationships end, the goal is to move on with our lives and be happy. And hopefully, that will happen. But it might take a while for it to do so.

In the meantime, we can be angry and resentful and hurt and not behave in a way that is kind or healthy.

And that could lead to hurtful words being thrown back in our face.

I know with my client whose husband had that painful text alert, she no longer made an effort to rise above how she felt about him, to be determined to not say anything negative about him to their friends and family.

Knowing that he was doing this to her, she started to do it to him.

She wasn’t proud of what she was doing but she did it anyway. He had left her and to hear that he was bad-mouthing her made her angry.

And so, she lashed out. She told their friends exactly how he had left her (which was for another woman). She told his mother that he was a weak man who disrespected his wife and his children. She told her kids that his behavior was unacceptable and a sign of a weak man.

And what did this get her? Satisfaction? No. It got her more bad-mouthing by her ex.

Whereas before he was bad-mouthing her, once she started bad-mouthing him his behavior got elevated. He cut her down to their children, to their friends, to her family.

He told everyone that she was a horrible wife and that he shouldn’t have stayed as long as he did. That they never had sex and that he was so much happier with his new girlfriend.

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And this, of course, led to more, harsher bad-mouthing by her.

And this war affected their kids, their friends, and their family. And it only dragged out the end of the marriage because they continued to spew anger at each other.

They were so focused on the bad words that they forgot to work on looking to the future and not to the past.

So, know that bad-mouthing your ex could only make things worse for everyone. It will prevent everyone from moving forward and set the stage for things to stay bad between you forever.

And that is not the goal. The goal is to learn from your mistakes, move on and find the love that you seek.

So, now you can see that, no matter how good it feels in the moment, bad-mouthing your ex is ultimately only a self-sabotaging act.

If you bad-mouth your ex, you will find yourself stuck in this relationship that isn’t working, held back from moving on. You could cause a long-term effect on their lives and your relationship. And you will kill any chance of them having a relationship with your friends and family if you, for some reason, reconcile.

And, most importantly, you will be going against everything that you know to be right in the world, by being unkind to someone instead of rising above it, and that will only make you feel bad about yourself.

Stop bad-mouthing your ex. It’s a waste of time and energy, time and energy that could be spent healing and finding the love that you want!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.

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This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.