The Surprising Reason Your Ex Turned Into A Complete Monster After Divorce

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Divorced couple

You look at your ex, and all you see are the dirty, rotten games they've played since your divorce.

They are a stranger in your eyes now, and you wonder what ever happened to the amazing person they once were. You feel total disgust for the wretch they've become.

You hear about their antics around town (perhaps from your child’s teacher or mutual friends). They have moved on with their life and are dating "some person," spending money on their new lover, but can't be bothered to pay for the kids' soccer lessons.

Or maybe they've become the perfect Disney parent now, trying to win over your kids with endless trips and presents (while you barely get by on the measly child support they begrudgingly pay).

Somewhere, deep inside of you, you believe they do all of this to hurt you.

Every interaction you have with your ex turns into a major battle (or a hostile standoff). Of course, right? The sole entertainment in their life is making your life a living hell. They are unreasonable, demanding, and selfishly only think of themselves.

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Here is the surprising reason your ex turned into a complete monster after divorce:

1. What changed to turn them into a complete and total monster?

The scary (but honest) answer is — you! Because you decided to label them that way. You choose to see them as a villain.

Or maybe the label you use is narcissist, sociopath, alcoholic, liar, or just a good old-fashioned scoundrel.

You put this label on them because you determined it's easier to believe your ex is the worst person alive. It's easier to see their faults and somehow get a false sense of control.

Look, your divorce turned your world upside down. You felt (or still feel) totally out of control and insecure about your future. Almost in a flash, your ex became public enemy number one. They are the person you most want to get away from. Divorce is like being shackled to your worst enemy for life.

2. Constantly making them out as a monster reflects a diversion of your fears.

Perhaps you fear being alone for the rest of your life. Maybe you're scared of not having your children full-time (or worse, that your kids might want to move in with your ex). You likely also dread the loss of income, freedom, and friends (even family) because of the divorce.

The bottom line is that you're struggling to make sense of your world. You want to feel in control of your life again. And this is natural. We ALL feel that way going through a divorce.

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3. You desire a security for your future.

By making them wrong every single time and in every single thing they do, you believe that makes you "right."

Although you may feel like you're the first person to experience this emotional roller coaster — you're not. And hopefully, this both comforts and snaps you back to reality. While it's OK to experience fear, anger, sadness, and rejection and project all of those emotions on your ex — and honestly, they likely do the same thing to you in return — viewing them as the perpetual evil villain isn't healthy for you, your children, or your future.

It's time to gain some perspective and regain control of your life!

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Here are 4 shifts that help you see your ex as a human being again:

1. Let go of the labels.

The truth is, what they do or do not do is their business. Start referring to them by their name rather than "the ex" or any other arms-distance labels you've given them. They're not a character in a movie. They're a person in your and (if you have kids) your children's lives.

2. Ask yourself if your thoughts are true and fair.

People are supposed to move on after divorce (that's the whole point). You may not like that they have a new partner, but they're not "wrong" for moving on. Before you slam them for a decision or action, ask yourself if your perception is truthful or fair. Would you want them criticizing you for the same thing?

3. Notice what they do right, not just what they do wrong.

Yes, they were late picking the kids up from school once, but they're on time every other day (and you've picked them up late once or twice yourself). For everything you nit-pick, do you even notice when they do those things well?

4. Focus on what makes you feel good.

Stop focusing on them and pour that energy into yourself! Rediscover the missing pieces you lost during your marriage. When you focus on what you want (versus what you don't), the magnificent person in you emerges, leaving no room to dwell on your ex.

Even if your ex is a grade-A scoundrel quite often, they cannot control you unless you allow them to. Choose to send the monster away by setting healthy boundaries and learning to maintain them. Take your life back. Take your power back. Focus the best (and bulk) of your energy on your happiness.

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Cindy Holbrook is a divorce coach, personal development coach, and speaker.