Have you seen the video talking about the differences between men's and women's brains? It's all true, you can go to YouTube and search "A Tale of Two Brains" to spend a few minutes of your life laughing and learning about the reasons men and women are different. This video explains why co-parenting doesn't work for some.
In this video, the speaker talks about boxes. In a woman's mind, the boxes are all connected, they're all open all the time, and a woman can bounce between them easily. A man's boxes are neatly stacked, and all of them are closed except the one he's currently using.
All true, right?
These compartments are important when co-parenting because there's one box that remains open all the time in high-conflict situations. It's the "I hate my ex" box. It seems everything the ex does is processed through this box, making it wrong, and creating arguments.
Want an example? Here's a quick one. A little background: both parents are solid parents. They each have their strengths which benefit their child. Both parents do what their child needs on a regular basis.
Mom and Dad were never married. They did have a child together, however, but broke up before the baby was born. Dad moved on in a serious relationship pretty quickly. Mom had a lot of feelings that went with this, every single one of those feelings were valid. Mom created a "my ex is a jerk" box because of those feelings. When the baby was born, Mom picked the baby up after visiting Dad. Baby had eaten, but there wasn't time for a bath before being picked up. Mom's "my ex is a jerk box" was the primary box in use and told Dad he 'never' does anything for their child and shouldn't even have visitation because of it.
What do you think? Does this sound familiar? Does missing a bath mean Dad shouldn't be a part of his child's life or is it possible that's Mom's anger towards Dad is driving behavior that makes it extremely difficult to co-parent?
It isn't always Mom running everyday situations through the negative thought-process box, Dad's do it, too.
Here's the point: compartmentalize your feelings. That's it. It's just that simple. Take a step back the next time you're angry and ask yourself, "where is this anger coming from?" If it's coming from the "I hate my ex" box, put it away temporarily and open the "co-parenting is best for my child box". Process all items related to your children through that box and watch how co-parenting starts to change!
Don't throw away the "I hate my ex box", though. The point is to only keep it open when you're with your support system. Vent to your sister, your friend, your Uncle or your co-workers. Open it then, but close it when you have to co-parent with your ex.
Make sure to clean out the "co-parenting" box once in awhile, too, to make sure nothing from the "I hate my ex" box showed up in there.
If you need help closing one box, book a free session with me. We can determine where the thoughts are coming from and work to make changes to them.