Susan’s ex had a knack for hitting her with changes in parenting time from out of the blue. Because he flustered her with his energy and his ideas sounded reasonable, she often said yes. Then, regretted it–as the chaos for the schedule, the kids’ sleep, or her work fell in her lap.
Bill’s ex offered a different challenge. When she called, he never knew whether to expect a reasoned conversation, or brace for a scream-fest. If a tirade unfolded, he would say yes to anything just to make her go away. Then, regret it–as his children and new wife countered with their frustration.
How do we deal with exes who push boundaries and create havoc? One sentence.
“I’m sorry. I have to call you back.”
This one line can restore peace.
Getting off the phone allows you to take time to consider all the implications of a yielding to a proposed change in the schedule or capitulating to a rant. Getting off the phone allows you to check with others involved. Getting off the phone allows you to breathe. . think. . . and create a plan for responding.
Instead of feeling like a victim, you feel in control and proactive. When you call back (and you should do so as soon as possible), you can engage with creative ideas and firm resolve. That leads to peace.