Ms. Waving the White Flag asks London A: How do I stop contributing to the madness?
Dear London A: I recently became engaged to an amazing man who loves me to no end. Although I am beyond ecstatic to become his wife, I am less than thrilled to become an automatic co-parent to his child. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fiancé’s son and he is a joy in both of our lives. The problem is the child’s mother. We have never gotten along and have exchanged countless verbal attacks throughout the five years I have been in the picture. I know she is jealous of my relationship with her son’s father and is still bitter that he is with me and not her. However, as I have told her, I have nothing to do with their past. Honestly, I am tired of all the tension and no longer want to be the source of her anger. Since I have to co-parent with this woman for several more years, as my future stepson is only nine years old; how do I change the vicious pattern that I’ve shamefully contributed to? As for my fiancé, he is no help. His resolution to the problem is staying out of it and turning a blind eye to her disrespect. How do I end the conflict with someone who is determined to make my life miserable? Sincerely, Ms. Waving the White Flag
Dear Ms. Waving: Please hear the following statement loud and clear: The only behavior and attitude you can control and change is your own! With that said, I am not going to even waste my time telling you how the child’s mother should be conducting herself towards you. Although her behavior may be designed to make your life miserable, your own self-governance should be so well constructed that her devious plan should never stand a chance. I’m glad to hear you admit your role in this mayhem. This shows me you have the space in your heart to make better choices when dealing with the mother. The way you change the combative pattern you have had with the child’s mother is by no longer catching the negative bait she throws your way. It’s her misery, not yours. So don’t take it personal. Decide right now that her misery does not have a home in your Spirit. Then clear your Spirit by apologizing to her for all the negative and hurtful things you have said to her in the past. Tell her your intentions from this moment forward are to have cordial interactions with her. After you have cleared your Spirit, going forward, you have to change your behavior towards her; whether she is her usual unpleasant self or not. If interactions with her take a negative turn, end the exchange immediately. This sends a message that her negative diction is not allowed in your personal space. She may never change her rotten Spirit but you have to protect yours by deciding to never engage in negative conversations or actions with her again. In turn, you will learn that the fate of your peace is in your hands not in someone else’s, regardless of their behavior. As for this amazing fiancé of yours, who is passively allowing disrespect to even come close to his soon-to-be wife; my suggestion is that he takes the same advise I just gave you. Since he is the reason you have to deal with the mother, it is his responsibility to make sure no one ever disrespects you in or out of his presence. I wish for you a lifetime of peaceful bliss. Smooches!
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Illustration by Nicole Stowers