Ways to Respond When Your Ex Bad-Mouths You
Divorces are rarely easy. A divorce marks a big shift in your life, even at the best of times. They are often emotionally charged, and disputes between spouses can become heated. It’s important to do your best to remain calm and professional throughout the process. If your ex starts to trash talk you, however, what can you do? What if they are saying negative things publicly, on social media, or even to your children? Below, we offer a few tips on how to respond when your ex bad-mouths you. If you’re dealing with divorce or another New Jersey family law matter, call an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer for advice and representation.
Do Not Respond in Kind
The first thing we can definitively say: Do not respond in kind to your ex. Do not try to match their intensity, and do not launch counterattacks. It’s difficult to maintain your composure when someone is insulting you, whether it’s to your face or behind your back, but firing back at them will only hurt your divorce case and do more damage than good to your life in general. Do not post about them negatively on social media, do not bad-mouth them to mutual friends or their family, and certainly do not trash your ex to your shared children. Friends and family will be forced into choosing sides, which helps no one, your social media account can be used against you in your family law case, and children suffer when their parents include them in their fights. Find another outlet.
Talk to Your Family, Your Friends, and Your Therapist
We would not, however, advise you to keep your thoughts and feelings bottled up inside. You can and should express yourself in a healthy way and in the proper environment. We advise anyone going through a divorce to get a therapist if they do not already have one. If you need to “blow up” somewhere, do it in a controlled environment with a professional who can help you work through it. You can also discuss the matter with your family and trusted friends; they are around to help you through the divorce and the aftermath.
Present Your Side Factually, Professionally, and Calmly
There are situations in which you need to defend yourself. If your ex has been telling the staff at your children’s school that you are an unfit parent who lost custody, for example, you need to address the matter. Treat the situation as if you are a reporter explaining the facts, or a lawyer laying out the evidence. Calmly refute specific allegations–if they claim you no longer have custody, show the school administrator your custody agreement. If the police or the court have been told you are being abusive, work with your lawyer and present your side of the situation professionally and with factual support.
If you need to defend yourself to mutual friends or family, avoid going into detail and simply state that your ex has been making untrue or fabricated assertions and that you are sorry they are being dragged into your drama. If you need to discuss assertions made by your ex to your children, acknowledge that the statements have been made and let them know the bare facts. Ask them to talk to you directly if they have any concerns, and let them know they have the right to their own opinions and feelings.
Be Calm and Disarming
If you are in a situation in which you are talking to your ex directly, do not match their intensity. Remain professional and cordial. Consider using disarming statements like “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’ll think about that.” Trying to defend yourself against made-up assertions may only fuel them on. Disarming statements will give them nothing to push against. If they continue lobbing more accusations at you, it might be time to say that they do not appear to be able to discuss this in a productive manner, and for you to walk away.
Call a Compassionate New Jersey Divorce and Mediation Attorney Today
If you’re considering divorce or dealing with issues involving parental rights, child custody, equitable division of property, alimony/spousal support, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the skilled and thorough Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.