I spend a lot of my time trying to get people to ignore what their x-spouse says. The stuff that comes out of people’s mouths astounds me sometimes.

A soon-to-be-X said that it was the status quo for my client to continue to do his laundry. There was a nasty custody battle raging but he still wanted his socks paired and put back in his drawer; what could he be thinking?

Other times the statements are not so comical; they are veiled threats and tend to push every button that you have. This is the thing, your X knows how to push your buttons. They have lived with you for years and know exactly what to say to make you cringe. The fact that you are in a divorce situation means that the gloves are off.

Most times it will be a continuation of what happened in the marriage. If they used to tell you exactly how things were going to go, that will continue, expect it. Now, you may be in a vulnerable situation relying on your X’s support to pay for food for your kids and the statement “you are going to be living on the streets” may hold a real possibility in your mind.

There is no easy way out of this except to recognize it for what it is, just an opinion. What comes out of your X’s mouth is just how her/she wants it to go. The statement that “I am going to quit my job before I pay you anything” is rubbish. Not many people are that nuts. It may be the way that they feel but it is not likely the reality.

The more you respond to the outrageous statements, the more will come at you. Next time an outlandish statement comes at you, don’t respond or respond by saying “thank you for sharing”. The concept here is that you want to try to de-escalate (is that a word?) the situation. Your X may not have a strategy with what is thrown at you, they may be trying to intimidate you to make you back down on some of your demands and make you settle for less than you should get.

It doesn’t matter what the motivation is, the outcome is the same; you are upset and stressed. So step back and recognize that what your X spits out is based on where they are. Deep breath and don’t react.

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