Setting boundaries has made me go from pulling my hair out crazy to finally having some peace. Boundaries are one of the most important things I have learned since my divorce. I never thought about setting boundaries until my divorce. I was always a “yes” person. Many times in my life I never really wanted to say “ yes” to things but I did.. I did it to not cause any conflict or I thought it was what was expected of me.
It took me a couple years into my divorce until I realized that I needed to set boundaries with my ex husband. Because how I was living now was like having a mosquito constantly buzzing around your head as you are trying to sleep.. you try and try to swat at it but it never goes away. That is what I was dealing with every day of my life.
There are many reasons for needing boundaries, but mostly I needed to set boundaries to have peace of mind and live my life. As I mentioned in some of my previous blogs, my ex did not have much input in parenting of our children when we are married. I made most of the decisions regarding finances, parenting, and basically most decisions in our life.
Soon after our divorce, that changed. I would receive numerous text messages or emails from him regarding my parenting decisions. He would text and ask “why I would let our kids stay home from school when they were sick”. Or texts on reminding me to have them shower or asking when they went to bed. He would argue back and forth on why I made that decision. Basically any decision that I made regarding the children, he would question.
For years, I engaged in his texts and emails. I felt that since it involved the children that I needed to respond and explain my decision. He never agreed with me nor did what I say every make a difference. He made me feel like a failure as a parent and I also started to question my decisions. (Let me remind you that I stayed home with our kids for 8 years and pretty much made all the parenting decisions for 3 kids, I am not exaggerating)
Then finally I realized that this was affecting myself and my children. I was starting to change how I parented my children. I would not handle situations like I normally would, in fear of having to explain myself to him… I would start to think “ ohh I can’t do that because your dad will get mad”. I would not let my kids do things in fear that I would receive a text from him. I know crazy right.. And then it finally hit me, like what the hell am I doing.. I have never questioned my parenting decisions in the past. And I would cringe anytime I received any communication from him.. the worst part was that my kids could tell how It would affect me. I would not say anything to them directly, but they would see how my moods and body language would change. I would become instantly irritated by the text from him.
I finally decided to just not respond or engage. Unless the text or email directly affected the schedule of the kids or their well being, I did not respond. I disregard any texts regarding discipline, sick days, what the kids wore to school, remembering to have the kids shower, remembering to have the kids bring their snow clothes… the list goes on. I started to set boundaries in many areas that included him.
I would only respond to emails that required a response by direct input like schedules, shared finances, children’s activities, or school. Anything that was communicated to me by text, I did not respond. I did not engage in any texts or emails that were worded with assumptions or belittling towards myself. If the text to me was worded with “ I know you will do it anyways but..blah blah blah” I did not respond. Anything that was not a direct fact, I avoided. I avoided those texts because they were sent to get me to engage with him.
It did actually work, I received less text messages from him. Sometimes I would receive 3 or 4 in a one night and I just learned to not respond. I did not let it bother me and I went about my business. Sometimes I would just turn my phone off.
I would not respond to any text that included an assumption on myself, children, or parenting.
I keep him on “do not disturb” in my phone so if he does text me I am not immediately
I keep all communication short and direct.
I tried to send all correspondence in an email during normal working hours.
I do not discuss anything involving the kids without them present so we are all involved and there is no he said/she said.
Setting these boundaries was the best thing I could have done for myself and my family. They helped me gain confidence again on my decisions. I did them for myself and to get past
There was no reason to have interaction with someone that made me question myself and my decisions. And you eventually realize that as much as you explain things, some people will never hear what you are saying.
It took time to get to where I am today… It takes a huge amount of self control. I’m definitely not perfect with it and sometimes I have set backs with my reactions. But, I love my life with my kids and I really feel that limited communication with him is the best for myself and my family. And that is the most important….
Thanks for reading!