7 positive and smart ways to deal with a hostile ex
Breaking up can sometimes be clean and quick, but then there are messy breakups that leave you constantly looking over your shoulder in case your ex decides to chase you down with a hunting knife.
There are tons of reasons people break up, and these reasons may often foreshadow the kind of relationship you’ll end up having with your ex.
If the reasons are mutual and fairly uncomplicated, you and your ex move on and live happy, separate lives. On the other hand, if the breakup wasn’t mutual or it involved some degree of infidelity, bitterness or abuse, then you might expect that your ex wouldn’t be eager to leave you alone.
Are you plagued by a psycho ex? Do you fear for your well being because of threats from your ex? Are you tempted to retaliate and seek revenge? Below are 7 ways to deal with an hostile ex:
1. Understand what they want. You may need to dig through a profanity-ridden email or text, but somewhere in there you’ll find a clue about what your ex really wants from you. Oftentimes, they want to get back together with you, and so they lure you with kindness and strike back with anger if you reject them.
There are cases, however, where all your ex really wants is an apology from you. He or she may want you to admit that you did something wrong and that you’re sorry for hurting them. If this is what it takes to get your angry ex off your back, indulge him/her. Lower your pride and write out a sincere apology. You may be surprised that this can be enough to help them heal and learn to manage their anger better.
2. Resist fighting fire with fire. There comes a point where the hurtful words hits you hard and you’re tempted to lash back out at your ex. When the temptation arises, step away from the computer or your phone or whatever device your ex used to contact you and take a few deep breaths. You know that retaliating and giving your ex a taste of their own medicine means stooping down to their level.
It’s easy to start spreading rumors about your ex or writing an equally scathing reply to one of his/her emails. But do you really think this will end the cycle? If anything, it will just keep the fire burning! Instead, try to gain the moral high ground by either ignoring the provocation or by responding as politely as you can *if a response is indeed needed*.
3. Learn to recognize bait. Once your ex realizes that he/she is being ignored, they may start to formulate other ways of getting your attention. One way they can do this is by using bait to make sure you’d pay attention to what they have to say. They may use cliffhangers to make you curious about something.
For instance, he might say he found out about something you did. He might also use a fake emergency to get to your compassionate side. He might even use emotional blackmail like threats of self-harm or even suicide to get you to respond to him.
In any case, give yourself a moment to think if what your ex is saying is urgent enough to merit your response.
4. Stay away from where your ex hangs out. Even if it’s your favorite place in the world, do you really want to risk running into an angry ex? If he/she happens to make a scene involving you, you might end up being banned from the place for causing trouble! Also, it’s easier to ignore your ex if all you’re getting from them are messages on a screen. It may be harder to ignore them if they’re right there, bawling their eyes out and broadcasting every dirty detail of your breakup to anyone who cares to listen.
If there’s simply no way for you to avoid places where your ex hangs out for reasons like work or school or your daily commute, keep some safety precautions in mind.
5. Never ever meet up with your ex unless it’s absolutely necessary. In some cases, meeting up with the ex can’t be avoided. Usually, this situation arises when there are kids or shared property involved in the split.
When you’re meeting up with your ex, always make sure you do it in a populated area with lots of witnesses. This might help deter your ex from lashing out at you in public. Also, you may want to bring a close friend with you in order to ensure your safety.
6. Have close friends or family to confide in. When someone says a load of really awful things about you, it can be a huge weight on your shoulders. You’d need to unload to someone whom you trust like a close friend or a family member. You don’t have to carry your burden alone, there are people who care about you and might like to help you.
Also, talking to your loved ones about this serves to warn them that they may also be approached by your ex to get to you. When it’s your word against your ex, it’s the people whom you confide in that can back you up and give you the strength to keep fighting.
7. Document everything. When the law gets involved, the one with more evidence on their side would definitely win. As much as possible, limit your contact with your ex to writing such as text messages and emails. If your ex does call, record the calls or put them on voicemail for documentation purposes. Anecdotal stories of what your ex said may not hold up in court, but documented proof will definitely be admissible.
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