If you are parent who is co-parenting your children with the other parent and you are residing in different household, you may be feeling an increase in the range of different emotions while dealing with your ex-peratner during the covid-19 pandemic. Some of those emotions might be more heightened than usual – for example feelings of greater uncertainty, feeling less in control, greater frustration, quicker to anger, real concern, more worries, and greater and heightened fear.
The following is an option that might assist you with those feelings. It will likely not be a panacea for all your problems, but it may help you to deal with each current situation as it arises. It is normal to have different emotions and heightened emotions in this time. If you can have another tool in the toolbox to help you dealing with your emotions, then you will have another option to assist in dealing with those emotions rather than acting in the moment or saying things that you wish you could have done better or perhaps regret.
If you have a strong emotion at the moment, you can focus on that one. If you do not have a strong emotion at the moment, you can work with whatever emotion you have now or what that you recall recently and wish that you had not felt that way or felt that strongly about.
Focus on that emotion.
If you pause for a moment, can you direct your attention to what you are feeling inside and sense the emotion directly?
Can you feel it directly rather than having a story attached to the emotion (the story might be, I am angry that my ex did xxxx or yyyy or the kids are wanting to do this but I am worried that xxxxx).
If you can then sit with that emotion for the moment…not trying to make it go away or wish that it was different.
Is it possible for you accept that is the way that you feel in this moment?
Doing this might add frustration because you do not want to accept that this the way that you want to feel in the moment, but just try to sit with the emotion and accept that is how you feel in the moment. For example, I feel very angry. You do not have do anything, you are just trying to see if you can allow for those feelings to be there.
If you can not ‘mind’ have that feeling (by not minding I am meaning to allow yourself to sit with it and not trying to wish it were any other way), what then happens to that feeling?
The feeling is still there.
You still experience the emotion, it is still fully there, but it your feeling of it may be different. Like there is more space around. If you had been feeling worry, it might feel like there is more space around the worry. The worry is still there, but there is space around the worry.
Just keep sitting with it and notice how you feel. Don’t try and push the emotion away but allow it and let it sit there without judgment by you.
How does it feel? Is it any different from when you first thought of that emotion?
If it doesn’t feel any different, sit with it longer, allowing it to be there, but not attaching any thoughts or stories to justify its existence.
If you can accept the emotion, what you are experiencing and feeling, space will come between you and the emotion. Some more difficult or entrenched emotions may take longer to experience the space. If you are finding it difficult or weary, you can physically go and do something practical for a while and then come back to it and try the process again.
When you can focus on the emotion directly without trying to resist, without identifying with it, while the emotion still remains, there will be space and it will have less of control on your thinking and compunctious reactions.
You can use this tool when you feel strong emotions arising. Sometimes it is easier to catch it when you feel it coming rather than waiting for it to be fully be there.
You can add this tool to your toolbox to assist when dealing with with your ex partner, your children, or anyone else really that is bringing up strong emotions in you.
You can do the above on your own and practice is as many times as you want. If you would like more assistance such as one-on-one conflict management training and assistance or mediation to assist with a dispute, contact us. Click here for our contact details.
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