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Divorce Poison

There is no accident that I am using a “Danger sign with skull and cross bones” as it visualises exactly the harm of poisonous words.

I remember being bad mouthed by my children’s mother.   Whether it was directly at them or on the phone in earshot of the children, it’s all the same, it is “Poison”.  I don’t know if she was intentionally trying to drive them away from me but it creates damage and can last forever.  If you handle the situation poorly, you could lose your children’s respect and their affection, in extreme cases, contact with them.  Luckily I didn’t lose contact with them but I lost their affection and I think respect.

Poison comes from justifying hatred and anger.  Regardless of who’s to blame, each person has fault and each person thinks they are right.  Nothing can justify poisoning.

I didn’t know what to do at the time, I had advice from a psychologist to do nothing but be passive about it.  Today I am not sure that was the right advice!  The psychologist said to maintain your calm approach and when they get older they will see that you have not been this “terrible” person their mother makes you out to be or “overheard to be”.  Instead they will see you as their knight in shining armour!  I don’t know that in my situation this was the right approach.

By doing nothing, I believed I was saving my child from further poisoning as I didn’t escalate the issues by arguing with their mother.  It only made me hate her more and I felt helpless.  It was happening to them at such a young age, by the time they were older the damage was done.

My passive approach allowed the relationship to be damaged as I could not balance the poison with kindness, caring or even affection.  I do remember speaking to their mother about how I was not happy that she was poisoning me in front of the children when on the phone or her abrupt response when I picked up or dropped off complimented with doors slamming shut.  In hindsight I should have not discussed how it was upsetting me, as clearly she didn’t care.  Maybe she might have given more of a damn  if she knew it was affecting her children and would have long term implications?

It did wreak havoc at times, our reconnect was slower as there were invisible hurdles we needed to overcome first before we could enjoy our weekend.  The poisoning never really got discussed between me and kids other than I think I mentioned once to not take too much of what your mother says about me as truth however,  they were young and not capable of rationalising things.  I said – It is about how I treat you and you should only take me on how I treat you when we are together and that I have nothing but love for you.  They were very uncomfortable during this chat so it was difficult to continue.

I still maintain today that we should NEVER bad mouth (poison) the children’s mother in front of the kids, regardless of what’s going on.  Today I would have done it differently as I have become more educated in these matters, but it is difficult as you do not want to bring more confusion into their world.

Today I would:

  • Document the occasions for possible future litigations
  • Confront her privately and ask her to stop the poisonous remarks in front of the kids
  • Tell her that her behaviour will not be tolerated ( It probably won’t change much but she will be put on notice)
  • Focus on helping the children to understand that their  mum may be feeling angry and upset and although it is not an excuse to say mean things about you,  you will not take it personally
  • Tell them it’s ok to love both mum and dad and they don’t need to take sides
  • If they are old enough,   suggest that they speak to their mum and tell  her that they do not want to hear these comments and to stop them
  • Seek professional advice i.e counselor for next steps if the poison was to continue

An article on this topic was posted on CBS News Website called Divorce Poison and is worth a read.

There are many books written on this subject and below are a few links and I suggest you research the best way forward as we all have slightly different circumstances.…n_against_you/…/brainwashing/

If your feeling overwhelmed by events, you don’t need to handle it on your own.  Click through to our SOS link and arrange to speak to someone.