Are you frustrated by the behavior of your co-parent? Have you tried every which way to get them to see things differently, or to behave better? Wouldn’t it be grand if you could get them to change?
The reality is that you can’t change anyone. People change because they want to, not because you tell them to. Telling them to change rarely if ever works.
And, your ex is probably the last person on earth you can change. They have no interest in being changed by you. They have no interest in how bad you think they are or how you think they should behave. So if you are expecting them to change because you tell them to or think they should, you are wasting your time.
But don’t despair! Just because you can’t change them doesn’t mean that you’re destined to a life of misery. Continuing to try to change them is more likely to make you miserable. Letting go will be the first step in creating more happiness in your life.
I know it is very difficult to accept that you can’t change your co-parent. It would be amazingly great if you could make your situation better by changing them. But if you keep barking up that tree, you are going to be incredibly frustrated, angry, and you’re going to waste a lot of time and energy.
Co-parents don’t like to give up the idea of changing their co-parents because giving up seems like it is giving in, or saying that you’re fine with what they’re doing. Co-parents often say: “They SHOULD behave differently. I can’t let them off the hook.”
The truth is that you can’t really keep them on the hook or let them off the hook. You don’t have that control. That is just an idea in your mind that is not really accurate. The more you stay attached to the idea that you can change them, the more you are wasting your energy.
When you stay energetically hooked into trying to change your co-parent, it leaves you in a state of dissatisfaction and frustration. Children live in our “emotional soup.” If you are frustrated and upset, they are living in that energy with you. They are affected by you and your states, even if they don’t look like they are. You do not help them when you stay stuck in those states.
Letting go of changing your co-parent is difficult. I don’t mean to make it sound easy. It will be sad. It is a process that involves grieving the truth of the situation you are in. But once you allow yourself to let go, you will become more powerful. You will become more powerful because you will no longer be wasting your energy on what you can’t control. You will have an abundance of energy. And you know where you will put that energy?
You will put that energy toward your children. Toward paying attention to them, toward cultivating good relationships with them. Toward being present to them. Toward understanding them. Toward being joyful with them. Toward appreciating with them the many wonderful things that are truly going on in your lives. And these are the things they REALLY need to be be happy, and to develop in a healthy way.