Why is it so common for parents to become outright enemies after a divorce?
I have represented people in divorce who were pure as the driven snow, innocent as lambs, and treated miserably by their spouses, by law enforcement, by Child and Family Services, and by the courts. They were accused falsely. Their characters as parents were assassinated. Their children were withheld from them. Their own children grew to fear and hate them.
They didn’t deserve it. It was horribly unfair. It shattered their faith in the legal system. Yet even though the legal system didn’t just let them down, but victimized them, these people did not allow bitterness and resentment to ruin their lives. They realized it wouldn’t make anything any better but would, in fact, make things even worse. They didn’t act as though they weren’t hurt, even grievously wounded, but they acknowledged that letting the wound fester was pointless, even counterproductive. They resolved not only to move onward, but upward. It was (still is) difficult, but the right thing for them and for their children. They are happier. Their consciences are clear.
I have also represented people in divorce who were good, but they had flaws (some serious). Some of these people did foolish and reckless things. They caused significant, sometimes irreparable, damage to the relationships with their spouses and/or with their children. Sometimes they didn’t want to cause harm, but they let their selfishness and weaknesses get the better of them. They too were treated miserably by their spouses, law enforcement, child and family services, and the courts. They didn’t deserve the level of miserable treatment they got. But rather than acknowledge that they were part of the problem, they sought to shift the blame to anyone but themselves.
Rather than 1) taking responsibility for their part in the mess; 2) acknowledging that the past cannot be undone; and 3) resolving to repent and make the best of the future to ease and eventually heal the pain, they blame everyone and everything but themselves. And they vow to make everyone and everything pay. The easiest target of their anger is their ex, then their kids. That’s one of the main reasons why it is so common for parents to become outright enemies after a divorce.
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