I am very mad at my ex today as I write this. Really mad. Angry as hell even. It took me a long time to get mad at my ex and you know what? To some extent some angry is good in the grieving process of divorce. It helps you let go of those romantic feelings you may have as you two split. It also helps you start to recognize the things that weren't working in your marriage and it may even get you to focus on you and all of your dreams and goals. It becomes a problem however, when you hate your ex so much that the hatred consumes you and is unrelenting.
It becomes a problem when your kids notice that "Gee, Mommy really hates Daddy now doesn't she?"
If you really hate your ex I know it's hard to hold it back, but keep in mind why biting your vicious tongue is a good idea around your kids with these points:
The Anger Is Absorbed by Your Kids
When you hate your ex, your kids feel and absorb that negative energy. Seeing mom up in arms or seething red over something however admittedly stupid or cruel their dad does puts a lot of stress and emotion onto them. Since your children can't solve your problems between you and your ex, they will absorb those emotions and bottle them up inside, which is very dangerous.
Become Your Caretaker
In order to keep you from getting consumed with hatred, your children might start to cater to your needs in order to keep mom from crying or getting into a grouchy mood. Do you want your children to walk on tip-toes to keep mom happy? That's what will happen if your anger becomes so explosive that it spills into your everyday life.
Kids Feel Guilt
If you are angry and hurting so badly, the kids will feel bad as if somehow their behavior or choices around you and your ex have contributed to your emotions. It may sound irrational but they are children and aren't able to differentiate that this isn't about them or it's not their fault: it's about mom and dad.
You're No Fun
Let's face it: being around an angry person is as much fun as getting your wisdom teeth pulled. Your children need you to put on a happy face when you're able to. No one expects you to be a clown, nor is it good for you to hide any and all negative feelings from your children, but when you are bitter and sulking hard you drain the life from yourself and your interactions with your children.
Teaches Them Inappropriate Coping Methods
How you cope with your anger towards your ex's unsightly behavior will set the stage for how your children will cope with conflict both with their peers and later on down the line in their adult relationships. Counting to 10, walking away, not engaging in battle, picking your fights wisely, and letting some things go are all great skills to keep in your "survive divorce arsenal" so that you're not blowing a gasket or screaming in the presence of your children. Showing them you can handle an ugly situation well is the best gift you can give to your children. They will respect and mirror you!
We all know divorce isn't a walk in the park but doing your best to rise above stressful situations between you and your ex will pay off in the long run!