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How To Deal With Crazy People » healing, In the home, Manipulative, paranoid, Self Centered, Spouse, Uncategorized » Dealing with the Crazy ex-Spouse

Dealing with the Crazy ex-Spouse

Run from the anger alien!

Question: My husband’s ex-wife is making our lives miserable.  She calls my husband’s cell phone at all hours screaming at him.  She keeps taking this whole mess back to court, saying that we’re attempting to alienate her children and we’re abusive.  What makes me nuts about this is how she tells everyone I caused everything. She left him for another man!  I’m sick of defending myself.  Yes, I started dating my husband before the divorce was final, but how does that make me a homewrecker?  She was living with a guy and avoiding her children ’till I came along.  Now it’s like she’s in some weird competition with me.  How can I stop the craziness?

Answer: Some people connect better through anger.  Your husband’s ex-wife WANTS everyone to be angry.    If you hate her,  you’re thinking about her all the time.  She has your undivided attention and she’s not likely to give it up.

You don’t understand this.  You have a normal life where you get the attention you need from people actually liking you.  I’m betting that your husband’s ex-wife has few friends and unrealistic expectations of people.  She probably didn’t think her marriage was over just because she walked out.  That might have been her way of getting her husband to pay more attention to her  and be more intense with how he expressed his feelings.

She can’t feel at a normal level and she attempts to have people dial up the heat until they are out of fuel.  When she figures out that all resources have been consumed, she will move on like a conquering alien army looking for the next planet to eat.  You interupted this process.  Don’t feel bad.  You’re presence in this family has re-energized your husband and made him more attractive to his ex-wife.  It might not have happened had she moved on to a new victim, sorry, partner.  You got there too early for that scenario since she was still prodding your husband to do something combustible.

You must cut off the fuel.  And the cut-off has to come from the both of you.

  1. Get an alarm clock.  Your phones will no longer be by your bedside at night unless they are turned off.  If you must, get a second phone that is for emergency or job situations.  Guard the number with your life.  Phone calls are taken during decent hours only.  If you answer the phone tired you are most likely to become angry and fuel the anger sucking alien.
  2. Get a good lawyer who is willing to do the worrying for you or, make court prep a regularly scheduled weekly activity that has a time limit.  Do not spend more than 2hours per week on this mess.  These cases will tend to go back to the same judge time after time.  Keep a log of; phone calls, problems, refusals to exchange, and any negative statements the children repeat to you.  Do NOT cross examine children, ask them what their mother said, etc.  If they tell you, say “Oh, really?”  and go write it down.  When she takes you back to court, bring the log.  Judges don’t get elected for being stupid and they are rarely able to suffer fools gladly.  The ex-wife will be wearing out her welcome with the judge, let her.
  3. Who’s everyone?  And why do you care?  If the lady who lives under the overpass and throws old donuts at cars starts talking about you, is that going to be a problem?  You are making this situation worse by defending yourself against her accusations.  Learn to roll your eyes.  Do it often.  You already think she’s crazy, what does that make you if you’re taking her seriously? When you defend yourself to someone, you have made them a judge of your life.  This woman has no right to that much power over you.  Smile and act vague.  At the very least it will irritate the crap out of her.
  4. Figure out who you are actually angry at.  My best guess in these situations is your husband.  Write down what you want him to do about this situation and take it to someone who’s dealt with an ex.  Let them tell you which of these expectations are realistic.  Take the realistic ones back to your husband and start a conversation.  He’s been running and ducking this for years.  He’s tired and wishes it would go away, so phrase the opening of this conversation to appeal to those two needs.
  5. If people are that easy to predict, use it.  What do her children wish she would do with them?  Tell them you’re planning to do it and wait.  She’ll get to it first and you can go ahead with the things you really want to do.  Surprise is key here.  The kids will tell their mother everything and that needs to be OK!  You’re plans will have to be surprises or last minute.  Learn to act faintly ditzy so that last minute plans don’t seem like a stretch.
  6. No matter what she does, you and your husband need to respond as though you are smoking weed and have no motivation.  Vague, benign, faintly, slightly bored, yawning, disinterested.  Whether you are telling her that Monday is striped socks day for little Johnny, or you’ll call the police if she comes on your property again, use the same tone of voice and the same body language.  Practice acting stoned with each other.  It will be something you both get a laugh out of, and you could use that right now.


Reach out for help.  You’ll need a place to vent and some accountability on your actions so you don’t accidentally fuel this anymore.  Once you’ve cut off the fuel, expect it will take a while to get her to cut the behaviors.  Your family has been a regular feeding ground and aliens don’t give those up and move off without a fight.  She’ll fight, you’ll smile benignly and she will eventually get frustrated and move on.  Keep that stoned smile plastered on your face and reclaim your planet for peace!

Written by

Lorinne is a practicing therapist in Billings, Montana. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1995 with a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. She has worked with emotionally disturbed children, victims of sexual and domestic abuse, families in crisis and women in transition ever since.

Filed under: healing, In the home, Manipulative, paranoid, Self Centered, Spouse, Uncategorized

6 Responses to "Dealing with the Crazy ex-Spouse"

  1. Tracy howard says:

    Here is my problem…my husbands xwife calls at least once a week, she tx at least a couple times a week…they share 2 kids together and she has the girl and he has the boy..she always says she calls because of their kids…not the case..she flies off the handle on weird things, but always usez their daughter as the excuse..the girl is 12… she has a cell phone which my husband pays for aand pays problem is the xwife is always calling my husband for eveything..she bad mouths me i havent done one thing to her but stick up for myself…a couple of christmases ago she said their daughter was sad and had no where to go for christmas, so the xwife and the daughter stayed for 5 days at his house(we were dating then) ..he would only talk to me when he wAs in his truck and we were suppose to go christmas shopping but instead went with her…i let it go and tried to move day i took all the kids with me….i have 3 kids and baught them flip flops that cost 1.96 well she threw a fit and said i was trying to buy her kids..she then called a few times and tx mean things..i deleted her number from my phone and asked her not to call me. She stopped for a while, then just yesturday again said their daughter was upset so my husband goes to her hotel room(she stayed down herw a couple days)….long story short, again flips out and i had enough so i tx her and said leave me out of it well needless to say big fight between my husband and i..and we ,still have not said anything to eachother..he doesnt see that when she calls its not about the kids or anything important, im sick of it…….help me. I love my husband, but this is the only thing we argue about is her.. i have an xhusband but we dont tx or talk unless it is important. Am i wrong for feeling second best and that she is evil and crazy….

    1. Lorinne says:

      Tracy, Feelings aren’t wrong, they just aren’t terribly efficient at directing behavior. The more you hate, dislike, & want his ex-wife gone, the more fun she has tormenting you. The less you react to her BS, the less you fuel her alien invasion of your new marriage. It’s really hard to do, but it works. Smile, and “accidentally” hang up on her. Expect that she will freak no matter what you do and that her behavior has no basis in logical thought/action. You also need to drag your husband to an outside expert who can help him deal w/ his ex-wife better. They have a crazy custody plan from the sound of it, and he hasn’t figured out how to help his children while still having boundaries with her. Good luck and God bless, your doing the best job possible in a very tough situation.

  2. Tracy says:

    Thank you for responding…of course she is at it again. Now she called lastnight saying that her mother is sick and might die and she hasn’t told their kids and then says well I know im not suppose to call you because of your new wife but this has to do with our kids…fyi her mother has almost died 100 times. we have their daughter again we have in the summer time about every other week and she will stay for 3 to 4 weeks..The only problem is when she is at our house she is always sick( headache, stomach pains) everytime I even stand by my husband she is suddenly sick. This past weekend we had all of the kids and the last time that happened my husband daughter said she was gettn yelled at for stuff she didn’t do. Well I want all kids to do chores like wash your own dishes pick up after yourself, which she really doesn’t so anything I ask her to she says I forgot. She stays up til 3 or 4 am and then sleeps all day, then complains that she is bored. My children are far from being angels but they do what they are told. My children know what I expected and when they do not do it I take the ipods, ipads, cell phones away for a few days. somedays it feels as if she will never stop. I also de-friended her on facebook and then tx my husband and tx me saying well I was gonna put a video on fb of Emily but since you blocked me I guess you cant see it to bad. im 38 years old and this woman is 47. I just hope one day she will stop I don’t know how much I can take. I know my husband loves me and nothing is between them but he says what if Emily is sick and I don’t respond to her tx or emails..She is just using their daughter as a way to get to him. it has been going on for 3 years now, on our first Christmas together ( just dating then) she said that their daughter was so sad and pulling her hair out so the x-wife and daughter came down to larrys house and stayed for 5 days . I stayed away but very hurt and couldn’t understand why he would let her stay in his house for 5 days. come to find out Emily was fine and then no one ever talks about her pulling her hair out when just a few years ago it was such a big deal then. everyday its something different, how can I make him see that it is not normal to have that kinda of relationship with his xwife. we have only been married since May 2013, and I don’t know how much longer I can handle her. please help me.

  3. Steve says:

    Hi Lorinne,

    I happened upon this article out of feeling desperate to learn how to deal with the mother of my son, whom I am having huge problems with. I get your advice – it is SO hard to execute though, especially when the person is so good at manipulation.

  4. john says:

    Great insight and advice for dealing with these kinds of people. Sometimes
    These people are narcissist too. It can be very draining on a new healthy
    Relationship. Stay present and aware and use these situations
    And people to imrove yourself as a person. They ate sometimes
    Considered to be petty tyrants.

  5. sarah says:

    I recently moved in with my boyfriend, who has an ex-wife and two kids. My move-in transition has been going smoothly since I already knew the kids and we had all hung out together, and we even went on a trip together at the end of the summer. The school year has just begun and so there are lots of responsibilities to divide and conquer in the household, especially when we have the kids. I have started helping out with the responsibility of walking one of the kids to school and the ex-wife has essentially pleaded us to not let me continue this. It doesn’t happen every day, but it’s needed because my boyfriend has to take his other son to a different school on the other side of town some days. As someone not directly involved in the conversations (because I have no communication with her, yet it’s about me!), I find this request to be ridiculous because I think it’s a great opportunity for me to get to know the kids better. She doesn’t know me, nor does she care to because she is a bitter, angry woman and emotionally unstable. Her whole goal is to be the only caretaker of her sons and so of course, anyone new, is another battle she probably feels she’s lost. She keeps claiming that it is wrong to have ‘an outsider’ be this involved in the kids’s lives. My boyfriend has mentioned that this is a serious relationship and I will not be someone who sits on the sidelines. Even if she did have her own love interest (which she claims she has), she says she will never put them in this same position for her kid’s emotional sake. That seems ridiculous to me, if you truly cared about anyone. I find that I have only been helpful and supportive in taking care of the kids no matter what she says. When she doesn’t get her way, she always brings her kids into the matter and tries to use it against us. She’s been prodding and questioning about this issue almost everyday. I am sick of her bullying and her desperate, manipulative ways to get her way. I don’t stand for people like that and am glad that my boyfriend is not letting her get her way with these selfish requests this time. I know it’s happened in the past where he’s gotten exhausted from dealing with her complaints/anger so he ends up complying with her wishes, so I know it will be hard this time since she’s not used to it. How do we get her off this case, to know that there’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing, that we are all loving people who only want the best for her kids? Is it even possible? I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll be directly involved in the kids’ lives. We still have the rest of the school year to figure out! Can someone please save me from this crazy woman?

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