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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

13 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 childsupport..my 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 on..one 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.
      Lorinne

  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?

  6. Ava says:

    Wow! I was in a very similar boat to you. I’ve been dating my fiancé for 3 1/2 yrs now and his ex wife used to ALWAYS make insane requests. She always said she didn’t want me around the kids… We ignored her… Then she said “I don’t want her there after 8pm… We ignored her….Then she started saying no baths or story time or late movies….we ignored her… And it went on for a long long while (nearly 2 years). I guess she stared realizing that she was not the boss. she then started trying to manipulate me and act as though it was in my best interest. She’d say things like and You guys are moving too fast and need to slow down because this isn’t healthy. And she’d tell me he cheated on her when they were married and gave her HPV and she had to have her uterus removed (somehow she just had a baby and she’s not internationally recognized for this… Personally I think it’s a flipping MIRACLE!!). Everything she didn’t want us doing, she did in a matter of days. Everything he and I worked towards for 2 1/2 years, she conquered in 5 months. She’s tried it ALL. And I mean ALL! It’s very difficult to ignore someone who’s trying to rip your world apart. After 3 1/2 years she’s still trying (despite the fact that she’s now in a relationship with the guy she cheated on my fiance with and they have a child together!!) and here I am still trying to ignore the desperate cries for attention!!

  7. Elyn says:

    I honestly though I was the only one going through this. My husband and I have been best friends 18 yrs. Unfortunately we both married other people before we figured out we were supposed to be together. He has two children with his ex. This woman made sure on my wedding day she let us know his parents were moving in with her. She also made sure her oldest daughter (who adored me when she was younger) took pictures of my husband in his tux. When we went to pick the kids up she wasn’t home and the youngest child (2 yrs) wasn’t dressed for the weather.I go in to ask my in laws for some clothes and a coat and see several pictures of my husband on our wedding day on her wall. We were married a little over a month before the youngest child turned 3. I was cleaning up a mess the oldest had made when the youngest started screaming and crying. I ran to her and asked if she was ok she tells me that “daddy left you you and him are coming unmarried and he is going to live back with momma” She was crying because she didn’t want that to happen. Our first Christmas his ex called screaming and crying saying my husband knows that Christmas eve was always spent at her parents . We tried to come up with a plan that we would keep them no longer than 2 hours she wasn’t having it. We gave in to keep the peace. We were supposed to have them that weekend. She calls claiming both kids are sick with the flu. We found out later it was a lie. She has called my husband numerous times just to hear his voice. She couldn’t call our home anymore because I blocked her so she calls him at work. We finally told her if she didn’t stop we would file harassment charges on her. She still wears her wedding rings and according to my now 5 year old step child “momma puts on her wedding dress and cries” I feel bad for her but I don’t. She has always been a miserable person with very few friends and she had large turn overs of friends. Her own parents don’t care for her because of how she acts. His parents are scared to make her mad because she has threatened them with the kids. There is so much more to this that honestly it would take hours for me to write all out. It does feel good to vent a little though.

  8. jacquie says:

    Hi I happened on this post I have been dealing with a crazy ex wife for 8 years my input is talk to your man about the situation and set strong boundaries ie we have a rule that we do not discuss problems with his ex around his child we follow the model parenting visitation rule 22 to the letter only taking her calls if it is an emergency and being firm about when the conversation is done
    cept the fact that the ex is never going to accept you but you can demand respect keep every conversation non emotional you may even want to have the dad initiate a communication notebook remember she is their mother but she does not have to be involved in your relationship I know its hard but try to keep her behavior where it belongs in her court when you react you are just fueling the fire I would encourage your man to write down every time she does something crazy and review the visitation agreement if he doesn’t have one get one

  9. Cath says:

    My issue is slightly difference, as (thankfully) my husband and his ex-wife don’t have any children together. However, the weird and uncomfortable part for us is that my husband’s ex-wife still tries to be close his family members as if she is still married to my husband. The creepy part that she doesn’t get is that she treated my husband horribly, emotionally abused him, beat him down & devalued him in a number of ways, and ended up leaving him. She only got crazy toward us when he and I entered a serious relationship (5 years after the separation and just after the finalized divorce). At the time, we lived in a small town, and she made life miserable for us by sending weird emails, creating public scenes if we were at the same place — even though he and I didn’t do anything “wrong” … he just moved on with his life after the divorce. We’ve been together 3 years & we’re <1 year married, and she still writes comments on his family's FaceBook walls, referring to her nephews and niece, etc., even though my husband has confided in his family that he was in a codependent and abusive relationship and would prefer that they not be in contact with her, not communicate with her, and not encourage her to stay in touch with them. She is not smart enough to take the hint when some members of his family unfriended her, and it's hard for us that she tries to insert herself where she's not wanted. I do not know why some members of his family still respond to her, as none of them were ever very close to her. I don't know if they do not want to hurt her feelings or what. It's pretty creepy that she still calls herself an "aunt" to my husband's niece and nephews … Do you have any advice? We've expressed ourselves clearly to her and to our families, and it's a mixture of creepy, sad, pathetic, and confusing that she still tries to insert herself like this.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Your situation is so much like mine. I have dealt with a crazy ex wife for almost 10 years. We have custody of their daughter and I have raised her for years. With gaps of 1 or more years sometimes between her being involved at all. She was unaware for 2 years that her daughter was a “woman”. But when she does show it’s a mess. I stole her child etc etc. I pretend we are friends. Seriously. I pretend I dont know that she calls me awful names to their daughter who is now 15 and KNOWS whats really up. I act like I have no clue she has called dcs. To no avail. I seem unaware that she texts him saying the most horrible things. She hates it. Tells people how stupid I am for thinking we are friends. It works. She spends all her time talking about how much she hates me. She’s trying to fight a battle. But I’ve already won the war.

  11. paige cramer says:

    oh my goodness I need advice!! my husband and i have been married going on three years. his ex wife is the definition of crazy. we have custody of their son. he is now ten and our son is two. she is always harrassing us. cussing us for evrrything saying we took her son from her…yet we allow her to get him whenever she wants and the majority of the time she doesnt. she talks bad about all of us to my stepson. she came into our home about two months screaming at me telling me she was going to beat me up. all this was done in front of my kids. i filed a report told her to not come back in my home. i i told the officer the same thing. my husband was there and we agreed she would no longer be allowed in our house…well shortly after she texts our phone with more crap saying she wants us to die and she wants our baby to die. im very upset about this because my husband allowed her to come in our house today while i was at work. he did this because i had just finished up decorating the boys bathroom. i dont care why he did it we had agreed shed no longer come in our house. it has turned into him disrespecting me by putting her before me. just a couple of months ago i told him i had the money and i wanted to take him and my stepson to a concert. my stepson was with his mom so i told my husband to see if we could pick him up early. well she asked who all is going so my husband replies just me and his son. he told her i wasnt going to be there. talk about a crush to my heart. this is my family. thats not right to put your wife on the backburner and put your exwife before your wife. especially when shes putting out death threats to your wife and baby. he doesnt see where hesitant done wrong. there are alot of other things as well. i dont want to seperate my kids but i feel like im approachig the divorce stage. i dont know what to do

    1. john says:

      Based on everything you wrote, your husband is very wrong. You need to find a really good therapist. What he is doing is a major problem. I can relate to you with similar ex issues and I’m running out of patience. My gf of 2 years has a very invasive ex..he calls or texts everyday. I understand some necessity since they have 3 young kids but my gf says I’m the one allowing it to effect our relationship. He has come over to her house uninvited and stormed into the yard demanding to see his kids. He scared the daylights out of all the kids including my 7yr old daughter. she did not call the police.another time he ran over her foot with his car.she eventually called the police reluctantly. It is killinh our beautiful relationship

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