>You cheated on her, perhaps more than once. You treated her like property, not your partner in life. You used her for how she could advance your stature in life. She was your trophy wife. You took advantage of her lack of identity in her youth, her need to fit in and belong to someone. It worked out for you for years, but one day… it happened.

She met someone new on the internet. She was expected to stay home with the baby, work three jobs to support your bad habits and hobbies. But she grew up and wanted more. She knew it was out there and she finally found it. Found HIM!

Before you knew it, your child and your property wife was gone. With him. Hundreds of miles away from you, your control, and with your best weapon against her… your child.

And now you’ve been forced on top of it all to pay child support. It’s like paying for a car that you can’t drive. What right did she have to find herself and a new life AND take your kid?

I feel your pain, your indignity. I relate. I have some no-fail advice how to get even with your ex-wife that has rarely failed me or anyone I’ve shared this plan with (it works for women, too).

Revenge mind tricks you’re doing right now that will NOT work. Oh, they feel good. Like a punch in her stomach, or slap across her face, but in the long run… it will cost you your child’s respect, love, and dependence. And possible your own, too.

So immediately you must stop the following:

Stop buying or mailing gifts to your child that piss off the ex and DO NOT have any place in your young child’s life: teen or adult video games, movies, gadgets, controversial or inappropriate clothing, etc. These items will just end up in boxes to Goodwill anyway, so you’ve wasted the money and lose that battle. Trust me, your ex isn’t allowing it.

Simple math: Your kid(s) spends more time with your ex and her new beau/husband. They spend more time, money, and effort rearing your child. They set the rules, discipline, and boundaries. It is as real as gravity.

Stop phoning your child and talking bad about your ex and her beau. Your kid WILL tell you want they think you want to hear, but they “feel” it is wrong and it conflicts them. It’s not getting back at your ex and her beau that your child is upset after your phone calls and starts arguments with them… how do you think it makes your child feel? Empowered? No. Hateful and insecure.

Stop promising your kid that one day you will have the money to afford a better attorney to win back their custody. Or that one day he/she will be old enough to leave on their own. Your child needs security, not uncertainty. Plan B’s don’t work in their mind, it frightens them.

Stop checking up on your child behind the step-parent’s back. Harassing emails and phone calls to your child’s school, teachers, doctors, etc. go on record and documented. It WILL be used against you in court when needed. The state is on the child’s side, not the parents.

Stop arguing with your ex and her partner in front of your child. All you’re doing is proving to your child that you and her can’t get along and confirming that the divorce was the right thing for HER to do. And YOU were the reason. Your child’s new step father doesn’t argue like that, not over the subjects YOUR pickin‘ on.

Stop doing things that contradict what your child SEES. If your child needs new glasses, a doctor check-up, new clothes… and you tell him/her that you don’t have the money. Then your child sees you buy nice things for yourself or your new partner… Telling your child that you send plenty of money to his/her mother each month and “tell HER to buy it for you” only shows your child that their step parents will provide for their health and well-being, and YOU will provide for their entertainment.

Stop the passive aggressive, condescending conversations with your ex or her partner. They are caring and providing for your child and your respect for that shows you are taking the high road (more on that soon). Any conversations in conflict should be done away from the child’s eyes and ears. You know that, right? Do you honestly want your ex taking out her anger about you on your kid that you “can’t defend”?

Now, here’s the PERFECT, NO-FAIL strategy to get back at your ex-wife for screwing up your short term plans. After all, by now, you’re already moved on and found a new victim anyway. Now this will not work overnight because your child believes a certain way about you and it will take time for it to become real to him or her. Your patience and consistency on this new plan will pay big dividends for you. Make you a hero! Teach them that adults make mistakes and can correct them.

You call your child and he/she says something like: “Mom won’t let me do or have [fill in anything here]”. Simply respond with, “I’m not there to discuss this with them on a daily basis. I may not agree that is a good decision, but they are the adults, and you should respect that decision. It’s not productive to any of us for you to expect me to go against their wishes.” If you really feel that your child should have a new Playstation 3 unit at that exact moment, then say, “I’ll talk to your parents about it later, right now, this is our time. But they’re decision is final, understand? All of us want you to be happy, but we also want what’s best for you.”

Sound like B.S.? “If I do that, then that makes THEM right and me wrong. It tells my boy/girl that mom did the right thing in leaving me and our home here”. No it doesn’t. It tells your child that you’ve moved on, life goes on, and you’re doing what parents do. PARENTS. You’re not the child’s friend or big brother. If you feel that you are… you’re in for a sad life in the years ahead, without the RESPECT and love from that child. I’m 48, twice divorced, two kids. I’m giving your gold here, friend.

This isn’t rocket science or brain surgery. You deep down know what kids need. If you didn’t have stable and guiding parents when you were young, then you REALLY know how it robbed your people and coping skills later. Children MUST have rules when they’re exploring their worlds. Guidelines, payoffs, consequences, limits, security, integrity, goals.

When the child says things to try and cause conflict like: “I tell Mom you let me [fill in the blank] when I’m here, she says, ‘that’s dumb, or your dumb, or you don’t love me because…’ — DO NOT BELIEVE THIS TO BE TRUE. Why? How do I know it’s not true? Because if it is, what can you do about it anyway EXCEPT take the high road and show your child that:

1. If it’s true, you don’t respond to hearsay, and it’s not important now. Find out why the child feels it necessary to bring something up that will only start negative feelings.

2. If it’s not true,… Find out why the child feels it necessary to bring up something that will only start or stir up negative feelings.

My response is always, “I don’t know it that’s true or not, and it doesn’t matter to me. What does it matter to you right now?” You’ll discover that it will lead to a discussion that hits on their real problem. Most likely, someone made fun of their pants. Now they want pants like the one who was making fun of them… just to shut them up. Which it won’t. Non-productive. Validate their concern, but do what good salespeople do… make the objection small and get to the YES. “If this kid at school wasn’t making fun of your pants, do you think that you two would get along better or would he just find something else to pick on you about? My buying you new pants will not make him stop picking on you, it will only show him that he has power over you to hurt your feelings long after he’s moved on. Why give that kid that power?”

Am I a therapist? Licensed psychologist? No, a 20 year parent. These are self-taught solutions that still work. Even on kids today. Can I be wrong? Yes. Does it work all the time? No. Because sometimes the damage is done (depending on the child’s age), but all you can do is CONSISTENTLY take the high road. That’s what they will see and eventually accept AS FACT.

I could keep typing scenario after scenario, but it will always point to the same fact. YOU lost that battle, but you can win the war. Get back at your ex by taking THE HIGHER road. Do what’s best for your child. The court, right or wrong, decided that divorce and child custody to the ex was the best for the child. You can gripe all you want about the speed limit, but break it, and you WILL BE FINED, etc. Prove a point, and all you do is lose your right to drive. AND STILL have to keep making car payments!

In 1989, my daugther was not born under ideal, two-loving-parents circumstances. Her mom and I weren’t married, we barely liked each other back then. She was out for revenge. I got her pregnant, had the baby delivered and I split! She was going to spend the rest of her life putting me in the poor house, or worse. Fine, biatch, BRING IT ON!

Then she began nursing school. Soon started learning about child development. I’ll never forget the phone call. It changed everything. For the mom, for me, and for our baby girl. Yes, after that phone call I WANTED TO BE THE DAD, not just the father. One phone call, the first step.

The mom said, “I really hate what you did to me, to our baby. I hoped that keeping the baby would change you, make you stay. It was wrong for me to think that. It IS wrong for me to take it out on you and our daughter. I may not like you or your lifestyle, but I promise to try and raise your daughter believing you hung the moon, but I need YOU to help, to get back into her life. I don’t want her growing up hating you, me, men.. whatever.”

And she did, even to the demise of some of her relationships with other men. Many times I would lose my job and say, “sorry, child support will not be possible until…” and her mom always said, “I understand, I know you’ll keep in touch…” Not SEE YOU IN COURT! See?

Am I the WORLD’S GREATEST DAD? Hell, no! Far from it. But don’t tell my daughter, she won’t believe you. Thanks to her mom taking the higher road, doing what was best for her children, it made me a dad that tries. And now, her mom and I are best of friends.

So, I believe that happy endings CAN happen with the first step. Yours. Take the high road. Get back at your ex and show her… you can change, you are the better parent, and she gave up on you way too soon. 🙂

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