Podcast Episode 210: Breaking the Cycle of a Bullying Ex

Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 210 of The New Family Podcast, where we talk to a family law expert about how to contend with a bullying ex.

Those of you who are regular listeners will know that I’m a big advocate for positive co-parenting. It’s becoming less and less unusual to see coparents working happily together to raise their kids, easily able to cohost their kids’ birthday parties, divide and conquer on busy extra-curricular days and sit comfortably together on the sidelines at the arena or soccer field.

But alas, there’s still a lot of very difficult relationships between former spouses. Naturally there can be a lot of hurt and anger when a marriage comes apart, but in some cases there’s a negative, even bullying dynamic that emerges.

My guest for this episode has some really important insights on how to handle a situation like this. Jeff Rechtshaffen has been practising family law for 21 years. He’s a partner in Rechtshaffen, Breitman Family Law and Mediation, and an expert in all aspects of family law, including collaborative family law and, when necessary, litigation.

Here are some resources related to this episode:

Rechtshaffen, Breitman Family Law & Mediation

Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn

Our Site’s Divorce Help Page

Our Facebook Community “Positive Co-Parenting After Divorce”

Related Episode: Why Marriages End

Related Episode: Positive Co-parenting After Separation and Divorce

Related Episode: Conscious Uncoupling with Katherine Woodward Thomas

Related Episode: The Optimist’s Guide to Divorce

Best Books to Read When You’re Going Through Separation or Divorce

What to Do When You Want a Positive Co-Parenting Relationship But Your Ex is Making it Impossible

Jeff’s advice for preventing a bullying dynamic from continuing after a marriage ends

“I think it’s really important to appreciate that all of the things in your marriage that you were scared of, that you were worried of, all of the things about your spouse that gave you anxiety, think about them and ask yourself what would happen to me if I got my spouse upset? And usually the answer is, ‘I would have gotten yelled at’ — usually that’s it. I’m not talking about a situation where there was physical abuse; that’s a totally different category here. I’m talking about situations where you would be scolded by your husband or wife, you would be given the silent treatment, you would be made to feel that like you did wrong. Think about those situations, think about the things you would do that would get your spouse so upset and ask yourself honestly ‘Is it really so bad’ [to upset them]? Do I really need to worry about this still? Can we change the dynamic somehow? And honestly, my clients don’t sit and think about those things. They need to be explained to them. They need to understand what their relationship was and people don’t take the time and sadly you’ve got situations where people have been separated for five years, 10 years and they feel the same way about their ex.”

Sponsor Thanks!

Special thanks to our sponsor, Wise Bites — makers of delicious, allergy-safe snacks, including an amazing array of treats for the holidays — for helping us make the show entirely free to you.

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by


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