I know all too well what this is like. I dealt with this issue for years. I still do from time to time and my kids are much older.
Arguing over haircuts is silly. It is a symptom of a much bigger problem between the parents and it often stems from the pain involved in the break up or divorce. The women in this video are hurting. You can see it in the way they speak to the father. You can see it in the way they look to be victimized and how they will do anything to get their way even if there is collateral damage (the kids).
Why would this mother try to stop the father from leaving after his parenting time? Why would she even think about calling the police over an argument over a haircut? Why would the mother look to her own mother for assistance, then become more antagonistic after she joins in the tag team of the father? Why would this mother enter the father’s vehicle, then go after someone else’s child who was sitting in the car?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because she is bitter, angry, lonely and feeling helpless. I have strong feelings that the mother in the video inherited many of the same behavioral patterns from her own mother. Her mother has been hurting from past relationships, the mom in this video is hurting, and now the kids are hurting. She is willing to even let the kids hurt now too. In the long run, she wants the father of the kids to hurt in some way. I am sure of this.
There is a saying: hurt people hurt people.
In the grand scheme of things, haircuts for very small kids are not that important. They really aren’t. While the parents might not agree on the choices and tactics of the other parent, going to these lengths over haircuts for small kids and even slightly older children is ridiculous.
If you have been in this situation before or think you might have, there are a few things you should understand.
1) Do not be scared of whatever threats a mother like this makes. If she threatens you, immediately call the police. For too many years, fathers have been playing defense instead of being assertive and forcing mothers to play by the same rules we have to play. If there is a raised voice, any physical threat or actual confrontation, get the authorities involved and document every single action that occurs.
2) Remember that anything you say and do WILL be used against you. It is best to never have a conversation under any circumstances except if it is through a vehicle where it can be documented. Always communicate through e-mail and text and keep every single conversation for your records. In this case he has a video of her behavior. It is important to have this because if there ever needs to be proof of your adversary’s actions, you will have it documented. No matter how much you thought your ex loved you or how much you might still care about her, more often than not, your ex knows that family courts will be sympathetic to whatever comes out of her mouth and will view any words from yours with suspicion. This is one of the most important reasons why you limit your conversations and document everything.
3) Your ex has installed the buttons that trigger volatile emotions. She will push them as often as she can to get a rise out of you. She will attempt to push your buttons to trigger things that will make you act irrationally. Once these buttons are pushed and you act out, anything you do or say will be an advantage to her in court. The trick for you is to learn how to disconnect the wiring to those buttons so that when she tries to push them, they do not work at all. It takes years to figure out how this works, but when you get to this point, it is pretty empowering. Keep your mouth shut. Say very little to her. Record any conversations you have on video if you see things getting heated. Better yet, walk away if you have to. Keep talk to a minimum and do whatever you can to keep the vast majority of communication through email and text. Even then, put limits on that and never write things that can be even remotely provocative.
4) Keep your new girlfriend out of the picture. Your ex will get jealous when she finds out about her, she will push your buttons and might even try to engage with her to provoke you. Limit all knowledge of your new romantic partner. I suggest keep a new romantic interest away from your kids too until you are sure she is going to be around for the foreseeable future. It is best to avoid the attachment your kids may feel for any new love interest of yours who might not last. Trust issues could develop that could become a part of their inability to sustain their own relationships in the future.
You can take this advice if you want or disregard it. I’ve been in this position. I have been through things that will make your head spin. I’m on the other side now. I see certain behaviors coming from a mile away. I’ve learned the hard way how to deal with certain people.
I want the best for those who may be in a similar position. Take a look through this blog to see if there is anything else you can use in your life. Being informed can only help.
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Clayton Craddock is the founder of the SoCraddock Method, a musician, writer, social historian and one of the most interesting people you will ever meet. He lives in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @claytoncraddock or reach out through email – firstname.lastname@example.org.