Is Bad-Mouthing Your Ex Helpful or Harmful?
Bad-mouthing your ex can feel really good when you’re pissed off or hurting. But be careful when and how you do it. You could be hurting yourself and those around you. It’s a big no-no in front of your kids. Don’t do it!! I don’t care what your ex has done, DO NOT talk badly about him/her in front of your children. This is very harmful to your kids and can undermine their trust in you.
Have some structures in place to help you when you are upset and need to get some things off your chest. For example, you may have a close friend or family member that you can vent to. But don’t let that be all you ever talk about with them. Eventually they will get tired of your “complaining” and may start avoiding you. Ask if it’s okay to vent a little bit. Then spend just a few minutes (don’t go on and on and on) to get out what you need to get out. And then….LET IT GO. That’s the point of venting – to get it out of you. You don’t want to keep revisiting it and reliving it.
Another option is to write in a journal all the things that you’re feeling or thinking. When you’re writing, and nobody else is going to see it, you can write all those horrible, mean things you might be thinking, but wouldn’t want other people to know you’re thinking. You can even write them on a piece of paper and then tear it up and throw it away (or burn it) if you want to make sure there’s no way anyone will ever see it. If you write in a journal, be sure to keep it somewhere safe where it won’t be discovered.
If you’re not really into writing, you can also just say what’s on your mind out loud when no one else is around. You can do it in your car or at home. Yell and scream if you need to – whatever helps you to get it out so it doesn’t stay inside you.
You can also share your feelings with a therapist, counselor, or coach – someone who’s not involved in the situation and can allow you to share your thoughts, then help you to move forward with strategies to deal with them.
I strongly recommend against bad-mouthing your ex to lots of your friends, even if what you’re saying is true or, in your mind, justified. This type of thing has a way of finding its way back to the other person and that can really escalate the negativity between you. It can also start a nasty battle you probably don’t want to be involved with. And your friends may begin to view you differently – you may start coming across as bitter and vengeful, not fun to hang out with.
If people ask you how things are going with your ex or what he/she has been doing lately, you still don’t have to share all the ugly details or how upset you are. Practice telling people that there are still challenges, but that you’re working through them. It’s a first step in shifting your mindset from what’s happening to you, to what you’re doing to deal with the situation and move forward.