“Contemptuous behavior toward a partner” was the phrase that got me thinking about the causes and aftereffects of divorce. I saw this type of behvior in one friend’s marriage that ended in divorce. In another, they’re still being contemptuous and still married.
(I’m researching collaborative divorce so I can write a brochure advertising a seminar on the topic for Wisconsin lawyers, which is my day job.)
I tried really hard to avoid contemptuous behavior in my separations and divorces, but some inevitably crept in. I can think of one person who delighted in putting down her ex-husband, making jokes with their two kids about the poor schmo. Now I read that this sort of thing “raises the likelihood of maladjustment in the children,” according to a Wall Street Journal article. (Click here.) It continues: “Children suffer when parents assign fault, justify their own behavior, compete for their children’s loyalty, bad-mouth each other, or ask the children to take sides, keep secrets or tattle on the former spouse.”
Yikes! Sounds like a war zone. In one study, “when divorced parents were able to maintain a civil and at least minimally cooperative relationship with each other, the children experienced no long-term problems associated with the divorce. But when parents remained in conflict or totally disengaged from each other, their children continued to be distressed even 20 years later.”
So let’s get along in front of the kids, people!
(Illustration stolen from the Wall Street Journal.)