Linda Blair author photo
Linda Blair is a clinical psychologist, author, broadcaster, columnist and mum. She grew up in America’s midwest and is now based here in the UK.

Linda’s fourth book, The Key to Calm, was published by Yellow Kite (Hodder 9781444765342and Stoughton) in February 2014, which will review in our new column yummy books.

She is currently writing her fifth book. Linda also has a long list of academic publications.

 

I have a very difficult ex boyfriend. We split before I was pregnant and then we got back together, I fell pregnant but inevitably it was over and having the baby just put us under more pressure, so we faced up to this and parted company.

He seemed to be delighted to be a dad and sees Tyler every second weekend.
However, I am now dealing with a very angry person – and it’s not over contact to our son; I have offered contact every day if he wants, but he doesn’t want it. He has another partner but still feels it’s his mission in life to ‘have a go’ at me when he sees me and I need to know what to do? His behaviour is affecting me and I am feeling  very depressed. Please help..

 

Linda says…

A good starting point is to accept that none of us can force another person to behave as we would like them to behave. You’ve not indicated that your ex’s behaviour puts you or Tyler in danger, so as long as that remains the case, it’s best to accept that he may continue to be angry until -and if – he decides he wants to behave and feel differently.

Next, you need to take an honest, hard look at your relationship. The opposite of love isn’t anger (his emotional reaction to you) or distress (your emotional reaction to him). These strong emotions suggest that you both still have unresolved issues and feelings for one another.

You need to work through these so you can devote positive energy to Tyler, who needs that from both of you.

Therefore, I strongly advise the two of you to see a relationship counsellor so you can work through the strong emotions that still remain.

That way, you can both truly move on.

Meanwhile, you can start making things better for you and Tyler right away. Although you can’t make your ex behave differently, it’s up to you entirely to decide how to react to his angry outbursts. The best response is no response. Don’t reply to angry comments, and don’t argue with him.

Instead, in as kindly a manner as possible, simply clarify the necessary contact arrangements for your son. Your calm, non-controversial behaviour will allow Tyler to feel calm and to look forward to spending time with his dad.

Finally, if you’re still feeling low or exhausted, see your GP and ask for a psychological assessment. A course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and possibly some medication in the short term, could help lift your mood allow you think more positively.