The Dirtiest Word in Child Custody…
When all you do all day every day is help parents and relatives in Child Custody cases, you start to notice some patterns. Some patterns are helpful, some arenâ€™t. One pattern weâ€™ve picked up on is the kind of language our clients use, more specifically, their vocabulary. I bet dollars to doughnuts there is a correlation between certain words and the peace and well-being of our clients. A deep dig into this concept could probably be a book and probably is already, but weâ€™re to talk about the single, dirtiest word in Child Custody and how using it and giving energy to it is in every sense a â€ślose-loseâ€ť proposition. That word is…
Thatâ€™s right. The second you utter the word â€śunderstandâ€ť in certain contexts you are cruising for a mental and emotional and utterly ineffective bruising. See, for example,…
…I donâ€™t understand why the Judge would rule that wayâ€¦
…I donâ€™t understand why the Other Side acts the way they doâ€¦
and for a double whammy
…I donâ€™t understand why the Other Side canâ€™t understand me.
Any of this sound familiar?
Here are the problems with giving any thought, energy or action to trying to â€śunderstandâ€ť anything, especially in Child Custody.
First, youâ€™re not going to understand certain things. If the Other Side is controlling and manipulative there are simply too many variables to pinpoint the source of that behavior. Even then, assuming a source assumes some kind of causation to begin with. Some thinkers believe that life is so completely random that causation is a myth unto itself. So, to try to â€śunderstand,â€ť for practical purposes, is akin to trying to do the impossible.
Second, even if you â€śsucceedâ€ť in some quest for understanding, well, congratulationsâ€¦now what? Understanding why the Other Side is manipulative doesnâ€™t help deal with that manipulation. This isnâ€™t some tactical chess game weâ€™re trying to win. Get up every day and do whatÂ youâ€™re supposed to do. Be where youâ€™re supposed to be. Be who youâ€™re supposed to be. Quit thinking about the Other Side or the Judge or whoever so damn much. Seriously.Â
(Iâ€™ll qualify that, understanding why a Judge may have ruled a certain way might sound helpful. â€śIf I know what the Judge cares about then I can proceed accordingly.â€ť This kind of thinking is shallow and short-sighted. The Judge has their values; you have yours. Be authentic and act in accordance with your values or youâ€™ll not have peace as a person or as a parent. If, for example, you value a healthy, hard-drug free lifestyle and you fail a drug test for meth, itâ€™s less important why the Judge cares than whether or not and why you care. I guess the point is the only thing you need to have an honest, non-judgmental understanding of is yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses, tendencies and motivations, etc., and take action accordingly. Even then, you wonâ€™t understand why youâ€™re that way; youâ€™re just dealing with the facts.)
One last thing, and again, even assuming you understand something about the Other Side or some other stakeholder…youâ€™re probably wrong. So much of who we are and the decisions we make are based on emotions and then our brain comes up with the â€ślogicâ€ť post facto. Itâ€™s the same with the Other Side. If you angrily text the Other Side, â€śI donâ€™t understand why you would do thisâ€¦â€ť and then they actually take the time to explain it to you, thereâ€™s absolutely no reason to take that at face value. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I am not saying the Other Side is lying, Iâ€™m saying theyâ€™re full of it. Youâ€™re getting the best-sounding explanation their brain can come up with at the time.Â
Iâ€™m as guilty here as anyone. Why should you believe what I have to say? Why should you take the information presented here at face value and believe and understand all this? The point is it doesnâ€™t matter; the information here is actionable. Itâ€™s practical and helpful in crawling out of someone elseâ€™s head and reallocating it towards yourself and things you can control.
We donâ€™t sit around trying to understand why a steak tastes good and other things donâ€™t. We just eat and enjoy.Â
This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit www.ThinkFoxtrot.com/public_calendars/ to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot