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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Ignore-ance is Bliss – “Responding” to Harassment in Child Custody

We have posted before about the best ways to deal with the Other Side in Child Custody case, e.g., focusing on the facts, but a quote I love from a hero of mine captured it so elegantly…

As with anything remarkably simple – it’s deep and warrants unpacking. Let’s break this down…

First, I love “his attack had nothing to bite into…” because it makes me think of a cartoon villain biting a fork with nothing on it or of my friend Billy completely whiffing a golf ball when swinging his hardest. Can you imagine the Other Side in this context? Takes some of the tension away already, doesn’t it? It’s like a public speaker imagining an audience in their underwear.

tactic: the best response to aggression is no response at all. Literally, ignore it.

I actually looked up the definition of “ignore” in the dictionary and found two definitions, one of which I don’t necessary like for these purposes and one I really do, which we’ll get to momentarily:

Ignore – (1) refuse to take notice of; Merriam-Webster

I don’t like this definition because (a) it’s almost impossible, practically speaking, (b) I don’t think you can refuse to take notice of something – I think you notice something or you don’t and (c) it’s a missed opportunity to be more effective in this situation. I do love the idea of not answering voice calls from the Other Side in a Child Custody case, forcing all interaction into writing or other records, but we should actually pay attention to any free information the Other Side wants to provide. (<- I haven’t sat down to write about this yet but this is HUGE and it’s in the queue. ~SW)

As with the best way to do everything, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Our team at Foxtrot builds the easy stuff, what we call the Low-Hanging Fruit, LHF, into our everyday procedures and checklists. The basic protocols of helping committed parents and caring relatives be effective in Child Custody cases becomes a Zen‑like habit. The next level is the key, though, because our team members’ conscious energy and finite willpower is directed towards the next-level strategies and tactics designing and implementing solutions for your family’s most challenging and complex problems.

For a committed parent or caring relative in a Child Custody case, the principle discussed above holds especially true, maybe exponentially so. This is because family matters, and especially Child Custody matters, are so chalk-full of emotion and reactionary bullshit that a little pragmatism goes a exceptionally long way. Think of the Oakland A’s first stumbling upon “Moneyball” while everyone else was drafting the player with the best jawline.

So, the mind shift necessary…(I’m calling it a “mind shift,” not a mindset, because a changing one’s mindset takes time, and a mind shift actually uses our own flaws in Child Custody cases to our advantage)…is accepting that your Ego wants to (1) defend yourself, (2) hurt the Other Side the way they hurt you, (3) win the argument, etc., then shifting your tactics to the best way to achieve all of those goals: Ignore it.

That’s where we get to the 2nd definition of Ignore, the one I really, really like:

Ignore: (2) to reject as ungrounded. Merriam Webster

You’ve heard people say, ironically, “I’m not going to justify that remark with a response.” This is the same thing but very different – you’re actually not saying or responding with anything, leaving only…a void.

It would be nice if we didn’t feel the need to defend ourselves, etc., and we could truly not “take notice of” remarks and attacks on us, but the tactic above looks exactly the same and is almost as effective a way of dealing with the Other Side in Child Custody. One of two things will happen if the attacks are consistentlyignored every single time: (1) the Other Side will stop howling at the moon or (2) the Other Side will begin to look foolish, or even hurt their case, by doing so.

I talk a lot about maintaining the “moral high ground” with my clients, and this is such an effective way to do so. As you practice Ignoring the unsolicited and unwanted opinions, comments and attacks from the Other Side, focusing on the facts and Ignoring everything else will become a habit…and you might really just not notice it after a while, either because the Other Side is out of breath or, better yet, because it just doesn’t even register on your radar anymore, emotionally or otherwise. In simple parlance, you’re over it.

You don’t get angry at birds for chirping. You aren’t saddened by the hum of the A/C unit. The chatter from the Other Side becomes just that, “chatter.” (You know Foxtrot loves military terminology, read about chatter at Wikipedia.)

As with anything in Child Custody or in Life, it’s all connected. The beautiful thing about Child Custody is that being truly effective as a committed parent or caring relative all connects to the Bests Interest of the Child. Winning an argument by creating a void, developing the habit of true ignorance of the Other Side’s expressions of pain and Ego, will free up so much of your thoughts, time, energy, love and effectiveness, all of which you can now freely, lovingly and gladly give to a Child.

My Love and Thanks for reading. I ask you to share this someone you love and are thankful for by sharing it with them directly or simply sharing it with your world via social media. ~SW, Foxtrot

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