Two weeks ago, 40 year old Jessica Smith of Goldendale, Washington appears to have murdered her 2 year old toddler and severely injury her 13 year old instead of returning the kids to their dad per a court order. The couple was in the mist of a divorce.
As we discussed in my previous post, Divorce Stress, Friend Lift Required, divorce is one of the most stressful events of your life. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is time to talk to someone, seek professional help, and phone a friend. Too often child abuse, parental kidnapping, and insane physical harm comes by well meaning parents who let the stress of divorce and custody get the very best of them.
As you read this, you say to yourself, “I would never do that to my children.” But life gets messing and stress takes over and causes sane people to lose focus on life and do the unthinkable. Everyday in North Texas, good parents forget to unbuckle sleeping toddlers in carseats, only to discover the tragedy later that afternoon. So what can we do to solve this absolutely unspeakable act?
1. Don’t let your anger turn into a crime. It’s one thing to be upset or mad at your Ex, it is quite another to let it fester into something unthinkable.
2. Don’t keep your anger inside, share it with a friend or counselor.
3. Don’t fantasize or scheme revenge. You don’t wake up one day and murder your kids. Your anger turns to revenge. Revenge turns to scheming. Scheming turns to fantasizing. Fantasizing turns to planning. Planning turns to acting. Catch yourself on this slippery slop and breakout of this destructive pattern.
4. Don’t suffer in silence. If you find yourself overwhelmed in your thoughts, it is time to move from isolation to being around friends and family.
5. Take time away from your kids. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t hang out at the donut shop. If you are scheming to harm your kids to get back at your Ex, it is time to take yourself out of that environment and take some time away from the kids you love.
6. Get professional help. I don’t know where in our society we convinced ourselves we are heroes by doing life alone. Successful people ask for help, seek out consultants, and go to counseling. There is nothing wrong with professional help. In fact, asking for help is part of the healing processes.
7. If you are a friend, get involved. There are always warning signs from neighbors, friends and family. Mental health is the one issue you should always get involve and intervene in the lives of others. No exception. Be aware that folks experience divorce need help. Watch them, watch their kids, and report anything questionable you see.
Jessica Smith did the unthinkable. Divorce is hard. Put a support system around you. You are fighting for your kids, not to use them to get back at your Ex.
What advise do you recommend when you find yourself thinking of ways to get back at your Ex?