An excellent article by Virginia Gilbert, Marriage & Family Therapist: Some people don’t ever get over their divorce. It doesn’t matter if they wind up with the house, all your money, a hot new partner, and your entire social circle. Ultimately, those tangibles don’t matter because they don’t get to the root of the problem: shame.
For most people, divorce causes shame, which often manifests in anger. Well-adjusted people eventually get over being angry because they take accountability for their part in the demise of the marriage. They stop focusing on the past and become grateful for opportunities in the present. They get sick of being angry and move on.
But this doesn’t happen for perpetually hostile exes. High-conflict personalities can’t tolerate knowing something in their life didn’t work out. This sense of failure triggers shame, and their only means of defending against that awful feeling is to blame you for everything: the failed marriage, issues with the kids, problems with communication, their poor health, etc. They will blame you even if they were the one who initiated the divorce.
Because they don’t really want to get along with you (that would require accountability and personal growth), they perpetuate a high-conflict interactional style that fuels seemingly endless litigation, custody battles, and unnecessary co-parenting drama.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you need to accept that your ex will never get over being angry at you because you serve a purpose: to be the receptacle for their shame. Now that you know you’ll always be a target, how do you keep out of the line of fire?