School pictures and divorce

For divorced families where the parents work together for the sake of the kids (ahhh… fantasy bliss :), the aspect of getting the school pictures ordered for both parents probably doesn’t cause any alarm.

When you’re co-parenting with a narcissist, bully or “jerk” or you-name-it, it can be a very annoying experience.

That said, I have to say that I am very grateful and lucky in this department personally – as my ex doesn’t  pay much attention to what goes on with this and doesn’t even ask me about it.  My children are with me through the school weeks, and the teachers work with me to make sure that everything gets sent home to me specifically.  If he asked me about it or cared, I would happily give them to him.  However – he doesn’t, and we are best with communication kept to a minimum, so I don’t reach out to him about it.

For my friend, though, who shares custody of their daughter – the landscape is different.  School pictures, projects, report cards, school directories, etc, are a stomping ground of passive aggressive behavior.  She struggles each year to  make sure that she gets copies of these, and that what she pays for and orders is rightfully coming home to her.  This year was no different, and I helped to pick up the pictures on a day I was in the school just so they wouldn’t go to her ex.

During our conversation, I offered some thoughts on the situation… so I thought it might also be good to put that here for others who may be caught in the battle of “controlling behavior”.  Here’s what I wrote to her in email, verbatim:

“The picture thing…  one really odd thing to do is just throw your hands up in the air and decide that you don’t need them.  You can take her to Sear’s and get pics done each fall as a tradition (use a scrubby blue background and tell her to mess her hair up, and not smile.  Then – if you want the whole effect, make sure to OVER-pay for them without looking at them first!! Ha ha ha…lol).

Seriously, though – it might give you peace of mind.  it’s kinda like that analogy of “if there’s nothing there to fight…” or agreeing with someone who is just disagreeing with you and they lose all steam.”

The last comment is really important, though.   It can end a lot of battles quickly to just give up and not resist with your ex.  Make it a non-battle wherever you can, and then they have nothing to argue with you about.  It sucks, yes.. but practice the words “You’re right” and “My bad”, and leave it at that.

In the end, you’ll have peace in your heart even if they are still stewing!  What’s more fun than that?

Plus… when you get to the point of being able to do this, please please please, take a moment to stand back and congratulate yourself.  You just moved yourself another notch forward in the land of “healing”.


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