Response to Anxious Mama

Dear Hailey,

Do you have any suggestions for dealing with getting divorced and having the ex partner use your anxiety for an excuse as to why you shouldn’t be allowed as much custody? Having to prove that the anxiety is caused by the ex partner and not parenting, when they are unwilling to see or hear this.*

Anxious Mama

*Personally identifying portions of this question were removed to protect the identity of this individual.

Dear Anxious,

While it is deplorable and unfair of him to use your anxiety against you in a custody battle, your best option would be take steps to protect yourself in that area so he can’t use it against you. If you are not already attending counseling regularly, find a highly recommended and licensed professional. Many agencies offer sliding fee scales that can make counseling affordable even without insurance or with minimal coverage. If you are unsure of where to look for affordable options, I would call your local branch of the state office and they can give you recommendations. (Here in Idaho it is called the Department of Health and Welfare, but every state has their own designations).

Once you have been seeing the counselor for a little while (Or if you are already seeing one, you can do it now), I would ask them if they would be willing, (with your help) to write a letter stating that you are attending counseling regularly, listing the goals you are working towards, and progress that has been made. I have written letters for clients at my previous job and also for clients at my current place of employment for similar reasons. If you are keeping your appointments, and working towards the goals you and your counselor have set, I guarantee they will have no issues with writing a letter for you. You can take that letter with you to court as proof of your efforts and progress. If you are taking active steps to improve your ability to cope with your anxiety, he won’t be able to use it against you.

As far as getting your point across, you can start practicing what you need to say, or writing down what needs to be said. Write down some bullet points. There is something about being put on the spot can make it hard to remember what we need to say, so there is no shame in taking notes with you. Make sure that you state the facts. The calmer you can remain in court, the better it is for you, especially if he shows rage. It is perfectly acceptable to be emotional, but don’t sink to his level and become volatile. If you don’t have a lawyer, contact your local legal aid office and they should be able to help you out. It is difficult now, but you are doing the right thing. You can do this. You can find the strength to do what you need to for you and your children. I wish you luck.



Posted in Q&A

2 thoughts on “Response to Anxious Mama

  1. Hailey, great article and great advice! I also struggle from anxiety and it can be tough. I love the idea of writing down bullet points for important discussions, I struggle often when I’m put on the spot. I am cheering for your reader and I hope that she’s able to find a peaceful resolution with her ex!

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