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I was talking to a friend here on the network, and she has been getting burned when she tries talking to her STBX. It seems most women have not learned the art [and art it truly is] of hanging up on one's ex.

Oh, we all think about it, and some of us can actually do it given enough anger. But the art of hanging on the troll is to be able to do it calmly, cooly, and walk away without guilt — despite the fact that he was ranting, raving, and prevaricating while throwing guilt upon heaping spoon of guilt at you.

So listen up, girlfriend(s), this lesson is for you ;)

If you start out conversations with him with the intent to be all business and he deviates, start giving him excuses [and I mean far out excuses] and then hang up. For example your convo might go something like this:

You: Well I understand that, but we need to discuss [insert finances, bills, signing paperwork] and this needs to be handled right now.

STBX: I don't care about that. You are just a power hungry wench blahblahblahblah.

You: Well I'd love to hear what you think but unfortunately my worms need to be fed. *click*

This whole scenario is not about deviating from the convo. It's about taking power back. If you sit there and listen to his ranting you:1) are feeding the troll which as we all know is a big internet NONO and2) are giving him the power to attempt to breach your mental defenses and burn down what ever self esteem and power you've so far amassed.

Giving him the excuse is not rude. It is a mental wake up call to yourself that you are recognizing his game and stopping it. You see, when you give him that excuse you will hear a distinct pause on the other end of the line. Because he will have to do a double take and in that instant you hang up.

Therefore, you have neither interrupted him, nor have you really hung up on him. You gave him a reason you had to leave and you left — end of story.

Now, it will be really difficult the first few times, and you might even feel guilty. It is natural because you really are a good person trying to be polite and do the right thing. Which in your mind means sitting there and just taking whatever he's dishing. But that is, to be honest, bad strategy for war and hard on the ego and emotions.

So, fight that feeling of guilt by remembering that most of that guilt is preprogrammed by him anyway. If you don't do what he wants, when or how he wants it, you obviously don't 1) love him, 2) respect him, 3) care about the relationship. I would submit at this juncture that all 3 are now truly the case and he can bite you.

Chin up and prepare to hang up — it is after all, what the troll deserves.

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  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 19 January 2011 10:39 posted by Guest

    Low Contact Communication: o Knowing when and how to hang up is one element of an approach called “Low Contact Communication.” I learned about Low Contact Communication a few years ago, and it has really helped our family.

    o In the early years of his divorce, my husband and his former wife spoke on the phone several times a week. They rarely resolved anything on these calls, and the calls frequently left him too upset to work (if she called during the day) or spend time with his kids or me (if she called in the evening). That is because she used the calls to yell at him (the decibel level from the phone was very high), blame him (“[Our son, 18 at the time] is having problems in school because of that thing you said to me when I was pregnant with him.”), name call (“You are not the father I gave you credit for.”), shame him (“Your behavior is disgusting. What kind of a father are you?”) and transparently misstate facts.

    o At a certain point, my husband decided that all his communication with her would be in writing (typically email). He simply stopped talking to her on the phone and, if he saw her in public, he would greet her politely and then talk to someone else.

    o I believe this “Low Contact Communication” saved his sanity. Now, he receives nasty emails from her instead of angry phone calls. But with the emails, he can read them when it is convenient for him (instead of interrupting his workday), he can scroll past the portions that are simply venting and are not solution-oriented, and he can think about his answer to the subject at hand before responding. She has demanded that he take her phone calls and has tried to persuade both kids’ therapists that she “deserves” to be able to call him whenever she wants. He has steadfastly explained that their communications need to remain on-point (so they resolve the issues) and civil (so that he is not so upset that he can’t parent the kids). They have stuck to email for a couple years now, and things are much better.