Did you see this on "The Today Show" on NBC Tuesday? I was shocked to watch a segment highlighting a bitter and angry ex-husband who writes a blog called "ThePsychoExWife.com" in which he takes no pains to refrain from absolutely blasting his ex-wife. He describes his blog as ""the true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder ..." He goes on to describe his ex-wife as,
"... on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it. Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality. She spends her time ... drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn't stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer."
Forget all the legal rambling about whether this guy has a 'right' to write and publish online any of this information. We live in the US and one of our inalienable rights is the right to free speech.
But (and that's a huge but!), c'mon ... is this really in the best interests of his two children who are the tender ages of ten and twelve? How can a father live by a moral compass that must be so far askew for him to think it is OK to write things like this about the mother of his children?
As Americans, we seem to think it's permissible to just speak our mind whenever we choose to, and legally that is one of the things we pride ourselves on, but doesn't it seem like this legal answer needs to be over-ruled by a more pressing moral response? Doesn't it seem that we should allow our moral compass to drive our behavior even though that may squelch our immediate desire to do what feels right in the moment? In this case, shouldn't the value that this father places on having his two boys successfully survive, and thrive, after their parents divorce outweigh this father's need to blow off his anger, bitterness and hatred by writing his blog?
There are so many things wrong with this blog and thinking this behavior is appropriate!
This father is creating a difficult environment for his kids, at a stage where these poor children probably want to pretend the divorce isn't happening, or want it to just be over already! The ongoing battle will take its toll. Add to that the fact that by virtue of what he is writing, the kids are bound to feel some level of guilt as a result of feeling pulled between both parents. And, is this father showing his kids that his is how they should deal with any level of conflict that they will face in their lives? Seriously? These are the life skills we want to emulate for our children?
I'm giving a big thumbs-up to the family court judge who ordered the blog to be shut down saying, "Your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the women they love in public." I'm not confident that on appeal this argument will be sustained, but rather presume that the father will win his argument that his first amendment rights are being violated. He is obviously onto something as the blog drew more than 200,000 visitors, and he was even able to start selling advertising on it.
Regardless of whether he 'wins' his legal case or not, the kids lose. It's the kids who will suffer as a result of seeing their parents go through yet another vicious, hurtful battle. It seems like the most common sense, intuitive thing in the world to want to protect your children from harm, but then we see things like this in the media, and it goes again the grain of natural order! The fall-out for children who are products of divorce can be devastating even in the most 'friendly' of divorces, but we know that studies show one of the biggest indicators of 'successful' divorces in the eyes of children is how well their parents are able to co-parent them together. Period. There is no negotiating this point. It's been researched and documented. Kids don't want to feel pulled, don't want to feel guilt, and don't want to have to 'take sides' in their parents divorce.
Clearly, not the high road ... not even close to high road behavior. I wish more people would quit trying to win on technicalities and rationalizations, and instead focus on listening to that inner voice, that moral compass, and that self-less indicator that highlights when we should do right for others, instead of selfishly giving in to our own desires or urges. Now there is some high road behavior we can model for our kids. What do you think?