S3, E6: Stories from the other side with Tara McCallam

coparenting divorce divorceadvice divorcecoach divorcehealing divorcejourney divorcepodcast transformation Feb 14, 2024
Season three, episode six of The Crazy Ex-Wives Club podcast: Stories from the Other Side with Tara McCallam

In this insightful episode of The Crazy Ex-Wives Club, host Erica Bennett welcomes self-discovery coach and seasoned divorcee Tara McCallam. 

Together, they delve into the nuances of co-parenting post-divorce, exploring the importance of communication, curiosity, and creating a cooperative environment for the sake of the children. Tara shares her personal journey and the transformative power of gratitude. 

Whether you're contemplating staying or going, or seeking guidance on navigating life after divorce, join us for a conversation that enlightens and empowers. 

Tune in to learn how to shift relationship dynamics for better outcomes and healthier families. 

Find more resources at ⁠⁠www.thecrazyexwivesclub.com.⁠⁠

Full Transcripts are located below.  


Learn more about this week's guest: Tara McCallam

Tara is a mom of 2 dynamically empowered teenage boys, Sam and Charlie and a sweet & spicy Labrador Lucca. She certifies coaches in The Art of Being, a modality that focuses on developing emotional intelligence and prowess in order to create powerful personal and professional relationships. She also sees clients virtually on a 1:1 basis.




SPECIAL OFFER: Grab you digital Impossible Journey. Free for the first 100 people. 


Stories from the Other Side withTara McCallam FULL TRANSCRIPTS


Erica Bennett [00:00:00]:
One of the hardest things after getting divorced was figuring out my new role when it came to working with my ex, because there were times when it still really hurt and it still really stung and I still really wanted to retaliate. And so today, my guest is going to talk about how she learned to thrive on this other side, how she was able to move forward with her ex. Because the big part of thriving in your new normal is learning what it takes in your behaviors and your communication, and how you can still maintain you while working with your ex. So let's get started.

Erica Bennett [00:00:44]:
Welcome to the Crazy Ex Wife's Club, a podcast dedicated to helping women navigate the emotional journey that is divorce. I'm your host, Erica, and if you're.Trying to figure out life after the big d welcome to the club.

Erica Bennett [00:00:54]:
Whether you're contemplating divorce or dealing with the aftermath or any of the many phases in between, the club has got you covered. Each week you'll hear stories from women who have been in your shoes. This isn't about spilling tea on divorce details. This is about giving you the tools to take control of your own healing journey. Listen in weekly for advice, tips, and tools to help you move through each stage of the process.

Erica Bennett [00:01:24]:
Welcome back to another episode of The Crazy Ex-Wives Club. I'm your host, Erica, and today I have Tara McCallam with me. Tara is a self discovery coach. She certifies other coaches and she really helps people explore what they're looking for, what do they want in this life as they're moving into a new chapter? So welcome, Tara. It's super exciting to have you here today.

Tara McCallam [00:01:47]:
Thanks. I'm so excited to be here and so excited to share your podcast with more people.

Erica Bennett [00:01:52]:
Thank you. So tell us a little bit about what you do, because not only is Tara a fellow divorcee, not only has she had experience and has things to share with us around how she learned to co parent effectively, but she also has a really cool business where she's helping people as well. So tell us a little bit about that.

Tara McCallam [00:02:12]:
So I meet with people one on one. So I do private sessions virtually. So anywhere in the US and beyond. I have a lot of clients in Canada, France, and a few other places, but I also certified coaches because I got to this place where I wasn't able to see as many people as I wanted. And I feel like there's a need out there to uncover the power in emotions as a way to discover that inner guidance system that is always speaking to us, always opening up avenues of more greatness, more relationship and then the other piece is one of the big things that I learned in my divorce is how to create relationship, even when it's hard. And so I don't just mean intimate relationships. I mean, like professional family and so on. There's always that interaction, and you can influence it greatly and how you're experiencing it by just changing your intention.

Erica Bennett [00:03:07]:
Yeah, it reminds me, I don't know. Do you follow Mark Groves at all? He was just talking about that his thing is the relationship. And while it started as dating, he's like, you're always in relationship with somebody else. And that was one of the things when we know, you're like, it's about the relationship. There's always two energies. There's always you and something else, someone else or the universe you're interacting with. Whatever it is, it's always you plus something else.

Tara McCallam [00:03:34]:
Which I find really exciting, because whether it's you and your body or you in the universe or another person, you have an opening for communication that can shift things, rather than getting really clear on what you don't like about what the other person's doing, what you do want, and it just being this battle. I'm not much of a fighter, and I have found that when I did show up to fight, it didn't work in my favor. So I was like, there's got to be a different way, and I don't want to be in this one person's right because the other person probably feels they're right and I'm wrong. So I needed to shift that.

Erica Bennett [00:04:16]:
Yeah. And that is so key in being able to move forward. I mean, with anybody, when you have a differing of opinion, whether it's a little one or a big one, being able to sit back and say, okay, I don't want to fight about it, and I see it happen all the time.

Erica Bennett [00:04:29]:
Somebody grounds down into what their belief is, their principle is. And I'm not saying you have to give up on what your beliefs or principles are, but you got to give it enough room to say there might be another way that somebody else believes differently and they feel just as right and justified in where they're coming from.

Tara McCallam [00:04:52]:
For sure. And I think with that, the easiest way to get to that other place is to ask, what is the result I'm actually looking for. I mean, if you only want to feel right, that's fine, but generally you're not going to get anything more than that validation. Like, I won give myself a check mark there, but generally there's something else that's beyond the rightness or wrongness that you want. Like, I want to have more freedom with my kids. I want to be supported. Whatever it is, there's something that you're looking for. And keeping that energy as the focus more than the right or wrong helps you to get there. And then the other thing that I found was really asking questions.

Tara McCallam [00:05:37]:
I mean, I was at a place in co parenting where I did feel like we were both trying to establish our boundaries, and this is what's okay, and this is what's not okay. And I was working a job at that point. I wasn't an entrepreneur, and my ex husband was, and he was like, you need to toe the line. These are the parameters. And I was finding that my job was constantly needing me to change that and always feeling wrong. And then I had this big work trip that I needed to take, and I found that prior to that, I would go in either forceful or apologetic, those two things, and both of the ways I was always shamed or made wrong or whatever it was, but it was really my energy that was causing that, I believe. And so at this time, I was like, he can say no, I'm going to go into this. Like, he can say no.

Tara McCallam [00:06:37]:
So I'm going to ask the question instead of saying, I need you to do this, or I don't have any other choice. I just was like, I'm going to go in. I'm going to ask the question. And then I also asked this other wild and wonderful question was, what kind of energy does he actually want to have? And that was a part of tapping into him. And one of them was, I feel like he wants to be a hero often and not like a big ego hero, but he wants to be a hero. He wants to be seen as somebody who's helpful. And all of this and him fighting for his boundaries was really to say, you're always wronging me. I'm never quite reaching that.

Tara McCallam [00:07:18]:
And so I was like, I have to be honest. At first, I was like, no, I want to do expletives. I was like, you can't be the hero. With how this ended, you can't be the hero. And I was like, but if he doesn't get to be the hero, I also don't get to have what I want. We're going to be in this contentious relationship, and I'm often going to get no's on things, or it's going to be really, I don't know, sticky. And so I was like, what if he could be the hero and that could shift everything for me. And so I asked it from that energy.

Tara McCallam [00:07:52]:
I never said to him, do you want to be a hero? I never said, can you be my hero today? Or I never brought up the words to him. I just went to him with that energy, like, hey, this is what's going on in my life. I need to go on this work trip. I'm going to be gone longer. Any chance you could have the kids longer? What would that look like for you? And it's okay if you say no. And his attitude towards me was so different. He almost jumped into the place of, I got it. Go do that thing. I would love to have the kids.

Tara McCallam [00:08:28]:
It doesn't matter that it's not the time. And I was like, whoa, it blew me away that things could shift so dynamically.

Erica Bennett [00:08:36]:
Yeah. Because when you give somebody a little bit of space versus dictating how they need to show up, you've got two people on both sides. Both of them are really trying to assert their dominance, assert their, you better respect me, you better respect me in this role. And it's like, give them a little space to step into it to come meet you where it's at. Instead of demanding how they need to be.

Tara McCallam [00:09:02]:
It makes it a lot more fun. I mean, in some ways it makes it fun and then other ways. I have to check myself. Every time I really have to pause, I have to ask the questions and I say have to because it's like if I don't, often I'll go back to a default mode, which is just, this is what I need. And either you're not going to give it to me, like, an energy of that or a desperation. Right. And so I have to check myself before I have conversations or texts or whatever and make sure that I know the big thing that I want, not the little thing, and make sure that I communicate it in a way of curiosity.

Erica Bennett [00:09:42]:
Yeah. We could take this example and say, think in a workplace, everybody has different energy. You're going to show up with different dynamics on how you work with some people on your team versus other people on your team. Right. If there's a relationship you're not as close with, you're probably a little bit more politically correct or a little bit more professional versus the ones you're closer with. You're a little bit shorter, you're a little bit quicker. Right. It's the same concept.

Erica Bennett [00:10:06]:
We just don't think of it that way because we used to have a very emotional, personal relationship with this person, but it's now shifting into a business relationship. And you know that there are things you can do that piss them off, then it means you know that there are things you can do that can help get you what you're looking for. I remember, too. It was really hard. And I agree with you when you're like, I have to check myself and I have to ask the questions because that line to just fire off something in my brain is so fast because those old pains were big. And even though when I'm calm and collected and I'm not rushing, I'm like, yeah, I'm fine. I'm fine with it now. When I'm irritated, it activates the old irritations that I used to have and how short and direct and not nice I used to be.

Erica Bennett [00:10:54]:
And when I first started to try and change the dynamic, because I always say it takes one person to shift how they're showing up to change the other person's energy. So when you guys get stuck in that headlock of, well, he needs to change first.

Erica Bennett [00:11:09]:

Erica Bennett [00:11:10]:
Or you could change and see if he changes with you, like Tara just shared. But same thing. We had a set time that drop off was supposed to happen and my ex did whatever the heck he wanted to. So sometimes it was 20 minutes late, sometimes it was an hour late, and it used to be like five after and I start texting, where are you? You need to give me an ETA. You're already late. This is unacceptable. Right. And what did it make him do? Go slower?

Tara McCallam [00:11:37]:

Erica Bennett [00:11:38]:
Or stop answering. Right. And I just had to ask myself, and I'm like, is this really the thing? No. Let it go. Was I right in saying we had an agreement and this is the time you were supposed to be there? Yes.

Erica Bennett [00:11:49]:
Was I right in being able to establish and enforce my boundary and expectation? Yes. And in that instance, it didn't get me what I wanted. It set us back every single time. And communication was so contentious between the two of us until I was like, just going to turn the other way. I'm just going to breathe, my child is going to show up, he is safe. He's not somewhere not safe. And it will all work out.

Tara McCallam [00:12:15]:
Absolutely. I always think about that whole rightness. Like when you're on the road, the light turns green, you're right to go, but if you don't look, if a semi is coming, you're going to get obliterated. You still had the right to go, but you didn't pay attention to what was coming. And the devastation comes. So it's like, still be aware of what could get created if you waited a moment? And does he show up anymore on time or is that just a pattern?

Erica Bennett [00:12:47]:
Right. It's kind of a pattern. Well, now the new system is it doesn't affect me as much because pick him up on Sunday nights on the way back through town, and then he gets him after school. So I know that he is always late to get him after school because my son rides the bus back to my house, and then he's like, well, I'm waiting for dad. I don't know what time he's going to be here, right? But it no longer affects me. And so giving it some space and being flexible and being like, you know what? It's not really that big of a deal really helped. And it was the smallest step, but at that point, I was really finding any reason to yell at him to be like, you're screwing up again, you're screwing up again. You're not doing it right.

Erica Bennett [00:13:30]:
These are very simple commitments that we've made, and all it did was create more anger, more frustration, more fighting. It ruined any little bit of communication we had left, right? Because communication had gone from sharing everything to just communicating a pickup and a drop off time, and he couldn't even get that right. And the one who was affected, me.

Tara McCallam [00:13:53]:

Erica Bennett [00:13:54]:
He didn't care. He probably was enjoying the fact that he was driving me baddie, or he was completely unaware that he was driving me baddie, but he just knew he wasn't going to put up with me being angry. So he just shut down and walked away. And I was left being so irritated with all the shit to hold. And so it was a process for me to call myself out on it and be like, what do I really want? What's the level of safe, respectful communication that I want to have? And it took a lot of time. It also took the fiancé leaving. That was adding a lot of stress of three people trying to co-create. But even where it's at now, there's times where you can see him text into old humor jabs. Kind of the thing, like, out of all things our son could get from you, he could get the fact that I can't eat a lot of foods.

Erica Bennett [00:14:46]:
My stomach doesn't love me.

Erica Bennett [00:14:48]:

Erica Bennett [00:14:48]:
And so he's laughing about that, and I get to then decide, is that the next level of communication I want to have with him or not? Because maybe I don't want to have that back and forth anymore and that sharing. But you got to get to the neutral place to then be able to start to build something?

Tara McCallam [00:15:04]:

Erica Bennett [00:15:09]:
Are you at a crossroads contemplating whether to stay or go in your marriage? It's okay to feel lost, to feel scared and even uncertain. Hey, guys, this is Erica. And I get it. I felt the same way. I was afraid to make the wrong choice. But I also knew that I wanted more. I want to invite you to join The Crazy Ex-Wives Club Cohort. It's not just for divorced women, but it's also for those who are trying to find clarity on whether or not they should stay.

Erica Bennett [00:15:36]:
In this twelve week program, you'll be guided from confusion to clarity. We'll move you from fear to confidence. It's all about helping you identify what you want, who you are, and how you want to thrive moving forward. It's time to capture what you truly want in life. So join us on this transformational journey. Visit www.thecrazyexwivesclub.com because your path forward starts here.

Erica Bennett [00:16:05]:
So what would you say for the listeners? What was one of the hardest things about co parenting for you when it first started? Because how long now have you been co parenting?

Tara McCallam [00:16:16]:
A decade. Yeah, ten years. So my kids were really three and six when we were separated, so it's been longer than a decade. And then they were four and seven when we got divorced. And I think for me, it was feeling wrong a lot. It was really feeling wrong. It was feeling like my hands were tied in the way that he wanted me to show up. And then also, it was how my kids felt.

Tara McCallam [00:16:44]:
So a lot of it was how my kids felt and navigating their feelings without making anyone wrong, because I did. So I stepped in a couple of times and I said, hey, I don't know if, you know, our son is feeling this way. And, wow, if that didn't blow up not just in my face, but really in my son's face.

Erica Bennett [00:17:08]:
Yes, I had the same thing. So you tell your story.

Tara McCallam [00:17:13]:
Luckily, my kids are really open with me and they were just like, you can't step in and you can't say these things. If we tell you our innermost thoughts and how we're hurting, it needs to stay with you. Because for them, what ended up happening is they were just kind of berated and it just was over and over and over and over again. And because there's no good reason, but because adults were hurt by the things and they were like, we're doing everything. And you said this, so now we're just going to in your face. And I was like, I can't do that anymore. And so I felt in the beginning, like, my hands were tied in showing up for my kids.

Erica Bennett [00:17:54]:
Yeah, I felt the same way, because my son would tell me, well, there were two things that happened. One, he would tell me, and I would share things and say, hey, I just want you let you know this is what he's sharing with me. And it would be much the same. When he went to his dad's house, he got almost attacked for it. And attacked is a little bit too strong of a word, but almost shamed for it, called out for it, which shut him down. And I was like, I'm not willing to risk the relationship with my son, the openness that we've created. So the next phase I went through is I was like, well, would you like me to? This is something you can tell your dad. And he's like, I can't.

Erica Bennett [00:18:29]:
Do you want me to help you have that conversation? The three of us can have the conversation. I'll be there with you. And we'd role play how to tell his dad what he was feeling. And we tried doing the three, and it kind of went much of the same. Dad shuts down, right, because it's too much for him. And then I shifted to, I just need to help my son learn that it's not his burden to carry, because we can't change how the other person shows up or doesn't. And it's his responsibility on the relationship he'll have with his son. But it's my job to make sure that my son doesn't internalize the feelings that he's having.

Tara McCallam [00:19:02]:
Yeah, it's powerful stuff. I feel like that kind of work enables our kids to have more powerful relationships later on because it stops being, like, a cause and effect all the time. It's like, no, this is just happening over here, and you still have choice. Even as a child, they have choice in how they engage with that action. It's a little harder when they're teeny, but when they get a little older, they have a little bit more power. So I totally agree with you on helping them to not internalize it. But I also found that when I removed that power play that was between me and my ex husband, things calmed down a bit. Not completely, because there were still interesting dynamics.

Erica Bennett [00:19:47]:
Yeah, things shifted. They got a little bit closer. I think he'll tell me the fun things that they do together, but there's still some blocks. But those are their blocks to work out. I think the other child-focused issue that I had a hard time with was the transition home from dad's house. And he'd come home on a Sunday night and my son would get dropped off and we'd be fine. He'd be having a good time and eating dinner and having a snack and watching a cartoon before bed. And then bed would hit and it was like World War Three.

Erica Bennett [00:20:21]:
He's chucking stuff, he's ripping books. He's having these massive meltdowns. And what do you think I did? Dialed up the ex. What did you do? What happened at your house? Because this is fine at my house, this only happens when he comes from your house. So what are you doing to him? In just terms of not abuse terms, but were you too hard on him? Were you too strict on him? Did you not love him enough? Did you ignore him this weekend because something's wrong? And for a while, the ex would answer the phone. He'd try and talk to the then four year old who's having a complete and utter out of body chaos experience, which didn't work.

Erica Bennett [00:21:00]:
And eventually he just said, it's your bad parenting, so deal with it, and hung up and never answered the phone again. So that didn't help us, right? It didn't help me. It didn't help our son. It didn't help my ex. But it was one of the mistakes that I made that I hope that other women, as you're getting through this co-parenting thing, yeah, there's going to be transition issues, but it's now your job to learn how can you reach that child and help them? Even if it's a lot of shit, even if it's a lot more than you want to take on, it doesn't help to go back and blame the other side.

Tara McCallam [00:21:35]:
For sure. And it's a transition. I mean, think about how we feel coming back from a vacation, even. Right. Not to say that the dad's house is a vacation. I'm not correlating that at all. I'm just saying there's a transition and we've learned to regulate our emotions, whereas kids don't have that. I had slightly the opposite.

Tara McCallam [00:21:57]:
It was in the car, especially my youngest. He would just shut down and he would flip out if I asked any questions. And so I had to remind myself, you can't engage even hugs or eye contact, like, you have a period of time in the car. And then once he gets home, he needs to have the freedom to roam and acclimate to a totally different energy, totally different expectations. Foods, you name it, room, clothes. Their whole life changes in that period. And I didn't appreciate it completely. I understood and I stayed with it until. For a long time, I was living in two houses, so I was living in my own.

Tara McCallam [00:22:40]:
And then going for half the week when I didn't have my kids to my partner's house and I had the same thing. I was like, I would be frustrated, like, some of my stuff wasn't there or it just wasn't the same environment. And it would take me a while to acclimate. And I was like, whoa. Here I am, an adult, and I want to cry and scream at times. I didn't. Right? But just all by myself. And here are these kids who they don't always have access, even to the people that they want in those moments, oftentimes.

Tara McCallam [00:23:12]:
Because as parents, consciously or unconsciously, we're like, I want you all to myself during this time. You don't need to reach out. I'm your thing. And maybe they just need their dad or they just need their mom in that moment and they don't know how to deal with that loss.

Erica Bennett [00:23:29]:
Yeah. Before we did mediation, we had to do a parenting class. And in there, they made you think about the kid and they're like, look at the bed is different. The laundry scent is different, the milk is different. Talk about all five senses are sent down a completely different path, and they have to be able to shift between these two worlds. And so that first example, I was like, wow. I came home from that class and I even told my son, I go, I didn't realize how different. That must be really hard for you that it smells different at dad's house than it smells here.

Erica Bennett [00:24:01]:
Because to be honest, I just figured he kept using the same stuff we always used. Why would he change? It was a great product, right? Like, all those things changed. And then the same experience I do right now, live half the week out of my partner's house and half the week out of my house. And I would be constantly frustrated that the thing I needed was in the other house. The clothes I wanted to wear was in the other house. I forgot something at the wrong house. And that was also a really good conversation with my son when I was like, he was older, right? Because now he was, like, eleven, and I was like, wow, I get it. Now I get what it feels like to constantly be living in the space in between and that nothing is ever where you want it to be.

Erica Bennett [00:24:47]:
It's hard and we don't realize it because they're little kids, right? And they're just supposed to flow back and forth.

Tara McCallam [00:24:52]:
Yeah, I think there's some lies to resilience. Like, there's really beautiful things to resilience. And then there's other things that think that we need to have compassion and conversation around, because otherwise it comes out on the other end, which I'm sure you're working with people who have experienced similar things in their childhood, and everybody was like, oh, they're fine. They're resilient. They're just bouncing back, and it's buried in there 100%.

Erica Bennett [00:25:20]:
And even that's a lot of I think about my ex husband, whose parents got divorced, and that abandonment wound that continued to show up throughout our marriage that I didn't realize in the moment, because I'm like, well, you're an adult. That happened to you when you were a kid. But once things started falling apart, you could really see how deeply that wound was interwoven in all the things that he had done because he hadn't done the work right. These things happen. So if you're listening, you're like, oh, my God, my poor Baby. These things happen, right? I truly believe that each little soul chooses its parents, chooses its path. This was meant to be on my son's path, but that means that these are things he needs to grow and evolve through. These conditions that he has were sent here so that he could become who he's supposed to be in this lifetime.

Erica Bennett [00:26:11]:
And so it's not something that holds him back or poor him or that sucks. So you got a different set of conditions, but that ability now to flow between is going to help you. That ability to be aware of people's feelings but know you're not responsible for them is going to help you. All of these things are really hard in the moment, but when you work through them, they can really support you in your life for sure.

Tara McCallam [00:26:37]:
There's an awesome book called The Little Soul and The Sun that speaks to that. It's like a children's book, but not like, picture wise. It's a children's book concept wise, it's totally an aware adult's book. So it's exactly what you were just saying. And it's interesting, I just received an astrology report from somebody yesterday, and she was saying all the things that happened in your life are really because you were meant to be this person. So my parents were divorced, my mom was out of my life when I was four. And then my stepmom was an interesting character and a lot of things. I was emancipated by 15, and she's like, all of that was for you to know your independence to become a compassionate leader.

Tara McCallam [00:27:24]:
And I was like, so much is for us. Right. It's painful, but it really does develop characteristics that we can use in relationship, not just for ourselves, but use in relationship. Powerful.

Erica Bennett [00:27:36]:
What do you think helped you the most in speaking of the relationship, of working with your ex? What helped you shift your mindset to be able to give it some space?

Erica Bennett [00:27:47]:
Because I think that's the hardest part. We all know how we want to work with them. Nobody wants to be stuck in fighting. I even think about the situations where you show up to the conversation with the intent that you want this to be proactive, and something happens and triggers you and spirals you in the other direction. And so if somebody's sitting in that space where they're like, eric, I want this, I keep trying to get this, and it's just not. I keep stepping backwards instead of stepping forwards. Do you have any tricks that you used in those moments to help you move forward or to give them space?

Tara McCallam [00:28:20]:
Yeah. The biggest thing was I was realizing everything that I was doing wasn't working. And if I get really honest, I was trying to be nicer, which sometimes nicer is really just a manipulative way of being. It's like I'm going to sugarcoat. And first of all, they've been married with us, so they can see underneath what your intention is. And so I just stopped believing, trying to get what I wanted, and I started asking questions because I was like, okay, I can lose out. I can lose out. So the question piece was huge.

Tara McCallam [00:28:58]:
Getting curious was huge. And then the third piece, which was, I stopped giving away my trust. And there's, like, emotion that comes up when I say that, because I think I realized maybe a year after we got divorced and our divorce ended in infidelity. And so I felt super betrayed. And I kept thinking, like, how do I not create this again? And then how do I not create this in little ways? And the biggest thing was I betrayed myself first. And I don't mean in what most people would think. Like, oh, you didn't realize the signs, and you ignored the signs. It was, I betrayed myself every single time that I didn't listen to my needs.

Tara McCallam [00:29:41]:
I didn't even check in if I had needs. At a certain point, my needs were so silent because I had put them at the back that I was being treated like I treated myself. I was being treated like an option.

Erica Bennett [00:29:56]:

Tara McCallam [00:29:57]:
And so that shift inside of me, like, I'm going to take care of myself no matter what, also shifted some kind of dynamic with him and everyone else. But more concretely easier for the listeners is ask questions, get curious, and know that they have the option or not to support you. But when you do that and not try to force them or being super nice, I just was kind of neutral all the time. Like, hey, here's what I need. Choose it, don't choose it. Just let me know. I would be so grateful. And then on the other side of neutrality, I wasn't neutral.

Tara McCallam [00:30:36]:
Like, when he would say yes, I was appreciative.

Erica Bennett [00:30:40]:

Tara McCallam [00:30:41]:
And I guess I realized that in trusting my own needs and getting clear and asking the questions, we could have two winners and that I was really always going after two winners. I wanted him to feel like he could show up for me and win, and I wanted to feel like I could walk away with a win without winning over.

Erica Bennett [00:31:07]:
Yeah, I love that.

Erica Bennett [00:31:09]:
And it is.

Erica Bennett [00:31:09]:
You want a win win. You don't want somebody to suffer in this. You at one point, loved this person. Even if there has been a lot of pain and even if there's been betrayal and other things like that, you still hope that everybody moves on, that nobody gets stuck in what this thing is. I agree. I think the questions and the appreciation were key for me as well because I'm really quick to create a story in my head of what his text meant instead of asking questions. And because most of our communication at that point had moved just to text messaging because the live phone conversations didn't go well. So it was literally everything in writing, text or email.

Erica Bennett [00:31:49]:
So now you're already really direct. You don't have emotion. You don't have tone that you're picking up from it. And so then when you're firing it off, it's even shorter. And he'd fire something at me and I'd read it with the wrong intention because I had created what I thought his tone was, what I thought his intention was and that it was leading with, he's just out to use me, abuse me, make me carry all the weight again. He just keeps thinking it doesn't impact anything. And when I started to ask questions about it, instead of the first few years, I would just take it.

Erica Bennett [00:32:23]:

Erica Bennett [00:32:24]:
Oh, he can't take his son on his days, this week. Now I just have to handle it. Now I just have to deal with it. And that was kind of self serving for me, too, to be like, oh, look at me, the martyr. Look at all that I'm doing right. But once I started pushing back in a healthy way, that, hey, that doesn't quite work for me. But what can we create? Because it's not me versus you, it's us versus the problem. We need hours covered with our son, or you need to change because of a work schedule.

Erica Bennett [00:32:55]:
Okay, what can we do to work on that? And then, yes, thanking him when he does little things like, he bought snow boots. Okay, now, is that a normal thing a parent should do? Yes, but thank you so much for taking that off my plate. Thank you for taking care of figuring out snow pants and snow boots. I'll take care of the coat. This helps me out a lot because it can be the smallest thing, but all of those little pieces do help. And so being able to be appreciative.

Tara McCallam [00:33:25]:
Of that for sure, and let it touch you. Right. I think in the beginning I was really good at gratitude, but it was surface-deep and underneath was like this roaring resentment. And so I let the things that he was doing touch me and impact me and my kids. Right. They wanted to see that there wasn't this angst. They wanted to see that those things are appreciated.

Erica Bennett [00:33:50]:
Yeah. Because, again, you guys, it's the kids that get stuck in the middle, and they're so good at hiding it, but they just want to see the two people that they love get along. So the adults have got to put their own stuff to the side and just start operating. If your first steps are operate, pretend just like it's a coworker, maybe one that you don't like so much, but a coworker of. How would you communicate with them? How would you ask for their help on something? How would you work out a solution with them? Right. Any of those sorts of pieces? Because it's each conversation at a time until you look back and you're like, wow, we're like, neutral with each other, which is the win. You guys, neutral is the win.

Tara McCallam [00:34:35]:
It is the win. It is absolutely the win. Yeah. I agree so much.

Erica Bennett [00:34:40]:
I love that. Well, you also have a gift for our listeners, a little treat for them. Do you want to tell them what you have for them?

Tara McCallam [00:34:48]:
Yeah. So it's an online course, but it's really in an online impossibility journal. And so what I say to that is a lot of people feel that little things could be impossible. Big things can be impossible. And so I just walk you through how to create possibilities with anything it might be. I can't stop thinking negative thoughts. Whatever it is, this person's never going to support me. I'm never going to have the financial support that I need in this area of life.

Tara McCallam [00:35:18]:
You just take it and you move into these questions and it starts to move it into a miraculous place. And then the last key to it is really moving into celebration. That piece of appreciation that we just talked about. When you celebrate and you really feel it in the cells of your body, it invokes something from the universe where it's like, I need to show up for this one more and more and more because cellularly they are resonating from this place that says they appreciate what is showing up and they're willing to ask for more and believe that it's possible. So it just takes people through those steps in a really easy manner. And the wild thing is the amount of feedback that I've gotten from people's lives changing in ways that they're not even asking for. It's just because once you go back to that center of you, everything radiates out and a lot of areas of life change.

Erica Bennett [00:36:14]:
I love that. So you guys will have the link for you to be able to go check that out. It'll be listed on www.thecrazyexwivesclub.com under episodes where we have the full transcripts. It's also in all of the show description. So whatever podcast platform you're listening in, just go read the show description. You'll find the link in there. I'll also have all of Tara's information so that you can follow along and check out what she's doing on her side as well. Thank you so much for joining us today, Tara, to share your learning through co-parenting and really the power of space, right? And behaviors.

Erica Bennett [00:36:50]:
Give people the opportunity to show up and wow you, you guys. Miracles do happen. Until next time you guys check out www.thecrazyexwivesclub.com for the group coaching program for the quiz to see what phase you're in. Kind of all of the fun stuff. And don't forget about the merch because everybody needs a good hoodie talking about their crazy status. So until next time, you guys, take care. And that's it.

Erica Bennett [00:37:18]:
Another great episode of the Crazy Ex Wives Club, a podcast for women learning how to heal from their divorce. Tune in next week for more advice and tips to help you figure out life after divorce. And until then, give yourself grace. Do the best you can and know that this is all part of the process.



Learn more about navigating the emotional journey of divorce and all that comes with it.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.