Many Illinois couples who have gone through a divorce are now co-parenting. Some people are dealing with an ex-spouse who is a narcissist or a toxic person. In order to successfully co-parent with a difficult ex-spouse, a person will have to put their children first and maintain their own personal integrity.
Before going into a situation where a person will communicate with a toxic co-parent, they need to realize that there are certain things they cannot change. They will not be able to change the co-parent no matter how much they would like to. They also need to understand that there are certain patterns of communication or triggers that can escalate situations. Steering clear of these situations can empower and protect a co-parent.
When a person shares custody of their children with a toxic ex-spouse, they need to remember that they have the power and the right to choose the way and the time when they will engage with the ex-spouse. Responding to a situation once a person is calm is much better than reacting in the moment. They can sleep on their response or discuss the situation with a friend before engaging with their ex.
It is also important to remember that they do not need to respond to everything. Some ex-spouses are simply pushing a person’s buttons in order to bait them. Staying focused on parenting and not hashing out a failed marriage can keep the situation much more controlled.
A toxic ex-spouse may cause a co-parent to worry that joint child custody is not in the child’s best interests. A person may decide to contact an attorney to learn about child custody modification and if it is possible to get full custody. An attorney may be able to represent their client in court if necessary.