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  • tips for co-parenting with abusive ex.

    It seems that this section of the forum is not particularly active.

    I am in need of some advice.

    Separated March 2021 - he moved out June 2021. 4 children.
    Abusive marriage - fortunately the children never saw the abuse.
    I did not speak of the abuse for many many years to anyone. I finally spoke of it a few months before I left and the two friends I told were horrified and wanted me to leave. One of my friends who is a lawyer told me that there are a lot of false allegations of abuse in separations and that I needed to collect evidence of the abuse. I did exactly that. There is no possibility of anyone saying that so am falsely accusing. I have hard objective evidence.

    I am no longer at any type of risk from him. I am not addressing the abuse in criminal court, it is being addressed as a civil matter.

    Where I am at now: I am working on myself doing hard work to recover to the woman I was before the abuse. I’m getting better daily.

    Though in my mind I sometimes have thoughts of how much I despise him, I remind myself not to paint him with one brush. I remind myself of his strengths and the things that he is good at.

    Does anyone who has been through DV have any tips on what the best way to co parent with a former abuser?

  • #2
    You can search ionas posts. She is struggling to co-parent with an abusive ex. I havent seen many women on here who have talked about this. Mostly dads who have been falsely accused.

    Best advice is get an iron clad agreement and hope for the best.

    Comment


    • #3
      There are a lot of different types of abuse and a lot of different types of people that do it for varying reasons. No one shoe fits everyone. So anyone giving you anything but general advice without knowing more is doing you a disservice.

      Someone could have been a very poor spouse and a good parent. Some people change but don't fall for that "they have changed"; you need to keep your distance forever. It would be very rare where close contact is warranted again and even then a professional would guide that.

      Things that work in all situations:
      -keeping all communication via traceable email. Do not have verbal conversations.

      -do exchanges via school. One parent drops off, another picks up.

      -follow the court order

      -don't let the ex on your doorstep and vice versa while you are about and never unannounced.


      Without the details of what you have already done and what type of person you and your ex are, details on the kids and the difficulties with your ex everyone would just be guessing. Counselling helps a Parenting Coordinator may help, a forum is not a good place for counselling but is OK for tactics or strategy.

      Most of all "don't be a victim" Nothing you can do about what happened, you decided not to take further legal action. Learn how to not be angry over it or dwell on it because as long as you do you it lowers your quality of life. It was an experience. A bad experience but still an experience.

      Getting through the divorce process at a good pace is going to help a lot once it is over. From what I recall you can afford counselling so definitely do that, you may need to find a few to find a good one.

      good luck.
      Last edited by pinkHouses; 05-11-2022, 02:35 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        In my experience. You can't. You have to- but you're not co-parenting. You're parallel parenting if you have joint custody. And someone will give in.

        This idea that you can be an abusive partner but a great parent is a fallacy in my in-no-way-an-expert opinion. Abusive/controlling and manipulative people rarely make great parents.

        What they do have is a right to see their kids- and more importantly the kid(s) has a right to a relationship with their parent. So that's what you do- you facilitate their relationship in way that is safe and as healthy as can be for your kids.

        And the rest of the time you spend lots and LOTS of time getting your mind right (yay therapy)- to prep yourself for parenting with an asshole.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by iona6656 View Post
          And the rest of the time you spend lots and LOTS of time getting your mind right (yay therapy)- to prep yourself for parenting with an asshole.
          Getting your mind right is key when you co-parent or parallel parent with another parent who is high conflict, narcissist, or petty. Don't be surprised by anything, and learn to expect the opposite of what you thought co-parenting would be like. Get prepared for petty behaviour, and learn to not let it get to you.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a self imposed rule that I don’t respond to any correspondence from him until 24 hrs has passed. And if I need to unpack it with my therapist first I do so - and then I just respond saying “I have read this and will respond in a thorough and well thought out way within a few days”

            Obviously I respond to urgent and scheduling related stuff quickly.

            I am trying lately to find things about him that are strengths - things that enhance the kids lives… trying to shift my mindset. I look forward to when I am simply indifferent. One step at a time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Islandmom one more thing I would add is to trust your instincts. You know your ex better than your lawyer ever will. Your 24 hour rule sounds like a wise thing to do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Islandmom View Post
                I have a self imposed rule that I don’t respond to any correspondence from him until 24 hrs has passed. And if I need to unpack it with my therapist first I do so - and then I just respond saying “I have read this and will respond in a thorough and well thought out way within a few days”

                Obviously I respond to urgent and scheduling related stuff quickly.

                I am trying lately to find things about him that are strengths - things that enhance the kids lives… trying to shift my mindset. I look forward to when I am simply indifferent. One step at a time.
                All of this sounds good.

                Does your therapist have experience dealing with women leaving abusive marriages? It's important in more ways than you realize.

                One thing from my own experience is that a lot of time you want to divorce who they were as a husband from who they are as a father. I grew up in a pretty messed up dynamic- based in a toxic culture (maybe you did too by your handle- the caribbean culture)....so I also thought "well- they could be a real shitty husband but great dad". Yeah.....that's not really true. We want to believe our incredibly shitty ex partners can step and be the dad our kids deserve. I don't think that is what really happens.

                Abusers are the way they are because of who they are. Who they are also translates to how they show up as a parent.

                What I'm saying is get ready to extricate (when necessary) and help your kids as they have to navigate a relationship with your ex.

                With my daughter's dad- that's probably going to happen when she goes through puberty and doesn't' conform to his ideal of femininity- modelled by his mom and sister who martyred themselves for their husbands.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am struggling. Lawyer sent me for an assessment and I have been diagnosed with PTSD which I didn’t actually think I would meet the criteria for.

                  I have spoken to him twice recently in person and it leaves me having panic attacks for days and makes me physically ill and unable to eat. When we are talking he turns things around and it makes me feel like I’m crazy. I was trying to speak with him face to face because I know that a cooperative coparenting relationship is better but I don’t know if I’ll be able to(the abuse which I have evidence of if pretty horrific). I am getting help but wish I could fast forward through this. I am wondering if all communication going through a parenting coordinator will be helpful.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'd focus on your recovery. And if communicating with him in person triggers you, then I'd wait until your ready and maybe that wont ever happen. Can you communicate via email? I think a parenting coordinator is an excellent idea if you can afford it.

                    Hopefully Iona will chime in, she endured an abusive marriage and used a parenting coordinator.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      All narrative aside a properly selected third party professional / parenting coordinator in this case helps people obtain an objective opinion when they are uncertain or oblivious of their behaviour.



                      PTSD will send a person on the bad behaviour and bad decision route; it is a lesser lifestyle. Talk to a psychologist about therapy like CBT.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Islandmom View Post
                        I am struggling. Lawyer sent me for an assessment and I have been diagnosed with PTSD which I didn’t actually think I would meet the criteria for.

                        I have spoken to him twice recently in person and it leaves me having panic attacks for days and makes me physically ill and unable to eat. When we are talking he turns things around and it makes me feel like I’m crazy. I was trying to speak with him face to face because I know that a cooperative coparenting relationship is better but I don’t know if I’ll be able to(the abuse which I have evidence of if pretty horrific). I am getting help but wish I could fast forward through this. I am wondering if all communication going through a parenting coordinator will be helpful.
                        I'm so sorry you are going through this.

                        I was diagnosed with PTSD as well- and like you I was really kinda shocked when I met the criteria. lol. I had to work on all kindsa stuff like 'fear release' etc.

                        Unfortunately there's no real way to fast-forward through the therapy work. 4 years on- and sometimes I'm still triggered by having to deal with my ex because of our daughter. But the recovery time after gets shorter. One thing I did was have a few trusted friends + my sister who I speak with after a particularly hard encounter. It helps.

                        As to your last question- ABSOLUTELY 100% YES to the parenting coordinator. My ex doesn't like it - but we're back seeing our co-parent therapist and I find it helps so much. My ex and I will never have a decent co-parenting relationship. I've accepted that. BUT- having our co-parent therapist help us (really me) through the hard conversations is great. I also think it helps because my ex will listen to her- because she's not me.
                        Last edited by iona6656; 07-29-2022, 11:38 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Take a look. Its in a book.

                          https://www.highconflictinstitute.com/store

                          There is extensive professionally written material about how to deal with high conflict situations and people. Best to turn to professionals and not anonymous forums where people have silly fake names.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tayken View Post
                            Take a look. Its in a book.

                            https://www.highconflictinstitute.com/store

                            There is extensive professionally written material about how to deal with high conflict situations and people. Best to turn to professionals and not anonymous forums where people have silly fake names.
                            honestly reading about it- and experiencing it are so different. Especially because with situations of abuse- there are are so many weird power dynamics at play. I really think the best course of action is individual therapy + a neutral third party PC if it's available to the parties- cause shit, co-parent counsellors/therapists are not cheap.

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