Divorce is hard. It’s never easy and it’s even harder when you have children. Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences a person can go through. We get married and we are full of hope for our new life as a married couple, we gain great excitement through sharing our journey with the one person we love.
We enter marriage not knowing what to expect, and we all know each individual marriage is different, and that there will be different obstacles for each couple to overcome that exists within each relationship.
It would be naive to think that any marriage will be easy.
The reality is not all marriages last, and divorce can cause more heartbreak than being married caused, more so if you share children. Sharing children means the other parent, in most cases, is always going to be in your life, and you will always have some sort of relationship which in turn means you will never be able to get away from the behaviors that caused the divorce.
Unfortunately, this is where children can become victims, because of parental control. Children are unable to see this occurring because they are young and immature and it can be devastating to the other parent to see their children being manipulated. It’s heartbreaking to see your child being used as a pawn and there is often nothing that can be done about it. If we start retaliating we are doing exactly what they are doing and leaving our children confused.
The best thing to do is to allow our children to talk to us and correct any wrongs without also trying to manipulating our children. In time our children will start to see what’s happening, we just need to keep their lives as normal as possible.
Show them we love them, provide them with security and stability that allows them to relax. We also have to keep focused on our own lives as well, and do things for our own enjoyment because if we are happy and in an emotionally stable place, our children will feed off that energy giving them a sense of contentment, allowing them to grow, and become aware of the manipulation and subsequently, become more aware of their own feelings and different emotions as well.
We have to realise that we can’t control our ex and what they say and do emotionally to our children. It may take time but the truth always comes out and as our children mature they will become more and more self-aware.
Once your marriage is over, you need to try your best to become emotionally detached. If you go forward treating your ex like a business, you’ll see that in time things will start to get a lot easier.
Here are a few suggestions to help you treat your ex like a business:
1. Get your finances separated and sorted as soon as possible.
2. Limit communication with your ex.
3. Keep your ex involved in your children’s lives, at home, and academically.
4. Keep communication documented, if possible only communicate in writing, by email or text. This can then be reviewed by your legal team and used as evidence if required.
5. Never write a correspondence when you are angry. Calm yourself down before you write. Reread everything before you send it, double-check to see if you’ve included all the necessary information, and stay focused on the children. If your ex responds with an attack, do not attack them back, and respond only if there are points regarding the children that need to be addressed.
6. Try and say very little when you are face-to-face with your ex. Stay cordial.
7. Educate yourself on your ex’s manipulative tactics. You becoming aware of them is a big advantage.
8. If you have a schedule in place, implemented informally or by the courts, stick to it. Don’t chop and change, it could be held against you in future proceedings.
9. Unless it’s something serious don’t tell your ex how to parent, this allows your children to see them for who they really are. Just be patient.
10. Remember that the children are not to blame. They love both parents and the last thing they need is for their parents to be fighting over them.
11. Respect their time with the children.
12. When you don’t have the children do things that make YOU happy. Get a hobby, meet friends and in time maybe start dating. This also shows your ex he can’t manipulate you anymore.
When a marriage and family fall apart we can get so focused on hate, blame and fear that it can consume us. It takes valuable time and energy away from self-healing and more importantly, our children who are suffering to the adjustments also.
We divorce someone for a reason, try and remember why and use that to help us focus on regaining control of our lives again. It’s hard to hear but only you can allow your ex’s actions to make you feel unhappy and a victim. Try to keep a positive mindset, focus on the good things you can now concentrate on.
When we take care of our own individual needs it comes across to our children as being happy and in control, therefore, we are giving our children a positive model to follow.
We may not like our ex’s anymore however, we have to remember and respect the fact that our children love them and they are the other parent. When we are fighting children feel pressured to take sides, and this is an unfair pressure for us as parents to put onto our children. We shouldn’t want to make our children feel guilty for loving a person we hate.
Allow your children to have their relationship with your ex, all you can do is be there for them, support them and guide them the best way you can, and when and if the day comes that your children realise what type of person your ex is, be there to comfort them, and if they ask questions always be honest. This will create unconditional bonds that will strengthen your relationship between you and your children and above all always show them how much you really love them.
FAQs About Co-parenting With An Ex Who Manipulates Children:
What to expect after I get married?
What you expect from your marriage may be totally different from what life brings your way. You are overjoyed at the excitement of sharing your life with your loved one and vow to stay together ‘till death do us apart’. Understand that there will be challenges in your marriage, which would require patience, understanding, communication and forgiveness. Marriage is a partnership and requires conscious efforts to keep it going.
What does it mean to share children with an ex?
Sharing children with an ex means that you would have to keep some sort of relationship with your former spouse even after divorce. It means facing somewhat the sort of problems that led to your divorce in the first place.
Can my ex manipulate children?
You will be surprised to find out how many parents manipulate their children to control, abuse and torment their ex spouses. Children are often used as a pawn because they can be easily influenced and emotionally manipulated against the other parent. You will end up confusing children if you try to do the same.
What should I do if my ex is manipulating children?
Your best option is to listen to your children, understand their perspective and try correcting it without being curt, frustrated or dismissive. If you succeed in doing just that, your children would start to see the truth and reject the manipulation and deception. Make your children feel secure, loved and comfortable for the sake of their future and well-being.
How do I make my kids realize that they are being manipulated?
It’s important for you to work on your emotional and physical health if you want to make your kids realize that they are being manipulated by your ex spouse. You should enjoy your life and keep happy because happiness is contagious. When your children see and absorb that positive energy, they would reflect it too in their interaction and relationships. They would be able to process their own feelings and emotions rationally and tell the truth from manipulation.
How to take care of the household after divorce?
You need to have a plan in place to keep finances flowing in to take care of your household after divorce. It may require you to separate your finances as soon as possible. Also, keep your ex spouse involved in your children’s lives, besides limiting documenting your communication with him. It’s advisable to stop talking to your ex in person and communicate via email or text instead if he has a history of abusive behavior.
Should I write to my ex to express my anger?
Never express your anger while writing to your ex to avoid having it used against you as evidence. You should make sure that you are at ease with yourself before you sit down to write anything to him. Read, reread and make sure that you’re being brief and have made the topic clear without any tinge of anger. If your ex has attacked you in any way, refuse to go down the same path.
How do I keep a working relationship with a manipulative ex?
When you are dealing with a manipulative ex, you should always keep in mind his tactics. You should keep a cool head and refuse to play on his pitch, where he can get the better of you. Refuse to deviate from any court ordered schedule for visitation, otherwise, it will be used against you as evidence. Be patient if you don’t agree with his parenting style—your children need to see him for who he is!
What should I do when my kids are with my ex?
You should get a hobby or meet with friends when you feel lost without kids during their visit to your ex spouse. Another interesting occupation is dating, which can also make up for the time when your children are with your ex. However, keep in mind that your children are not to be blamed in any way for visiting their dad and that you need to be responsible while dating.
Should I talk my children into taking my side instead of my ex?
You should not do or say anything to make your children take sides when it comes to an argument or discord between you and your ex spouse. Children will respect you in turn for respecting their right to spend time with the other parent. It’s important to understand that children are not part of the conflict between your and your ex and that they love both parents equally.
What will change when marriage is over?
Everything from your social status to how you feel changes when your marriage is over. You may find yourself protecting yourself from the person, who you once considered as your protector. You feel that you no longer know each other and fear what else life might take away from you.
Should I take care of my joint account in divorce?
One of the most important things to do in divorce is to take care of joint accounts during divorce. Women have been robbed of their share of the joint accounts as their exes had taken lead in cancelling their credit cards and accounts closed.
Can my car be taken away if I am divorcing?
Beware, you can lose the car you have been driving during divorce without a warning, especially if it is not in your name or registered in a company’s name.
What is it like to stay at the family house during divorce?
You will feel as if you have been stuck in a place between divorce and life if you get to stay in your family home during divorce. How about remaining with the very person you are trying to get away from through divorce? It’s like a nightmare that keeps repeating itself until the court reaches a decision.
Can money in joint accounts be withheld if I am divorcing?
Don’t be surprised if you run out of money to buy even tampons during divorce. Many women find themselves financially stranded after money is withheld during divorce. Lawyers would tell you that it could probably take months before they could appear before a judge on your behalf to have the money released.