It’s unfortunate that coparenting is not always a happy time, regardless of the effort you put in. It is also very unfortunate that the mental well-being of a child can be severely impacted when there is a parent or parents that refuses to work cooperatively because of bitterness, animosity or simply just personal issues. The court systems can’t always pinpoint mental imbalances such as borderline personality disorder or narcissism. Which leaves children placed in circumstances that cause emotional trauma. Mom or dad may not look harmful on paper because of no criminal history, but mentally they are not always fit.
We all know mental deficiencies are harmful as well. The toxicity of a parent can be just as harmful as an absent parent, if not worse. Those parents spend time putting the child down to hurt the parent. Using the child as a way to gain power over the other parent. Unnecessary competition. Using miscommunication to keep distance between the child and other parent. Using new spouses as a way to create scenarios of jealousy. The unfortunate part is so many narcissistic and toxic parents behave as if they have done nothing wrong. They refuse to acknowledge their behaviors. Most of them grew up with dysfunctional relationships with their parents so they are incapable of having a normal healthy one with their own children.
There are 3 things you must do. First, before you do those things remember that you are not crazy. Abusers, whether physically or mentally will always say you are overreacting or that there is something wrong with you. Ignore that!
1. The best thing to do when coparenting with a toxic person is to set your expectations realistically. Yes, normally coparenting with a normal parent will be better and better if the effort is put in on both sides. However, with a parent who refuses or has the mental inability to cooperate, there will rarely be compromise. Unless the compromise benefits them. Usually their main goal is to despite you. They don’t look at the benefit of the child it is all about them. Their mission is to destroy you publicly and how you view yourself because they think so low about their own self.
2. Secondly, focus on you. You will look crazy arguing with them because they will always try to twist your words or make simple requests into something bigger. Toxic parents are bitter beings who need help. You have to pray that they get the help they need, but focus on your parenting. Do not stress yourself arguing with them because it’s a no win.
3. Lastly, sit down and help to de-stress your child. Children will more than likely be stressed, confused or even hostile when they come back from parents that spew negative vibes. Allow your children to understand that they did nothing wrong. Let them vent any frustrations, but encourage them to keep being happy and doing the best that they can. Don’t talk down the parent. Encourage your child to see the good traits in their parent and set out prayer intentions for their relationship to strengthen and evolve. Good luck!!!