You are not the first person to find yourself attempting to raise strong, confident, loving children with someone you feel is crazy. I’ve noticed some patterns in high-conflict co-parenting. Here are 8 common traps that co-parents get stuck in and some tools for getting through them.
It seems everyone is discovering that all along they were, in fact, married to a narcissist. I’m not sure how that happened, but I will acknowledge I notice a lot of self-centered behaviors in people going through crisis. Along the way, I’ve learned some tricks that help me work with people who are exhibiting narcissistic behaviors. These tricks may also be helpful when dealing with former partners.
As I wrapped up a particularly emotional mediation recently, I urged my clients to take good care of themselves and to make an effort to heal and restore in the subsequent weeks. This is more than an encouraging platitude at the end of a tough session. I often say this to people in the course of separation or intense co-parenting disputes because their circumstances are traumatic. Literally. Intense fighting, being left by the person you have built a trusting relationship with, losing daily contact with your children or financial and legal anxieties create trauma that gets stored in the body. And that can come back to haunt us individually and in our co-parenting relationship for years if we don’t address it.
The woman I spoke with the other day called to see if mediation would be appropriate for her. She had just received a blow. In the course of her delicate discussions with her husband about a trial separation, she learned he was hiding an affair and the costs- both financial and emotional- blindsided her. She realized in that moment that he probably was not considering this a trial separation.