Toxic Co-Parenting: How To Recognize A Toxic Ex (Part 1)

Poisonous exes make life after divorce very hard, and moving on almost impossible.


Divorce is hard. Sometimes though, it can be made even harder by an ex who poisons their children against the other parent. This is usually done out of spite and a desire for revenge, and the consequences can be devastating.


It is important to recognize, however, when you’re dealing with a toxic ex and when you are not. Disagreements between exes are normal and to be expected. Sometimes these disagreements seem easily triggered and overwhelming. This most likely means that you and your ex have some major communication obstacles to overcome, not that one of you is necessarily “toxic”.


No one can control what an ex-spouse says and does in front of your children. It’s important to remember that and make peace with it. However, while this can sometimes lead to frustrations and disagreements, it can be a serious problem when it is done with the intention of turning your children against you. So when an ex really is toxic, it’s important to recognise what is happening before it gets out of hand.


A toxic co-parent, by definition, is a former spouse who attempts to turn the thoughts and feelings of their children against the other parent. Tools like bad-mouthing, blaming, and other forms of manipulation are used to achieve this terrible result and, if successful, can have catastrophic results that can ruin relationships for life.


With that in mind, we have put together a list of pointers to look for when you and your ex seem unable to make your co-parenting agreements work, and you are wondering if you are now stuck with a toxic ex. These are signs to watch for, that may indicate a toxic ex-spouse.


They Refuse To Respect Your Privacy

They don’t recognize the end of the marriage as the end of their constant involvement in your personal life. They want to know what you are doing, who you are doing it with and where you are while you do it. Some curiosity is normal. Too much can border on an unhealthy obsession.


They Interfere With Any New Relationships You Form

They can’t stand the idea that you may have moved on and made a new life without them. They want to remain at the center of your world, even if it is only in a negative way – the old “bad attention is better than no attention at all” concept. This can go as far as acting out against a new partner in your life in an attempt to frighten them away and damage the relationship.


They Use Your Children As Pawns In The Fight Against You

This is where things can get dangerous. It is one thing to have a “crazy” ex who makes your life miserable, but when your ex is willing to cause emotional and psychological damage to their own children in order to “get even” with you, this can be devastating. Using the children to spy on your activities and report back, or bad-mouthing you to the kids so that they feel conflicted in their love for you and eventually push you away is a classic sign of a toxic ex at work.


Join us next time as we look at the rest of the list. Until then, if you have questions about any aspect of family law, including child custody, divorce, parenting time, paternity and even personal protection orders, we are here for you. Call the highly skilled family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We are available 24/7 to help you work through your difficult family times.