You feel relieved to divorce your hostile spouse, but the two of you must raise your shared child. How do you take care of your son or daughter without losing your sanity?
Psychology Today offers tips for parenting with an antagonistic person. Understand how to do right by your children without unnecessary sacrifice or harm to your mental health.
Separate yourself from the hostility
While the hostility may continue, remember that your marriage does not. As a co-parent, you need only talk with your ex or soon-to-be-ex to discuss your child and her or his needs. If conversations become antagonistic, try not to take the situation personally or internalize it. Instead, brush the hostility aside and focus on your child’s well-being. You need not share details of your personal life or emotions with your former partner.
If you did not have boundaries in your marriage or the divorce, consider establishing some now. That means keeping all phone conversations, text messages, emails and other forms of communication focused on advocating for and taking care of your children. If your former spouse tries to find out about your personal life or anything unrelated to your children, cut the conversation short. You may also refuse to speak with your ex if she or he cannot communicate civilly.
Focus on your goals
You must have a plan when communicating with a hostile co-parent. Before every conversation, think about your goal. That way, if your ex brings up the past or tries to antagonize you, you may remind yourself why you started the conversation.
You cannot change your former partner’s disposition, but you can change how you respond to it. The right tips help you leave hostility in the past where it belongs.