Do you know we have 'scripts' for how we expect others to act? Think about the last conversation you had, with your co-parent or with anyone else. When you went into that conversation, you had an idea of how the person you were talking to would react, right?
The same thing happens with our co-parents. We go into conversations with them with an expectation of how it will turn out. For most of us, that expectation is that they will either: get defensive, attack us or completely shut down. Obviously none of those help, so what happens when we go into the conversation with that as our expectation? Don't we change what we're going to say in order to avoid the defensiveness, the attacks and the withdrawal?
Personally, I've gone into conversations in a defensive way because I feel like I'm going to be attacked in them. That hasn't helped at all. This isn't a magic pill, but if you're going into conversations with your co-parent (or any toxic person) in a negative way, try changing how you go into it and see what the outcome is.
In the next few days, I'll post some of the toxic personality types and the best ways to handle them! For now, though, know that you have a lot of power in the way communication happens. We can't change the other person, but we can change how we are with them! Change starts with us and isn't that a great feeling to know that we're taking a stand to be the positive example for our kids?
Don't forget about the upcoming Co-Parenting Course! Click on the Take Action page to learn more!
Karen Becker is an author, speaker and personal growth coach. She has a Master's Degree in Counseling and applies these skills when coaching clients. She has years of experience coaching clients in all areas of life: parenting, co-parenting after divorce and in personal growth/wellness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.