Preparing to face an ex-partner who is a narcissistic abuser can be a very triggering event. The stress, unrelenting worry, and very real anxiety that are stirred up prior to these meetings can be as difficult as the event itself.
If you are co-parenting with an ex-partner who was/is controlling and manipulative, there may still be times that warrant a conversation or communication regarding minor children despite all efforts to/ maintain “no contact or limited contact”. This can be extremely difficult.
It is best to keep these conversations to the point with a clear objective in mind.
In the example that follows, your objective is to get your child to baseball try-outs. You may have to accept the fact that you are the one who may be driving your son/daughter despite the custody arrangement.
Having these conversations via text or email can be useful for later reference.
For example, try-outs for spring soccer teams are occurring on this date and at this time. Your son/daughter is with the ex during that time. You can offer choices.
Clear, concise, and calm. Soccer tryouts are on _____ at ______ time at _____ field located at ________. Daughter/son is with you during that time. Son/daughter feels that these tryouts are very important. She/he wants to attend. Would you be willing to ___________ at _______?
I know. This isn’t fair right? Why should you have to reframe your communication in a kind way with options to someone who abused, lied, and manipulated you?
The reality is you want to achieve your objective. Being clear with yourself on that point is critical.
Having these conversations in a clear, calm, and direct manner is crucial. Not getting hooked into the distractions, insults, and triggers is a tremendous challenge. However, preparing for these communications with breathing and mindfulness tools provide support in lowering the chronic stress that may continue to inhabit the body and the mind.
Reminding yourself that you are doing your best for your children is critical. Even in the end, if the outcome is not what you had hoped for, making the attempts for the sake of…. is a step towards recovery. It takes tremendous courage. Tell yourself, “ I am brave.” You are. Remember that.