They usually mean well, those parents. The ones who had a reasonably mild, amicable divorce from their ex, and are able to put “differences” and “egos” aside for their children’s sake. They have adult discussions, after all. They (sometimes) share their new lives with each other. They make decisions together. They equally, fairly, logically determine the well-being of their offspring. They co-parent.
Many times those parents — and outsiders — think EVERY parent should be able to do what they’re doing—if only they’d set their minds to it, stop being so selfish, and put the kids first. But it’s not always so easy, so cut-and-dry, is it?
Because where does this leave the woman who shares custody with her kids’ dad, who in fact is her former abuser?
It can leave her shamed by others who just don’t understand all she’s been through—let alone all that could STILL go wrong if she doesn’t maintain boundaries or avoid certain pitfalls with her manipulative ex—and perhaps it leaves her feeling a little guilty, too, because she simply doesn’t have the luxury of “co-parenting.”
Shame and judgment have no place. Guilt has no place. In a post-abuse dynamic, a mom and survivor has to do what’s best for her, which indeed is what’s best for her kids in the long run.
Visit my advocacy page, Breaking the Silence for Women, on Facebook.