This coparenting-with-your-abuser thing is probably the gnarliest, most all-consuming challenge of your life.
But I want you to know it’s not a competition. Your abuser is behaving as though it is, but it’s not.
Let them carry on in such a way. You can back down, mama. You don’t have to answer their call by engaging and participating, and you have nothing to prove to them. Zero. Especially when it comes to empty materialism—likely their only effort toward “parenting.”
Your job, since you can’t control what they do or don’t do, even if/when there’s a court order, is to keep your eye on the long game.
Your abuser, conversely, lives in the moment and craves immediate leverage and instant gratification. Don’t get caught up in that. It’s not what builds long-term stability or a successful, authentic bond with our youth.
No, the long game — the ultimate goal — is educating and healing yourself, cultivating peace and happiness in your new life, and growing your kids up right despite and around the tests this life serves you.
Plus, guess what you DO control?
> how your household operates
> what love and stability look like
> whether or not you put your kids first
> your boundaries and standards
> how you let others (including your abuser) make you feel
> creating a safe space for your kids
> helping them navigate their other parent’s world, and learn boss coping skills
> showing them what a real, loving, selfless parent does and says and provides
> providing a solid foundation and true bond with them
Try not to get caught up in the smoke and mirrors your ex displays.
The kids may in the short-term… it’s a natural flow of the dynamic.
Try to shake that shit off. Focus on you. Love and prioritize your kids and their overall well-being.
They will figure the truth out over time, and when they do, guess who they’ll fully understand was there for them, in the right ways, all along?
Pictured: A note my now-19yo daughter left out for me to find some years back. I don’t remember what specifically was happening in our days then, what prompted her encouragement, but she was already aware.
Even when they’re sifting through their own triggers and traumas, and even when they don’t understand all that’s at work in the coparenting dynamic, they know our hearts, our priorities, and our love.
Don’t for a second think you’re not doing or being enough. You’ve got this, mama.
And you’re doing better than you think.