When your co-parent starts attacking you, it can be difficult to stay calm and focused. But if you can keep yourself from giving them an emotional reaction, there are things you can say to diffuse the situation. By using neutral language and staying positive, you can avoid getting into a heated argument.
The reason the high-conflict co-parent seeks to get an emotional rise from you is to gain power and control over your emotional state. When they watch you come unglued this boosts their ego and gives internal satisfaction.
The high-conflict co-parent generally suffers from unresolved childhood wounds and insecurities they project onto the co-parenting relationship. Until they face their deep issues they may continuously attempt to push your buttons. The only way to cease this behavior is to no longer play into their antics.
Here are six phrases that will help you keep your inner peace when you’re coparent attempts provokes you:
1. Them: "You’re A Liar"
You: "These Are The Facts And It’s Up To You If You Want To Accept The Truth"
When someone calls you a liar it could be because they don’t want to accept responsibility for their actions and flip the script on you or because they refuse to accept the facts of the matter. When dealing with a challenging personality facts will become your best friend to save your own mental health.
2. Them: "You’re Clearly Wrong"
You: "It Seems We This Issue Very Differently"
The narcissist needs to feel like they are winning at all times. This is generally why they create power struggles. When someone is constantly trying to counter you it’s best to remove yourself from the power struggle and let them know you can agree to disagree.
3. Them: "You’re Still Crazy"
You: "Thanks For Sharing Your Perspective"
When a coparent call their ex crazy 9 out of 10 times they probably created toxic behaviors to provoke an emotional reaction of their ex only to deem them as “crazy”. This is a classic form of gaslighting. Validate they can have a perspective removes the impact they wanted it to have on you.
4. Them: "You’re The Worst Parent"
You: "I’m Not Sure How This Benefits The Kids"
An insecure coparent will attempt to one-up the other coparent on a regular basis or try to make them look bad. This is because they truly know deep down you are probably the better parent than them and it makes them feel unsettled that it’s not as easy for them.
5. Them: "You’re A Loser"
You: "Looks like you're having a bad day. Let's talk about this when we can respectful."
The high-conflict coparent doesn’t love themself deep down. On the surface, they may seem like they have the best life ever, but they typically suffer from feelings worthlessness and emptiness. Their depressive feelings boil inside and no matter how much they try to put a band-aid on their ego with the gratification of shopping, a new partner, car, etc. they still are unhappy. This statement is often a self-projection of their own beliefs onto you. Because if they can make you feel awful for just one second, it’s one second they feel better about themselves.
6. Them: "You’re So Controlling And Need Things Your Way"
You: "This What Is In The Best Interest Of The Children"
A counter coparent will seem like they always need to have control. When they aren’t getting their way then they may attempt to flip the script if they know saying you’re controlling is your Achilles heel. Finding your weaknesses is how they make power moves for their own gain of wanting things to be their way. Diverting the conversation back to the children removes their chess move and takes the focus off of you.
Coparenting is a difficult job, especially if you and your co-parent don't get along. Oftentimes, one parent's parenting style clashes with the other's - resulting in arguments that can escalate into full-blown conflicts or disagreements. It’s important to remember that no matter how frustrated you may be feeling at any given moment, it won’t make things better for anyone if you react out of anger or frustration. The best way to keep your inner peace when coparenting is by setting boundaries on what triggers an argument and finding ways to manage those situations before they happen. If this sounds like something you could benefit from, we would love to talk about it further! Give us a call today.