Are you constantly questioning yourself? Do you feel like no matter what you say, your co-parent finds a way to flip the script and blame you for the exact thing they are guilty of?
When a co-parent is coercively controlling, it means that they are using tactics that involve threats, intimidation, or force to make you comply with their wishes, even if you don’t want to. This can include verbal attacks, physical actions, financial abuse, or emotional manipulation.
The coercive controlling co-parent will use projection as a defense mechanism where they deny their own negative traits or behaviors and instead falsely accuse you of their behaviors. In this case, a co-parent who is being manipulative may accuse you of the tactics they are using on you. This is their victim mentality playing out to protect their ego.
The CCC (Coercively Controlling Co-parent) will at all costs deny, deflect, gaslight, withhold, weaponize, create circular conversations, and avoid responsibility for their actions. It's important to recognize these behaviors and set boundaries to protect yourself from being manipulated or coerced.
Here are 9 signs you may have a CCC:
Refusing to communicate or cooperate: A coercive co-parent may refuse to communicate with you and stonewall for power, or only communicate through hostile or passive-aggressive means.
Using the children as pawns: They may use the children to control or manipulate you, such as by withholding access or threatening to keep them from you until you cave into their demands.
Making unilateral decisions: A coercive co-parent may make important decisions without consulting with you, such as scheduling activities or medical appointments without notifying the co-parent.
Engaging in power struggles: They may try to engage in power struggles with you and provoke you so you’ll react. They want you to appear emotional or out of control so they can be seen as the "better" parent. They may also undermine your parenting in front of the kids to prove they have the authority, not you.
Using disparaging comments about you to the children: A coercive co-parent may criticize or belittle you in front of the children because they are envious or jealous of your relationship with the children. They believe belittling you is the only way they can build a connection with the children due to their own insecurities. Not only is this parentification of the child but is also emotional manipulation of the children and creates enmeshment with the CCC.
Filing false allegations: They may make false allegations against you, such as accusing you of abuse or neglect, in order to gain an advantage in custody battles.
Violating court orders: A CCC may violate court orders or custody agreements because they believe they are above the law and will take advantage of any situation they can.
Blames you for problems in the co-parenting relationship: A CCC may blame you for any problems in the co-parenting relationship, rather than taking responsibility for their own actions. They do this to project and deflect from their issues in an attempt to silence you so they don’t lose control. They attempt to guilt you into being subordinate.
Running up high bills: A CCC might run up large bills for school clothing and supplies, extracurricular equipment and gear, etc without consulting with you and then coerce you into paying for half. They may also drag out the custody process so you have an exorbitant bill with your attorney as a way to punish you and financially bankrupt you.
If you suspect that you are co-parenting with a coercively controlling co-parent, it's essential to seek support and guidance from a co-parenting coach with a background in psychology, a family law attorney, or a mediator to help you navigate the situation and protect your rights as a parent.
Coercive control cases can sometimes be challenging to prove, especially when it is psychological or emotional abuse. The family court system is just beginning to recognize these types of personalities and their manipulation tactics. We help assist our clients in building out their cases to protect their parental rights and prove the abuse of the CCC. If you need assistance, please schedule a consult here.