10 Signs of a Healthy, Effective Co-Parenting Relationship

10 Signs of a Healthy, Effective Co-Parenting Relationship

written by Jennifer Wolf, posted on verywellfamily

It takes a lot of work for two parents to get to the point where they can say their co-parenting relationship is going really well. For most families, there is still room for improvement. Rather than focusing on what’s not working, though, identify what is going well so that you can accentuate the positive as work toward resolving conflicts with your ex.

The following signs are evidence indicators of a healthy and productive co-parenting relationship.1 As you read them, consider what already works for you, as well as those areas you hope to improve.

Seven Ways to Inner Peace After Divorce

Seven Ways to Inner Peace After Divorce

posted on REL Consultants


Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful events you can experience in life.  Even if you have come to a decision together, it is still hard.

It is hard because there is grief. Your dream of a lifelong relationship together has ended. Your expectation that your partner would be there for you for the rest of your life has come to an end.

If you have children, you are now a single parent. How are they going to thrive in this new, unfamiliar environment? Where are they going to live? How will they get to see both parents if it is safe?

Unless you can find a way to share the home you have been living in, you will have increased expenses as you and your partner will each need a place to live.

You have been saving up for some new clothes, a new car or a trip that you now must put on hold because of all the extra expenses.

Your friendships are going to change. Some of the couples you used to enjoy company with may disappear from your life. Friends that you once new together may choose to only stay friends with your ex-partner.

Your favourite pet may go to live with your ex-partner. You will have to divide up all the contents of your home. It won’t be easy.

Here are seven ways to inner peace after a divorce:

1.      Acceptance:

The first step is to accept that your relationship has ended. Finding the courage to accept reality takes time because our psyche is not ready to receive this devastating news.

At first, you may not want to admit to your friends and family that your marriage has ended.

Your friends and family will start to notice that something is wrong.  Eventually, you are going to have to tell them the truth.

Being honest with yourself, friends and family is painful, but it can be so liberating helping you to accept that you are beginning a new time in your life.

When you can accept what has just happened, you can begin the long journey towards healing and new life.

2.      Reach out for Help:

Life after a divorce can feel lonely even when you were escaping from physical or emotional abuse.

After your ex has left, it is time to reach out for help and support.  The people you reach out to could be family members, friends or professionals.

Immediately after your divorce, it is not the time to rebound into a new relationship. You will not have had enough time to heal. You are likely to go back into a relationship with the same issues that ended the marriage you just left.

You might need a team of people to walk with you through this time of chaos.  There is no shame in asking for help.  It is a sign of courage and strength when you can ask for support and encouragement.

3.      Self Care:

Caring for yourself is crucial to your healing.

You may catch yourself being hard on yourself, blaming yourself for ruining your marriage, or you may entirely blame your partner. Blaming is of no use.

It is time to love yourself.  It is time to accept yourself with all your hang-ups and peculiarities that make you the amazing person you are.

Forget Co-Parenting With a Narcissist. Do This Instead.

Forget Co-Parenting With a Narcissist. Do This Instead.

written by Linda Esposito LCSW, posted on Psychology Today

Things I found myself saying in sessions this week:

  • “It sounds like there’s no middle ground, and this causes you to alternate between feeling hopeless and thinking that if you just increase the volume and intensity of your communication, your ex will respond favorably.”
  • “Whenever we lose a relationship—no matter how dysfunctional—there’s a sense of mourning. We grieve the lost hopes and dreams and the future we’ll never have with this person. When you’re in the thick of the grieving process, it seems as if you will always feel despondent, even though you know on a rational level that you won’t.”
  • Parenting is the toughest job in the world. However, single parenting doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Sometimes there’s a sense of relief that comes from relying on yourself and from not trying to control your children’s rules when they’re not in your physical custody.”

These interactions offer a snapshot of therapy with heartbroken, devastated, and disillusioned single parents following a divorce from a narcissist. Though the stories are different, the theme is always the same:

The concept of co-parenting with a narcissist does not exist.

There is very little research about narcissistic parenting, narcissistic family dynamics, or the effects that this disorder has on children. Complicating matters is the fact that adult children who do seek therapy do not typically identify growing up in a narcissistic household as the presenting problem.

The following strategies can help you redefine your parenting plan and learn to adjust to solo parenting so you and your children thrive.

9 Strategies for Overcoming Parental Narcissism

1. Minimize contact. High-conflict people love to engage in psychological battles. The hidden agenda is to keep you entrenched in the relationship, even years after the ink has dried on the divorce decree. I have seen few dynamics more toxic than exposing a child to constant below-the-belt blows and mental warfare.

2. Establish firm boundaries. Structure in all settings can provide children with a safe, predictable, and secure buffer from insidious psychological damage. The emotional roller coaster a narcissistic parent perpetrates can be even more detrimental to a child’s healthy ego development than overt abuse.

3. Avoid feeling sorry for your child. Nobody deserves to grow up with a selfish, self-absorbed adult, but there are worse plights. Showing pity for others only perpetuates a victim mentality and prohibits them from moving forward and seeking healthy relationships of their own.

Shouldering the Mental Load on Your Own

Shouldering the Mental Load on Your Own

written by Adrienne Farr, posted on Parents

Parenting is tough. Worrying about finances, household chores, morning and bedtime routines, child-friendly recreation, doctor’s visits, and everything in between can feel unbearable—for two parents. When this mental load is the sole responsibility of one parent, what’s unbearable can start to feel impossible. Single parents often suffer greatly by carrying the full mental load of these responsibilities.

Right in this moment, my elderly mom and 3-year-old daughter are bickering about a myriad of things, I have no idea what we’re having for lunch and dinner, nor do I feel like cooking. I am behind on work and just want to go to sleep but when I tried to get in a 10-minute nap, my daughter jumped on me and said, “I’m hungry.”

I feel drained, stressed, and neglectful toward not only my mom and my daughter, but to myself, a burden many caregivers feel, especially among the sandwich generation1—but even more so as a single parent. I wish I had someone to help, but I do not. Although I have a unique situation in being the single mom of a toddler and taking care of an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s/dementia, I know from listening to other single moms that they are feeling the weight of the sole mental load as well.

“24/7 with a 3-year-old—it’s like I can’t remember the last time I completed a thought from start to finish without interruption,” says Naomi Nedd, mother to a 3-year-old son in New York. “Sometimes you just want to yell, ‘Geez, let me finish a thought’ or ‘let me wipe my butt.’ But you can’t scream those things at a 3-year-old.”

Adding to the regular everyday stress is being a single parent during a continuing worldwide pandemic.3 “I can’t possibly be the only single parent who has had the thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen to my kid [if I get sick],” says Nedd. She also notes that actually going to work, as stressful as it can be, is a much-needed break. “The parenting during a pandemic—I can’t even describe it.”

Book Recommendation – Empath and Narcissist: Empath Survival Guide

Empath and Narcissist: Empath Survival Guide

review written by Dr. Liz Matheis

I know this is going to sound insane, but I didn’t realize that I was married to a narcissist until after I separated and filed for divorce.  I listened to this book and it gave me incredible insight. I was literally in tears because it described our very toxic and abusive relationship so clearly. It also gave me a solid understanding of who I am and why I was such “narcissist bait”.
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Julie C.
"Dr. Matheis has a remarkable ability to understand the unique needs of her patients and address them constructively. She builds strong, meaningful relationships with patients and their families, encouraging trust and collaboration. When working with my son who struggles with autism-related anxiety, she created an environment in which he was able to calm down and open up to her in ways I had not seen before. She was able to reach him and helped him work through his crisis/problem. Most importantly, she empowered him to move forward."
- N.L.
"Dr. Matheis is amazing. She has tremendous resources and loads of energy. She is not willing to accept anything less than the most effective results for her clients. She made me feel as if my son was her top priority throughout the entire process. I would, without reservation, give her my highest recommendations.  Thank you, Dr. Matheis!"
- Anonymous
"Dr. Matheis has an amazing ability to read kids and connect with them. She has been an invaluable resource for our family over the past several years and has helped us with everything from educational consulting, to uncovering diagnoses as well as family therapy. Working with Dr. Matheis never feels clinical and most importantly, our children love and trust her. We can not thank you enough Dr. Liz!"
- Anonymous
"My teenage son had been seeing Dr. Matheis through his senior year of high school, as he was only diagnosed with ADHD at 16 years old.  Dr. Matheis came highly recommended from our pediatrician and she has done wonders for our son as well as our family, navigating new ways for him to deal with his diagnosis without the use of medication.  She taught him ways to organize himself and even when something did not work for him, she patiently continued teaching him new ways to keep himself on track.  She has also helped us as parents to understand how his mind works so that we did not continue to blame his lack of focus on him, rather on his unique way of thinking.  Thank you Dr. Matheis!!!!"
- LG
"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
- June I
"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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