Toxic ex-spouses don’t respect the boundaries of their relationship with their ex. They have never really let go of their mates and will hang on for dear life all the while undermining your ability to co – parent with them and move on to a new life. Below are some tips and guidelines to help you recognize the actions of a toxic ex-spouse.
Time Required: Could take up to 18 years.
They don’t respect your privacy.
Even though you are divorced they still feel they have a right to know what you are doing and who you are doing it with. You will be bombarded with questions about your life. Are you seeing anyone? Where were you over the weekend? There is a difference between friendly interaction and an attempt to control. Learn to recognize that difference.
They interfere with new relationships.
You’ve heard that old saying, “I don’t want you but I don’t want anyone else to have you.” You may find yourself divorced from someone who feels it is fine that they have moved on with their life but can’t stand the idea of you doing the same. This sort of ex – spouse will do whatever it takes to sabotage any new relationship you form.
They will use your children against you.
This type of toxic ex comes in different forms. They may try and turn your children against you by bad mouthing you and your actions to the children. Or, they go as far as abandoning their own children to punish you for some wrong doing they feel you have done. They are willing to hurt their own children in an attempt to control you or get back at you in some way. This is a very dangerous and wounded individual.
They will blame you for their unhappiness.
It doesn’t matter what they are unhappy about, you will get the blame. If they treat their children badly and cause their children to become angry, you will be blamed. If they loose their job, have car trouble or just can’t seem to catch a break, you will be blamed. You may go months at a time without seeing them or talking to them but, you can bet that if something goes wrong, you will be blamed.
They will try to plant seeds of doubt.
You will hear comments projecting failure on your part as a result of your inability to hold the marriage together. They will say and do whatever needed to undermine the goals you set for yourself. Some will go as far as predicting failure for the goals their children set. This is symptomatic of a manipulative and vengeful mindset and any comments from such a person should be ignored.
They will use you as an excuse for their own bad behavior.
If they choose to ignore the needs of their children, you can bet it will be because of something you said or did. To be able to live with their own bad choices they have to alleviate the guilt by making it appear that they had no choice. All their bad choices are made based on some wrong you did them...in their head, anyway.
They will use the court system to stay engaged.
They will defy court orders knowing you will take them back to court. This is a passive/aggressive way of keeping a connection to an ex – spouse. They get to use the court system to punish you and, to stay connected with you. This is one great reason for making sure you have a good settlement agreement before you sign your divorce papers.