What to do when your manipulative ex still tries to get at you through your kids.

Christel Van Gelder General Life Advice 2 Comments

The best thing to do when you leave a manipulative narcissist is to cut out all contact. That is a fact. The manipulation will end there or at least will not affect you as much. This is not as easy as it sounds, but if you have no children with the narcissist, it can be done. Being firm and determined will do the trick. You may fall into the trap a few more times, but as long as you recognize your mistake and forgive yourself, you’ll get better at it. And the manipulator will not know what happened. Which is a win-win.

But what if you have kids with that narcissistic, manipulative ex?

If they are small, there’s not much you can do regarding having no contact. You can only limit it and when you feel that manipulation is still going on, directly or indirectly via the kids, the best approach is to become very alert and observant so that you don’t fall into the trap that has been set for you.
Or you can make sure that a third party becomes involved who helps to keep you away from direct contact with the manipulator.

When I left my narcissistic ex, my sons were 14 and 16 respectively. At some point in the divorce battle, I decided to apply the no-contact rule. For my own sanity and safety. It wasn’t easy, as through the kids, he still tried to get at me. And often that worked.
Unfortunately, I was not that observant yet and arguments would start just because one of my triggers had been expertly, yet indirectly played once again.

Even now, seven years down the line, sometimes it still happens. Stealthily and smartly — manipulators are very smart when it comes to handling their puppets— with my sons as meat fodder sent out to the enemy, me, to do damage. Emotional damage.
Of course, the ex can never be completely sure he is doing this damage, but my guess is he has a hunch he can get some upheaval in.
And that’s what he thrives on.

Of course, the whole issue is that it’s me who has the choice to let him get to me or not.
Most of the times I am doing well and am able to distance myself if I smell a manipulative tactic coming my way. Sometimes, when I am not as alert and observant, he can still get to me.

What bothers me the most is that somehow my sons —unknowingly— bring in the ex’s energy. And as soon as I feel that, I put up my defensive wall. My BS radar goes on high alert, and I start to feel very antagonistic towards my sons, which is actually towards the ex. But as they are the meat fodder, the puppets, they get the bulk of my frustration.I totally admit that I should know better by now. You probably think that being a life coach, I really should have dealing with this sort of shit pat down. But when it comes to the ex blatantly manipulating my sons, I don’t have it all worked out…yet

I do have some wise tools to share though, even if I forget to apply them sometimes.
So this list is also a reminder to myself.

How can you deal with your ex manipulating you indirectly through your kids?

  1. Don’t engage in the manipulation.
    After all, that is exactly what the manipulator wants. And they seem to have a sixth sense for it, even if they’re not present to witness the effect their ploy has on you.
  2. Be patient with your kids.
    After all, they have to find out for themselves what this manipulation is all about. And they are being used in a battle which makes no sense at all, through no fault of theirs.
  3. Trust that sooner or later the manipulator will be exposed.
    After all that is what usually happens, no matter how long it takes. History has proven that tyrants, dictators and bad people do get found out.
  4. Protect yourself and your energy.
    After all, if your energy is strong and grounded, it will be much harder for the manipulator to get at you. I know that if I don’t prepare myself and get myself in the right place when they come home from their dad’s, I suddenly become irritated, angry, but also very, very tired. So I need to be mindful of my energy at that moment.
  5. Don’t fret on things that are being said or done.
    After all there’s no use whatsoever. It only sucks up your energy while not solving anything. You simply cannot stop the manipulator, have no control over him or her. The only thing you can control is your own thoughts, emotions and reactions in the situation.
  6. Become the Observer.
    After all that’s the only thing that will help. Observe. Be on the alert, don’t let manipulation sink its teeth into you. Observe and let go. Btw, I still have a hard time with the latter part, to be very honest. But it’s an ongoing process.
  7. Be at peace with yourself by forgiving yourself.
    After all the more you are at peace with yourself, the less the manipulator can get to you. And believe me, they will feel it, as it throws them off their game. If you do fall, get up and forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself and just observe what you just felt and why you reacted. Then learn from it.
  8. Don’t chastise yourself when you get off track.
    After all you’re only human and your kids mean a lot to you. It’s not nice to know they are being used as pawns. Still there’s not much you can do about it, except not joining the game the manipulator is playing. This means you just love what is, accept that that is how it is and will be and stay grounded within yourself whilst loving your kids unconditionally. Even though you sometimes feel the need to scream.
  9. Do scream.
    After all, letting of steam by screaming, furiously cleaning or doing something will get the anger out of your system. Feeling the negative emotions and letting them go is the healthiest way to deal with the situation.
  10. Don’t blame the kids.
    After all, it’s their mum or dad that is doing the manipulation, and it’s not fair that they are being used that way to get back at you, but that’s really not their fault. They are just pawns in a sick game that can go on for a long, long time.Having trouble dealing with your manipulator?
    Let’s talk. Schedule a free conversation with me by clicking here.

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Comments 2

  1. Pingback: Why you’re not to blame for a toxic relationship. - Christel Van Gelder

  2. Pingback: 8 Stupid, yet necessary Things You May Do When Leaving a Narcissist.

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