Although it’s a funny term, dealing with one is anything but laughable.
There’s the ex who dumped you unreasonably or maybe didn't even give you the satisfaction of saying goodbye. Some exes treat you terribly during a relationship. Worse than both of those exes, however, are those, unhappy in your relationship but unhappier after the split.
If you don’t have children with them, it’s easy to put as much distance between you and them as humanly possible and not be exposed to their negative fuming. But, what if you do have kids and are required to co-parent with them, or rather, with a toxhole, attempt to do so?
There are no easy answers but there are some coping and communication strategies you can use to make your life more manageable. After all, you deserve to have a life after your breakup or divorce, even if it appears their single-minded purpose is to ensure otherwise.
Try these 5 strategies and let us know your story and what we can do to help. We have tools to make life better, for you and your children:
1. Boundaries are key.
Communicate about matters of importance involving the children and nothing else. Think of your new co-parenting relationship as a business relationship.
You and your ex are involved in one of the most important "corporate" relationships you will ever have as "CEOs" of your kids’ childhoods. Maintain a professional demeanor in email communications, be flexible and cooperative when possible, and don't take the bait of any negative or punishing comments from your ex.
You wouldn’t do it at work so don’t do it at home.
If your relationship with your ex is difficult, you should also likely not text except in the event of an emergency. It is too easy to respond with hostility in the moment and you must avoid this at all cost.
Your kids are far more important than any work project so give them the respect they deserve by refusing, no matter the temptation, of reducing yourself to the level of a toxhole ex.
2. Keep it simple.
When it’s clear that cooperation from your ex is nearly impossible, don’t keep shooting yourself in the foot by trying to gain it. Create scenarios that don’t ask you to rely on them, as they are likely to let you down, intentionally.
If necessary, create other support systems for your kids so you will not have to reach out to your ex when you need it —– and as a human being you will need it. Line up those supports now so they are ready to help when needed.
3. Create a written record.
Don’t rely on telephone or in person conversations with a toxhole. Write down what you agree in email and save them. In the event you need to recall this information, you have it.
A toxhole is notorious for changing their mind and/or story to make you look bad. Prevent it when you can by having a clear and concise version of what did happen. By the way, if you are still deciding or in the midst of divorce, creating simple clear agreements with the toxhole is key.
Make sure you explain to your legal professional the necessity for this and understand what you sign. If you don’t understand the Agreement now, how will it be interpreted later?
4. Don't badmouth the toxhole to your kids.
It’s tempting, that’s for sure. Toxholes are full of anger and contempt for you, and likely will try to undermine what you do at every turn. They are also the other parent of your child. Your kids should not be asked to choose between you, no matter the circumstance.
Instead, if asked, use words like "trying to gain cooperation" and "working on it," to describe how you approach your ex. Let the kids know they can always come to you with their questions and concerns.
If a situation arises in which they tell you the toxhole is speaking badly about you, tell the kids not to worry and that you will manage it. Allow them to let go of the burden and be children.
5. Get help.
Staying neutral, calm, unflappable and present for your children will likely take more energy, some days, than you have. You are a human being and deserve to be treated like one. The toxhole will never do that, however, no matter how much logic or kind reassurance you try.
Instead, you must look to other places for the validation and support you deserve. Although friends and family may provide some of it, the constant nature of the toxhole’s terrible behavior may be exhausting for them too.
Find a professional, a therapist or coach, specializing in stress and trauma, to help. If the situation is so extreme that your children are adversely impacted, which is not unusual with a toxhole, you may need a lawyer who can help you consider options around legal and physical custody too.
It’s not you, it’s them, and no matter your failures in the relationship, neither you nor the children deserve the toxhole’s constant berating, anger and lack of cooperation. It can get better. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.
This article was originally published at http://www.deardivorcecoach.com/5-ways-deal-toxhole-ex/. Reprinted with permission from the author.