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6 Ways to Deal with a High-Conflict Co-Parent

by | Oct 27, 2023 | 0 comments

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

Are you dealing with a high-conflict co-parent?

Trust me, I know how difficult that can be.

You try and approach your co-parent with understanding and respect, but you are met with disdain and nonsense.

We could sit around all day trying to figure out why your ex acts like this, but it would be a waste of time.

We can’t change the way our high-conflict co-parents act, but we can change the way we do.

And we can find ways to deal with their nonsense to avoid conflict and decrease the stress in our lives.

Whether you’re trying to parallel parent with a narcissist or you’re just running into challenges with a difficult ex, I have some strategies to help you out!

Let’s take a look at some techniques you can use to deal with a high-conflict co-parent:

1. Gray Rock Method

“Gray rock” is an effective strategy for dealing with a high-conflict co-parent. This technique involves making yourself as interesting as a gray rock.

In other words, you are unresponsive and unreactive to their drama.

High-conflict co-parents often thrive on emotional reactions. By not giving them the satisfaction of seeing you upset, you take away their power!

Keeping your interactions focused on co-parenting matters also helps to avoid getting drawn into their arguments. Don’t discuss personal matters, only things related to your child.

Respond to their messages or provocations with brief and neutral answers. This will help minimize conflict and reduce the emotional toll on you.

2. Third-Party Intervention

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When you’re parenting with a high-conflict ex, direct communication will often result in conflict. You can always try involving a third party to avoid arguments and disputes.

For example, you can hire a professional mediator to guide discussions. They can ensure that conversations remain productive and respectful.

You can also use an online parenting app like OurFamilyWizard. These are secure and monitored platforms for communication and document sharing.

3. Document Conflicts

If you’re dealing with a high-conflict situation with your ex, it’s important to document conflicts for legal purposes. Keep records of all interactions, including written communication like emails and texts.

This documentation can serve as evidence in court if the situation escalates to a legal battle. Your well-documented records can be used to support your claims and protect your child’s best interests.

Keeping records can also help you feel more in control and give you peace of mind.

4. Use the BIFF Method

The BIFF Method (Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm) is a communication strategy that keeps conversations with a high-conflict co-parent civil and constructive:

  • Brief: Keep your messages concise, focusing on essential information. Avoid getting drawn into lengthy debates or arguments.
  • Informative: Provide necessary information, facts, and details related to co-parenting matters. Don’t add any emotional content.
  • Friendly: Maintain a friendly and respectful tone, even when addressing challenging topics. Avoid personal attacks or criticism.
  • Firm: Set clear boundaries and expectations. If a conversation becomes heated, calmly assert your boundaries and end the interaction.

To learn more about setting boundaries, check out my article here!

5. Seek Support

Dealing with a high-conflict co-parent can be emotionally draining. It’s important to seek out support from friends and family members or a therapist who can help you navigate these challenging dynamics.

And remember that you are not alone! Even if you feel like no one else understands your situation, there are tons of us out here that do.

Look for support groups on social media, like my Facebook support group here.

You’ll find an amazing group of people who understand difficult parenting relationships! We ask questions, offer support, and vent about our frustrations.

Trust me, sharing your experiences with others can provide emotional relief and valuable insight!

6. Self-Care

Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

High-conflict co-parenting is emotionally exhausting and can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

Prioritize your self-care to maintain your well-being and build emotional resilience.

It’s okay to do a calming activity that takes your mind off your situation. Distractions can be helpful!

Think about the things you like to do that help you feel relaxed. It could be taking a bath, binge-watching a show on Netflix, going for a walk, or listening to music.

You can try mindfulness or find a new hobby to occupy your mind.

Just remember to make time for self-care – it should be a priority!

Navigating High-Conflict Co-Parenting Challenges With Confidence

No one wants to deal with a high-conflict co-parent, and it’s unfair that we have to.

But I know we are doing this because we want what’s best for our kiddos!

When you use these strategies, you’re going to notice a huge difference when it comes to conflict. They won’t eliminate all conflict, but they will make your situation better.

Just remember that you are not alone, and there are others out there who understand your struggles!

How do you deal with your high-conflict co-parent? If you have any more advice to add, throw it in the comments below! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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Let’s create a supportive community and navigate the complexities of co-parenting with strength and resilience!


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