Child Custody,  Coparenting

Toxic Relationships

Let’s say you have a child with someone. And, that someone and you have an on again off again kind of relationship. One that sometimes gets very volatile.

In most instances, it’s probably best that this relationship end and that you have as little to do with each other as possible. But, you have a child, so you still have to communicate and possibly see each other occasionally, so it will be difficult to say the least.

I’m not talking about the normal end to a relationship where you’re hurt and angry, you might even say some things that are regrettable, but with time you’re able to move on.

I’m talking about the kind of relationship where it’s never really great even when things are at their best. The kind where you are so consumed with each other and so filled with passion that everything is over the top. The love and the hate. The good and the bad. The kind where two people bring out the absolute worst in each other.



That kind of a relationship is just as unhealthy for you and your child as drinking a barrel of glow in the dark industrial sludge.

And for some reason, people in this type of situation don’t want to, or maybe they can’t, let go of each other when they realize that they no longer really want to be together. They don’t want to be with the other person, but neither do they want the other person to be with anyone else. So, they keep getting back together in a never ending cycle of rapidly increasing drama and trauma.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve seen these relationships explode all over the lives of not only the couple involved but their extended families and their children. It’s not a pretty thing to witness. And, it’s really kind of scary to be anywhere near this brewing storm.

I’ve seen couples who say the vilest things to each other verbally, via email and text messaging. I’ve seen horrible things posted on social media accounts. I’ve even seen couples who have hit, kicked, beat, stabbed, and shot each other and have gone back for more.

I’m not talking domestic violence where one party has dominance over another and controls that person with abuse and power. This is more of an equalized all out war between two parties who are each giving as good as they get. They are so consumed with the other until irrational thinking is their norm and any rational advice from friends and family and even authority figures can’t penetrate the leaden fog around them.

How do people get like this? What’s more — how can they behave and act so normally, even have positive relationships with everyone but this one other person?  I honestly don’t know and I’m not a psychiatrist, so I won’t even hazard a guess. I do know how destructive these relationships can be. Especially for the children who are caught in the midst of their parents’ fiery escapades.

If you’re in this type of a relationship, your child needs you to end it. It won’t be easy and you’ll probably need some professional help from a counselor or psychiatrist. And, you’ll need to have as little contact with the other person as possible.

Having a child, makes it even that much harder to break free. However, you can designate someone else to pick up and drop your child off for you at a mutually agreed upon location so you do not have to interact with him or her. DO NOT make this designee your current spouse or significant other. That will only inflame this type of situation.

You can communicate via emails. Just remember that the focus of the emails should be on your child and not anything personal. Should the other party bring anything personal up in the email, simply ignore it and do not let it anger you. Respond politely about any issue regarding your child.

When sending emails remember not to use all capitals. It looks like you’re screaming and sends the wrong impression. Do not belittle. Do not accuse.

I realize this is very simplistic for such a serious and potentially dangerous situation and by no means meant as a cure-all. This type of situation calls for professional help and if you are involved in something like this, please seek help immediately — for yourself and for your child. Your extended family will be thankful. Your local police department may even send you flowers once they stop receiving weekly plus calls to your location.


Originally posted at rhondahopkins.com. This article may have been amended to suit the needs of this site. 


** My boring but necessary disclaimer for these types of posts: I am not an attorney and am not offering legal advice. I am merely giving my opinions based upon nearly 20 years working with family and children within the family court system. I hope you find it helpful. But in all matters, refer to your court order and seek advice from your attorney should you have any questions.

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