toxic phrases

10 Toxic Phrases Which Signal Narcissism

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterised by an inflated sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy towards others.  In this blog post, we will shine a light on ten toxic phrases often used by narcissistic individuals which can serve as warning signs of their behavior.  Whilst a narcissist may not use the exact phrase, the core meaning in their communication will fit one of these models:


1. “I’m always right”:
This phrase reveals an unwillingness to consider the viewpoints of others and a belief that they possess superior knowledge or understanding. For instance, someone insisting they know better than an expert in a particular field without considering alternative perspectives.  They could communicate this is non verbal ways as well such as laughing at your opinion or putting a hand up to stop you before you even start.


2. “You’re just jealous”:
Narcissists often deflect criticism or negative feedback by accusing others of envy or insecurity. This undermines valid concerns and dismisses any accountability for their actions.  It is actually a projection of their own insecurities but they want you to feel inferior because that gives them a false sense of superiority.


3. “I deserve special treatment”:
Narcissists frequently demand preferential treatment or entitlements, disregarding the boundaries or needs of others. For example, one rule for them and a completely different rule for everyone else.  This is often seen in Family Court where they will defy court orders but hold you to the tiniest detail.


4. “Everyone loves/admires me”:
A common phrase used by narcissistic individuals to exaggerate their popularity, dismissing any potential criticism or suggestions that their behavior might be off-putting to others.  This is also a tactic of triangulation, aiming to make you feel you have to compete for their attention, and making you feel like the problem. 


toxic phrases

5. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand”:
By belittling the experiences or perspectives of others, narcissists display an inability to empathise and invalidate the feelings of those around them.  This is another way to shut you down and prevent you from raising any issues with them.


6. “You’re being too sensitive”:
This phrase is commonly deployed to trivialise or dismiss another person’s emotions, suggesting that their reactions are irrational or exaggerated.  It makes the victim question their sense of reality and has them doubting their feelings.


7. “It’s all about me”:
Individuals with narcissistic tendencies often monopolise conversations and make everything revolve around themselves, demonstrating a lack of interest in others’ experiences or opinions.  This is often communicated through their actions which will be two fold – diminish the victim and raise themselves up.


8. “You’re lucky to have me”:
Narcissists perceive themselves as superior and indispensable. They use this phrase to remind others of their supposed value and create dependency.  This is deployed to create jealousy and, coupled with triangulation, can create a feeling of paranoia in the victim, making them work extra hard to keep the narcissist’s attention.  Often though it isn’t paranoia but instinct as narcissists do cheat on their parents, both emotionally and physically.


9. “I’m the best, no one can do it better”:
Narcissists frequently engage in self-promotion, boasting about their achievements and abilities to reinforce their superiority complex while undermining others’ strengths.  This can be used in parenting to put the other parent down and make them feel worthless whilst also communicating to the children that they should only rely on the narcissistic parent.


10. “You should be grateful I’m even here”:
This phrase is used to manipulate and control others, making them feel indebted and guilty for the narcissist’s involvement in their lives.  Sadly the narcissist will play on low self esteem and the vortex of self doubt and isolation they have created to keep the victim engaged in the relationship for longer than is healthy.


How many do you recognise?  

The post 10 Toxic Phrases Which Signal Narcissism appeared first on The Nurturing Coach.


Authoritative Parenting and Narcissism

0:00 Intro
1:07 What are the differences between the 3 styles of parenting?
4:33 What are some examples of authoritative parenting?

Authoritative Parenting and Narcissism

Authoritative parenting helps children develop through a combination of empathy and direction—an approach that sets it apart from the more aimless and coercive forms, permissive and authoritarian. In this video, I discuss the differences between these 3 styles of parenting, provide some real-world examples of how to raise children using firm empathy, and explain how parenting style relate to narcissism.



The Court that Hurts Children

The Court that Hurts Children

By Barry Goldstein

Custody courts cannot protect children when they permit a biased theory, designed to help abusive fathers take custody from good mothers and twice rejected by the American Psychiatric Association because there is no research to support it, to have more influence over the courts than ACE (adverse childhood experiences) and Saunders that are peer-reviewed scientific studies that go to the essence of the well-being of children and come from highly credible sources.

The ACE Studies are peer-reviewed medical research sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The original ACE Study was released in 1998 and there have been at least five additional ACE Studies that confirm and expand the original findings. ACE is used by doctors to diagnose and treat patients, therapists for trauma-informed treatment of patients, public health officials use ACE to help traumatized survivors, and educators use ACE to help traumatized students. The only purpose of unscientific alienation theories is to help abusive fathers take custody from safe, protective mothers and help the cottage industry earn large incomes.

ACE would tell the court that children exposed to domestic violence, child abuse and other trauma will live shorter lives and face a lifetime of health and social problems. Most of the harm is not from any immediate physical injury, but from living with the fear and stress abusers cause. Doctors working with the ACE research can help courts understand that contested custody in DV cases is often the last chance to save children from a lifetime (often a shorter lifetime) of illness and pain. In order to save these children, they will need medical treatment and therapy to respond to health problems as they develop and reduce the stress which will cause most of the harm. The children also cannot be exposed to more abuse or frightening situations or else they cannot heal. When courts insist on giving an abuser shared decision-making, they prevent the children from receiving the treatment they need. Abusers particularly do not want the children in therapy where they might reveal his abuse. When courts assume keeping abusers in children’s lives is beneficial, they expose children to more abuse and stress. These standard court responses remove the last chance for children to have a full and successful life.

The Saunders Study was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice in the US Justice Department. The purpose was to determine the domestic violence knowledge of judges, lawyers, and evaluators. Saunders found court professionals need more than generalized training in DV. They need specific knowledge that includes screening for DV, risk assessment, post-separation violence, and the impact of DV on children. Professionals without this information tend to focus on the myth that mothers frequently make false reports and unscientific alienation theories. This leads to recommendations and decisions that harm children. Saunders found DV advocates have more of the DV knowledge courts need than court professionals and most judges, lawyers and especially evaluators who do not have the DV expertise they need. Saunders recommends a multi-disciplinary approach that in potential DV cases must include a DV expert.

Fundamentally, without ACE, courts routinely minimize the harm from DV and child abuse and without Saunders they rely on the wrong professionals and so disbelieve true reports of abuse. Many standard court assumptions and practices were proven wrong by ACE and Saunders but continue to be relied on by courts.

Domestic violence is about control, including financial control. This means that in most DV cases most of the family’s financial resources are controlled by the abusive father. This factor led to the creation of the cottage industry of legal and mental health professionals who promote bogus theories such as alienation to help abusers gain custody. This financial advantage is a huge legal advantage and courts have been reluctant to use their authority to level the playing field. Abusers routinely use economic and litigation abuse to bankrupt their victims so that many victims wind up representing themselves. Courts do not seem to notice the tactics, use the information to recognize abusers’ motives, or take action to guarantee a fair trial. The superior economic resources of abusers result in judges and other court professionals hearing far more misinformation than the actual research that courts badly need.

The tilt is further encouraged by the response of attorneys. Lawyers for abusers are comfortable acting aggressively even when it misleads the court and places children in jeopardy. At the same time, many attorneys for mothers refuse or discourage their clients from presenting evidence or research about DV. Many courts have failed to understand mothers’ attempts to protect their children and have responded by punishing protective mothers who are the primary attachment figures for the children. Judges rarely consider that aside from missing true reports of abuse, the retaliation discourages lawyers from providing courts with the information needed to protect children in other cases.

The Meier Study is an outcome study designed to measure how courts respond to alleged DV, child abuse, and alienation. In the context of other research, Meier supports the conclusion that custody courts support abusive fathers far more than the evidence would justify. This is to be expected given the information discussed earlier.

In the last 15 years, a study from the Center for Judicial Excellence found over 900 children involved in contested custody have been murdered mostly by abusive fathers. In many cases, judges disbelieved or minimized reports of abuse and gave the killers the access they needed. The Bartlow Study asked judges and court administrators in the communities that suffered these murders what the court had done to make children safer in response to the local tragedy. The shocking answer was nothing because they all assumed the murder was an exception. I find it distressing that even the murder of a child does not overcome the defensiveness and insularity that has prevented needed reforms including the use of ACE and Saunders.

Children who physically survive their time controlled by custody courts are not out of the woods. Many of these children die in their teens or twenties from suicide or a drug overdose. Other children will later die early from cancer, heart disease or other diseases that are caused or exacerbated by the stress ACE focuses on. People who were never in custody court die from similar tragedies so we cannot know if an individual death was caused by the poor practices courts use in responding to abuse cases. There is no doubt, however, that many children’s lives are being ruined because courts are more willing to maintain the status quo than introduce ACE and Saunders.

I wrote an article based on a true story of a mother who saved her son by punching a mountain lion who attacked him. She was viewed as a heroine because the danger was from a wild animal instead of a wild abuser. The story illustrates the maternal instinct to protect children. Only in the courts that hurt children is this instinct viewed as harmful and severely punished. Some of the most heart wrenching stories I hear involve extreme decisions separating mothers from children and children from mothers. Courts make this tragic mistake because they are relying on flawed and biased practices. The Saunders Study and Kayden’s Law would tell courts of their mistake if only courts would consider scientific research instead of subjective opinions. Many, if not most, children will never recover from these extreme and retaliatory decisions. No judge wants to hurt children, but without the research they will continue to do so.

One of the reasons DV experts understand abuse issues better than other professionals is that we look at the patterns. Judges and court administrators miss the patterns because they are handling all custody cases. Most cases involve two good and loving parents and the standard court practices work well in those cases. This makes it harder for courts to recognize the 3.8% of contested custody cases that require a very different response. 75-90% of these cases are really DV cases in which an abusive father who often had limited involvement with the children during the relationship seeks custody or shared parenting (as a first step) to regain control and punish the victim for leaving.

It is a mistake to treat cases with two safe parents the same as cases with an alleged abuser. High conflict approaches are biased in favor of abusers because they create a false equivalency between victim and abuser. There is now a specialized body of knowledge and research that is needed in abuse cases, including to determine if there is abuse. Any attempt to decide possible abuse cases without the benefit of ACE and Saunders is malpractice.

Any effort to reform court practices in order to protect children must include ACE and Saunders. Many court officials seek to block any legislation they view as limiting their discretion. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges seeks to train other judges about ACE and Saunders because it goes to the essence of the well-being of children. I have never heard a judge or court administrator explain the justification for failing to make sure the knowledge in ACE and Saunders is used to understand these cases and protect children.

I don’t write this article out of anger or to criticize anyone. I am writing out of profound pain and sadness. The worst part of this work is the constant stream of preventable tragedies that never stop. We fight on a case-by-case basis, but as long as courts maintain the ignorant and biased practices that err on the side of protecting abusers and ruining children’s lives, the unbearable tragedies will continue. Please tell me how courts that hurt children can continue to try to respond without the benefit ACE and Saunders.

Barry Goldstein is a domestic violence author, speaker, advocate and expert witness. He is the author of six books concerning domestic violence and child custody. Barry is the author of the Safe Child Act which is a comprehensive plan based on current scientific research that can fix the broken court system and make family courts safe for children.

(Thanks to Veronica York for her suggestions that improved this article).


The 7 Most Common Signs of Echoism

0:00 Intro
0:40 Review of Narcissism and Echoism
3:32 Questionnaire for Echoism
4:58 Scoring

The 7 Most Common Signs of Echoism

Echoism is a trait or adaptation (not a disorder) that people often develop in response to narcissistic parenting. In this video, I review our research-validated questionnaire that measures echoism and explain what the questions reveal about your self- perception and relationships. I also show you how to interpret the results and what they might mean for you.



little girl tucked into bed

Building An Effective Bedtime Routine With Your Kids As a Single Parent

little girl tucked into bed


The process of getting kids to bed can be a struggle sometimes. Kids have endless energy, and getting them to sleep each night can feel like a chore — no matter how angelic they look once they finally do sleep. It’s even more of a challenge when you’re a divorced mom trying to tackle everything on your own.

You’re tired, you’re trying to create a routine that fits the needs of your children, and you might be fighting against a different routine than what they’re used to with their other parent.

Take a deep breath and don’t give up hope. Let’s cover some of the various obstacles that you might face as a divorced mother, and some bedtime routine tips on how to combat them. By staying consistent and knowing how to overcome certain challenges, you can establish a healthy routine that allows your kids to get enough sleep without making every night feel like an endless struggle.

Overcoming Bedtime Challenges

If you’re trying to co-parent with your former spouse, one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face with your kids is combatting routines. Even if they’re only at their other parent’s house once in a while, it might be a completely different environment, and it can take some time for them to get used to your routine again.

One of the best things you can do to combat that is to work with your co-parent. You don’t have to have identical nighttime routines. But, being on the same page will always be helpful. It should make getting your kids to bed easier for both of you.

If you’re not able to come up with an agreement with your co-parent or you know their routines will never change, talk to your kids about what they need to expect from your routine. Then, be consistent. Do things every night that helps them get in the mindset of going to bed, such as:

  • Tidying up;
  • Taking a bath/shower;
  • Reading a book;
  • Talking about your days;
  • Doing something relaxing;
  • Preparing for the next morning.

Another challenge you might face, especially with older kids and teens, is technology. While digital devices can be great tools for single moms, they can make getting kids to bed difficult. Most devices, including cell phones and tablets, emit a specific kind of blue light that stimulates the brain and makes it difficult to sleep. Additionally, if your child is watching something or playing a game on a device, it could take their mind a while to settle down. You can fight back against these issues by helping your kids develop healthy tech habits, especially if they’re gamers. Set time limits on screen time, and create boundaries for them. For example, making sure they turn their devices off at least 30 minutes before bed will give them enough time to wind down.

Finding a Routine That Works for You

With a quick Google search, you’ll find countless sample routines other mothers use to get their kids to bed each night. Taking tips from those routines can be a great idea if you’re struggling. But, don’t feel as though you have to follow someone else’s schedule to the minute.

Building an effective bedtime routine, especially as a single parent, is about what works best for you and your children. Do your best to keep things simple, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself to make things perfect. Some suggestions to keep in mind include:

  • Having a concrete bedtime;
  • Limiting heavy snacks at night;
  • Creating an ideal sleep environment;
  • Doing a relaxing activity together.

Once you establish a routine that works for you and your kids, it can end up being something they look forward to each night. Remember, divorce can be hard on them, too. A routine that helps them relax and get rid of the stress from each day will make a big difference in their overall mental well-being.

Establishing Your Own Routine

There’s no question that being a single parent is hard. You want to put your kids first, and it’s normal to prioritize their needs over your own. However, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If the stress of getting your kids to bed is taking a toll on your mental health, make sure you’re practicing self-care.

That includes building your own bedtime routine after your kids have gone to sleep. Finding ways to relax, clear your mind, and get the rest you need can make a big difference in how you feel.

Try things like doing one chore a night before getting ready for bed. It can help you feel accomplished and more at peace. Additionally, prepare for the morning by getting lunches ready and having your clothes ready to wear. This will keep you from rushing around and feeling stressed when you wake up. Your nighttime routine might also include things like:

  • Reading;
  • Taking a warm bath;
  • Yoga or light stretching;
  • Journaling;

Establishing a healthy routine will improve your sleep hygiene. Essentially, you’re letting your mind and body know that it’s time to get some rest, so they can wind down accordingly.

Finally, make sure your bedroom is an ideal environment for sleeping. If you’re still in your marital home, consider remodeling your room so it feels like your own personal sanctuary or safe haven.

Getting back on track with your kids’ schedule can be difficult after a divorce, especially when it comes to getting them to bed. Keep these tips in mind to make the routine easier for everyone, so you can all get a good night’s rest.

The post Building An Effective Bedtime Routine With Your Kids As a Single Parent appeared first on Divorced Moms.


sad mother sitting on the floor crying holding a child's shoe

6 Ways a Mother Can Lose Custody as a Result of Her Misconduct

sad mother sitting on the floor crying holding a child's shoe


It is a difficult decision for any parent to lose custody of their children. It can be an even more difficult decision when the mother has lost custody due to her own misconduct.

Ways a Mother Can Lose Custody

In order to understand how this could happen, it’s important that we take the time to examine 6 ways in which a mother might lose custody as a result of her own actions:

1. Child Abuse

Society tends to see women as nurturing, but they can be just as capable of abuse. Despite the commonly held belief that women are less capable of child abuse than men, it is often more shocking to learn that a mother has abused her children. Some people assume this type of behavior occurs in only one-parent families and especially among stepfathers or adoptive parents, however, mothers can also be abusive.

The reason mothers lose custody of their children is abuse: physical, emotional, and sexual. Some people assume that women are less likely to be abusers, however, they can commit all types of child abuse which makes it more shocking when a mother abuses her kids because society sees them as nurturing but sometimes this isn’t the case.

Sometimes, a mother isn’t abusive herself but fails to protect her children from abuse by the new partner. If the court becomes aware of this behavior in either case, they are likely to lose custody.

When a father knows his child is being abused by the mother but does nothing about it, he fails to protect their child and this can impact both his custodial rights as well as the mother’s. This means that parents have an obligation to take care of their children.

2. Child Neglect

If a mother neglects her child’s basic needs, like health and education, she runs the risk of losing custody. For example: if she leaves them hungry or homeless without any clothes to wear they will likely end up in foster care. Neglect is often intertwined with other issues such as abuse or substance use so one should not be ignored for another.

There is no set standard for a “perfect parent”. Family law judges understand that parenting isn’t perfect, so they are willing to overlook some small mishaps such as being late picking up the children from school or not keeping an appointment. However, if there’s long-term neglect of the child and this threatens their well-being, then you could risk losing your parental rights with family court intervening.

A father may be able to prove the negligence of his children by the mother. Teachers, daycare providers, family members, and others are all potential sources for proof against a negligent parent. If these people notice that there is something wrong with how parents care for their kids but don’t know what exactly it might be or if they would want to testify in court about it on behalf of an estranged father’s custody case, then perhaps direct evidence can help them out!

3. Substance Abuse or Addiction

The courts take addiction to alcohol and drugs very seriously, in part because it can have a negative impact on the care that an addict’s children receive. If a mother struggles with addictions to alcohol and other substances she may be put into question as being unfit or unable to take care of her children.

If a mother is discovered to have a dependency on prohibited substances or drugs and alcohol, she risks having her custody rights revoked. Children of addicts are more likely to suffer neglect, abuse, and imitate their parents by picking up bad habits as well. In cases where there’s evidence of the mother’s substance use (drug/alcohol), fathers can present this evidence requesting that his ex-wife be stripped of visitation privileges with his children altogether in order for them not to pick up these unhealthy behaviors themselves.

Despite the fact that a mother can be awarded custody if she agrees to get treatment for her addiction, this isn’t always possible.

A result of giving mothers custody over their children when they are addicted is it may endanger them physically, sexually, or emotionally and put their lives in danger (e.g., drunk driving). However, there are times where mothers might still retain custody after signing an agreement allowing them access to counseling for addictions as well as following through on getting help from these services (if necessary) .

4. Violating a Court Order

A mother’s custody rights can be lost or reduced should she violate a child custody order. When a parent disobeys their scheduled responsibilities, neglects court-ordered visitation times with the father, and interferes with his parental privileges they may face consequences such as losing legal custodial authority of her offspring.

If a shared custody agreement is ordered by the court, and she fails to comply or interferes with her co-parent’s parenting time, then she will be in violation of the court order.

Violations of court orders are like any other form of misconduct: the more serious the violation is, it should be treated with a correspondingly stronger punishment. Assume that a mother consistently misses deadlines for dropping off or picking up her child by only several minutes, this technically qualifies as violating an existing custody agreement but will rarely have drastic consequences on their custodial rights since these kinds of minor violations tend to carry minimal punishments in most cases.

A mother who decides that the court’s order providing specific parenting time is a suggestion and not a directive may violate their custody agreement. If this continues to happen, it could lead to losing custody of her child.

A father should keep a detailed log of every time his ex-wife interferes with or violates their court order. Every instance the mother keeps the child from him sabotages visitation plans, and more can be used against her in court to lessen her custody rights as punishment for causing havoc between them.

Fathers should be sure not to let the violations of a court order go without any consequences. The usual reason they do this is that they want to avoid conflict, but mothers will only see that as an opportunity for them to violate it more often and solidify in their minds that it’s just a suggestion instead of something she needs to follow.

5. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not just something that happens to other people. To protect your children, you should also know the signs of domestic violence that are exhibited by mothers. You do not have to put up with abuse and ensure that they stay safe from harm.

If a mother is deemed to be abusive, she can have her custody revoked. This will ensure that the children are not exposed to potentially harmful abuse and also protect them from potential future harm.

Domestic violence is emotional abuse that may turn physical with time. Children are in danger of being exposed to this if they come in contact with or spend significant time, living in the home. Courts are aware of this and will take action for your safety.

6. Severe Mental Health Issues

Mothers with mental health concerns still have the right to custody of their children, however, if a mother’s state endangers her child/children or compromises them in any way then she can lose that legal privilege.

In these cases, the court has to consider whether or not it is in their children’s best interests if they are left under a mother’s care. The father will have to show that her mental health issues compromise their safety and argue that without his presence, their well-being would be better protected. This can sometimes require extensive interviews by psychologists as well as counseling before any final decision being made so this process may take some time but should always remain fair for both parties involved.

Other ways considered by the Law for mothers to lose custody of their children:

  • Child Abduction
  • Parental Alienation
  • Lack of Involvement in the Child’s Care
  • Reporting Abuse by the Other Parent

The final and most important thing a mother can do is to seek the help of an attorney. There are many ways for mothers to lose custody of their children as a result of misconduct, but there are also attorneys that specialize in challenging such decisions. If you’re feeling like your child’s best interests may not be at risk due to this ruling, please contact one of our lawyers today. They will work hard on your behalf and make sure that your rights as a parent remain intact so that you have time to raise them with the love and care they deserve!

The post 6 Ways a Mother Can Lose Custody as a Result of Her Misconduct appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Single mom holding baby

How To Extend Compassion To Yourself as a Single Mom

Single mom holding baby


Sandra Bullock, Lucy Liu, and Charlize Theron are just a few Hollywood celebrities who effortlessly embraced motherhood without a partner. Though their parenting stories seem like a walk in the park, it’s not the same for everyone. No matter how glamorous their celebrity lives are, behind closed doors, their experiences are not all sunshine and rainbows.

Single Mom Compassion

According to the University of Oxford’s Marriages and Divorce fact sheet, single-parent households are among the most financially vulnerable groups. What’s more unfortunate is that, based on the same report, women are breadwinners in most homes. This fact has several implications, but the most glaring message is this – women bear the aftermath of their failed marriages.

The Pain of Ending a Relationship

It’s an understatement to say that a divorce or breakup is one of the most emotional and devastating experiences in a couple’s life. No matter the cause of the split, a separation can trigger all kinds of unsettling and painful emotions.

Even if both parties know their relationship is no longer serving them, giving up can be extremely painful. This is because the end of a relationship represents the loss of shared commitments, dreams, and partnerships. Couples start a romantic relationship hoping to stay together through thick and thin. When this fails, they experience grief, stress, and profound disappointment.

The breakup forces both parties to navigate uncharted territories. With everything in ruins, being sure about the future is challenging. You may start asking yourself what life would be without your partner. You may also wonder if you’ll find someone better than your ex. Most of the time, these uncertainties seem worse than being in an unhappy relationship.

On the bright side, uncertainty, disruption, and pain mean you’re moving forward. It may take time, and you must remember that you can endure the pain during this phase. Keep in mind that no matter how hopeless the situation may be, you can move forward and start anew.

What is compassion, and how can it benefit single moms?

It’s easy to express compassion and sympathy to other people, but often, it’s hard to extend the same to oneself. One of the leading reasons for this is that society equates compassion with wimpiness or indulgence. This is especially true for women undergoing a divorce. Aside from the pain of betrayal, they also face the responsibility of becoming single mothers.

According to Susan Pollak, Ed.D., of Harvard University’s Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, parents need self-compassion when raising children gets tough. Compassion means slowing down, forgiving oneself, and stopping yourself from shifting into judgment mode. It also means recognizing that you’re doing your best and have limitations.

Here are the reasons compassion is essential for single mothers.

Compassion means taking care of yourself

Most mothers feel like they’re bad parents for taking time for self-care. When you’re a solo parent, you do most, if not all, of the heavy lifting. This makes it hard to spend even a few minutes thinking about your needs.

Compassion teaches you to extend the same consideration and kindness you’d offer a friend. Many things could go wrong when you’re raising a child. You need to nurture yourself to tackle all these child-rearing demands.

Compassion is an antidote to grief and self-pity

Some parents think of compassion as being lazy, indulgent, or self-centered. They’re afraid their children won’t be disciplined or motivated if they’re not tough. They also think that too much compassion can end in self-pity.

Dr. Kristin Neff, Ph.D., author of the book “Self-Compassion,” suggests that self-compassion helps you cope with challenging situations like trauma and divorce. It also keeps you motivated, caring, and supportive in your relationships. In essence, it becomes an antidote to self-pity.

Compassion alleviates parenting stress

A recent study suggests that compassionate parenting exercises enabled mothers to show kindness to themselves. These exercises also allowed them to observe mindful parenting, helping them improve the mother-infant bond. Although this study focused on mothers experiencing post-partum depression, the stress level under this condition is similar to trauma-induced ones.

Ways for Single Moms To Practice Compassion

Your relationship may have ended, but it’s not your fault. This is the first and most compassionate thing you can do for yourself. A relationship is a two-way street. Two people must continuously stand up for each other, despite the odds.

No matter how hard you try, it won’t end well if you’re the only one fighting for the relationship. If the relationship ends, it’s on both parties. You can’t blame yourself for its imminent end. Realizing this sooner will help you accept the situation and move on faster.

Aside from this, here are ways single moms can practice compassion.

Allow yourself to grieve

Most people think that grieving is counterproductive. They believe that allowing yourself to mourn your loss is unnecessary and harmful. The truth is you’re human, and grief is a natural way to process any traumatic changes in your life.

Grieving allows you to free up the energy tied up to what you lost. By doing so, you replenish your energy to have something to re-invest elsewhere. Remember that until you allow yourself to process your grief fully, you’ll remain tied to your past.

Forgive yourself and your partner

Aside from grieving, you must also learn to forgive yourself and your ex. Hating might be an easier response, but it’s dangerous. You’ll have difficulty moving forward if you allow yourself to be consumed in anger. In the end, you’ll only be hurting yourself.

It’s healthier to come to terms with yourself and your lapses. You’re not perfect, but you’re doing your best despite this. In this circumstance, this is more than enough.

It will also benefit you if you accept that your ex is also human and highly susceptible to committing mistakes. They may have hurt you, but you don’t deserve the pain and betrayal. Your partner’s hurtful acts are a reflection of their values.

Remember that you’re not alone

Your family, friends, and children are waiting for you to reach out. Sometimes, the people who love you don’t respond as expected. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t care. Maybe, they don’t know how to react. They might feel that you need space for you to process your emotions. That’s why they take a step back.

On the other hand, some friends may be too clingy, but not because they think you’re weak. Maybe, they feel like you need them the most now that you’re having a tough time. Either way, never believe that you’re alone in your battle. Reach out to the people you trust and ask for help when necessary.

Practice an attitude of gratitude

When processing unpleasant emotions, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of your circumstance. This is normal, but remember that there’s always something to be grateful for, despite the situation.

You may have lost a life partner, but you’re also discovering how tough you are, even when alone. You may have to take the breadwinner role, but you also have many people offering unconditional help. By accepting the bad and counting the good, you’re showing yourself compassion. This helps you acknowledge that life will get better regardless of your circumstances.

An Ounce of Compassion Will Go a Long Way

It’s common for breakups, separations, and divorces to end badly. Even divorce law practitioners believe that every separation comes with a mourning period. However, these are just phases you go through. Keep these events from deciding how the rest of your life will play out.

The best way to start recuperating is by showing yourself compassion. Accept that you’re doing the best you can despite the odds. This may be a slow and tedious process, but you’ll soon wake up with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. This is a moment you should look forward to most.


Image by Alexander Grey by Unsplash


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What’s The Difference Between “Parental Alienation” and Toxic Parenting?

Let’s be completely clear about this. “Parental alienation” is a buzzword associated with the denial of sexual abuse of children. Toxic parenting, on the other hand, involves torturing children into hating a parent for an irrational reason. It is a cruel action, deranged and demented, from the parent who uses children as an instrument of […]

The post What’s The Difference Between “Parental Alienation” and Toxic Parenting? first appeared on Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts.


post-divorce anxiety in kids: anxious little boy sitting against a blue background

5 Ways To Ease Post-Divorce Anxiety In Kids

post-divorce anxiety in kids: anxious little boy sitting against a blue background


The stress of a divorce can manifest differently in children, just as it does in adults, and your kids will naturally experience some anxiety during this tough transition.

Age can be a factor in how they handle the stress. They may have big concerns about changing residences or schools, or how the holidays will change with two households—and anxiety around everyday stressors like test-taking can be exacerbated during this time.

The good news is there are ways that you can help relieve the pressure and help remove some of your child’s post-divorce anxiety.

Ways to Ease Post-Divorce Anxiety in Kids

Get Your Kids Moving

Encourage the same stress fighting activities in your children that you need for yourself. Make sure your kids are getting regular physical exercise, which gives them physiological benefits such as an endorphin boost and reduced anxiety.

Regularly participating in an after-school or community sports program or dance class can help kids get their minds off the divorce or other situational stressors that cause anxiety. Regular exercise doesn’t need to be expensive – you and your child can take walks or go running together, or even try out instructional YouTube videos on aerobic activities like Zumba or cardio kickboxing.

Spending that time together also is a great way to check-in with your child and offer the opportunity to talk about what’s causing them anxiety.

Test Time Can Trigger More Anxiety

The stress of a divorce can exacerbate the performance anxiety around testing that many children already have. Fear of failure can weigh on them heavily, particularly during a time when they may worry more about disappointing you.

Tests with higher stakes, such as final exams, can be even worse. Preparation is key. Talk with your kids and make sure you’re not making some of the most common mistakes on test day, such as not carefully reading directions. Prepping your kids before test day will help get them in the right mindset, as will a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast.

Let them know your expectations are reasonable and that you’ll love them even if they fail. Knowing you’re there to support them will help ease the pressure.

Walk Through the Changes

If your divorce involves shared custody, your child may have some anxiety over living in two places. They may be getting used to a new room, a new house, or a new neighborhood in addition to the major changes in the family structure.

Whenever possible, involve your child in discussions about the new living arrangements. Let them help decorate their new bedroom, whether it’s choosing a new comforter or a paint color to help make it their own.

Ensure they have some familiar things in the new space, either permanently or in a bag that travels from place to place. Eventually, staying in both places will become a new kind of stability, especially when you help create a sense of normalcy and routine.

Keep a Lid on Conflict

Even the most civil of marital breakups has its moments where the soon-to-be-ex-spouses can’t agree. Even without arguing, the tension can be palpable. If you need to have it out with your ex, do your best to take the discussion out of view of your kids.

Never use your child as a go-between or an emissary. Parental conflict can make a child feel caught in the middle, and anxiety increases. Even parents who stay together can cause a great deal of anxiety in their kids if they display a lot of conflict, so take heart in knowing that even with the divorce, you can make things easier by keeping conflict out of view.

If conflict is unavoidable, be sure to give your children lots of emotional support following any confrontations.

Talk It Out

Sometimes kids might be afraid to talk about how the divorce is making them feel for fear of making things worse or causing you trouble. Be sure they know your door is open, and that they know their well-being is a top priority for you.

Ensure they understand that the divorce is not their fault—kids may internalize perceived actions and reactions, and feel guilty over the breakup. Let them know it’s okay to have a lot of different feelings, even positive ones, and help them articulate what they feel.

Their anxiety will lessen if they know it’s not wrong to feel or not feel a certain way, whatever that may be. They may have a lot of questions, and you should try to be prepared for ones about where they’ll live and how the divorce may impact their routine, even if the answer is “I don’t know yet.” You can assure them that you and your ex-spouse are working on all of the answers for them.

Divorce is highly disruptive to a child’s sense of stability, and assuring them you want to keep it as least disruptive as possible can help them regain some footing. Knowing that you’re a constant support in their lives can help them get through times when anxiety seems to grow.

The post 5 Ways To Ease Post-Divorce Anxiety In Kids appeared first on Divorced Moms.


children are caught in the middle during divorce

What Happens When Children Are Caught in the Middle During Divorce?

children are caught in the middle during divorce


If you’ve been through a divorce or, you are thinking about divorce one of your main concerns will be how your divorce will impact your children. Study after study relates to the ways in which divorce negatively impacts children. It’s no wonder parents worry about their children’s welfare based on common information about the subject of children and divorce.

Divorce can negatively impact children but there are ways to keep that from happening. You should know that the impact your divorce will have on your children dependents mainly on how you and your spouse choose to treat each other during and after divorce and, how you choose to parent.

Children who witness conflict between their parents during and after divorce or, feel as if they have been put in the middle of that conflict are negatively impacted by divorce. If you want your divorce to do little harm to your children, it’s your job to keep down the conflict and keep them out of the middle of problems between you and your ex.

You may feel that conflict during divorce is unavoidable or the fault of the other parent, regardless of what you feel, it is imperative that you take the steps needed to keep your children from witnessing conflict and feeling stuck in the middle of two angry parents.

Below are 4 ways children are caught in the middle during divorce:

  1. When parents use their children as a messenger or a means of finding out information about the other parent’s home, dating life, and social activities.
  2. Negative comments about the other parent made by you, friends or family members.
  3. Sharing adult details about the problems between the parents. Details such as information about infidelity, legal divorce proceedings or the reason for the divorce.
  4. Garnering the child’s favor in an attempt to use the child to punish the other parent.
  5. Talking to the child about money issues. A late child support check, a lack of money needed to pay the rent…adult financial problems that children have no control over.

Divorce brings an end to your marriage, it doesn’t bring an end to your duties as a parent. One of those duties is to put a concerted effort into positively co-parenting with your child’s other parent. Below are a few suggestions that will help.

Choosing the parenting style that fits well for you and your ex will keep your child out of the middle:

Parallel Parenting After Divorce

If there is a lot of conflict between you and your ex, parallel parenting is appropriate. Why? Parallel parenting allows each parent to remain a part of the child’s life while reducing the need for contact with each other. When parallel parenting, there is very little communication which, in turn, keeps down the conflict and protects the child from being impacted in a negative manner.

When parallel parenting, parents:

  1. Communicate through email, a third party or an app like Family Wizard to stay informed about issues involving the children. Discussions are strictly about the children and no personal issues between the parents. Use of a phone to communicate is only done in cases of an emergency.
  2. Schedules such as visitation, vacations and holidays are strictly kept. There is no negotiating for different days and times to keep down the likelihood of conflicts arising.
  3. There is a set residency agreed upon or ordered by the courts. When the children are in the care of one or the other parent in their residence neither parent interferes with social activities, routines or anything that takes place in the other parent’s residence.
  4. Neither parent has any influence over the other parent and how that parent chooses to spend time with their children. If one parent has an issue with the way the other parent is choosing to parent in their residence, the court is used to settle the issue.
  5. Parenting is treated as a business arrangement. Common courtesy is shown at all times and agreements are honored because the sole purpose of parallel parenting is to do what is best for your children.
  6. When communication or negotiation is necessary, parents can choose to have a third party involved to witness and if needed mediate and conflict that arises.
  7. Child support payments are filtered through the court or a child support collection bureau to keep down any possibility of late payment or conflicts of over payments.

Cooperative Parenting After Divorce

Cooperative parenting works best when there is low conflict between parents and the parents are able to work together for the sake of the children. With cooperative parenting, there is more flexibility when it comes to visitation schedules and residency issues.

When cooperative parenting, parents:

  1. Parents form a friendly business relationship that revolves around the needs of their children. A courteous and polite relationship is one that will go a long way toward making sure children have what they need from each parent.
  2. Parents are able to talk, face-to-face about parenting issues as they arise. They are able to stick to the topic at hand without becoming distracted by old relationship issues.
  3. They don’t expect praise or emotional support from each other. They realize that part of their relationship has ended. But, they are able to show empathy and to support each other during difficult parenting issues.
  4. Keep all discussions about parenting, visitation, schedules and such to themselves and don’t involve the children. They come to a firm decision, as parents, before involving the children in their decisions.
  5. Are able to, at all times, put their children’s needs above their needs and feelings. Their relationship with the other parent is strictly about what is best for their children.
  6. Are able to communicate via phone or in person without engaging in conflict.
  7. Child support checks are mailed directly to the parent receiving the support. Due to their business like relationship, they both understand the importance of meeting their financial obligations to their children.

Whether parallel parenting or cooperative parenting, it is important to remember that one method is not better than the other. Each method will result in lower conflict and, as a result, better parenting. And, that is your goal as parents, better parenting and keeping your child out of the middle of your divorce issues.

The post What Happens When Children Are Caught in the Middle During Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.