How to better draw the line between yourself and your toxic Ex


​How do you properly draw the line between yourself and other people? Are you confident that you can do so well enough?

Or does this correspond more to your current reality?

  • The toxic ex keeps calling during your contact time.
  • Or he just comes to your apartment when the child doesn’t want to go to the door of his own accord but prefers to stay at home with you.
  • Or he constantly wants to have more of something – of your attention, of your contact time and even of your things, if you have lent him something now and then.

But he’s not the only one playing this “want more!” game with you. Your child does, too. Your mother. Your new boyfriend. Your boss. Your colleague.

And you’re going around in circles.

Everybody wants something from you all the time.

How do you react?

Instead of distancing yourself, you think: “I don’t want to be like that. It’s just a little thing.”

But this little thing is actually not a little thing.

Those little things add up. To a pretty big pile of dung.

Time is certainly the first factor that comes to mind. After all, you have (at least) one child, a job, the household, and possibly stress with the court and all that running around. So time is extremely precious to you.

And yet, the thoughts that gather inside you when you have to deal with an encroaching request are almost more important to me.

Because while you rationally deal with the request and think “It’s really nothing wild now, I can give it to him” the soul immediately grumbles and sends you a signal in the form of an uneasy feeling.

You know what I mean, don’t you?

The soul is much faster with its signal than the head.

But the head is well trained and equipped with all kinds of phrases from the outside world, which you have adopted as a mother, because you constantly see and observe yourself from the outside: Namely, as a mother to whom someone has made a request (you and I know that the request comes in the dress of an encroaching demand, but from the outside it looks perfectly innocent).

The head thinks: now how does a “good” mother properly and appropriately respond to this?

Do you know?

A thousand things you’ve learned by now since you’ve been a mother are rapidamente present – all the expectations of the toxic ex, the expectations of the case worker in the youth welfare office, the expectations of the author of the latest bestseller for needs-based parenting, the expectations of your own mother or father, the expectations of the teacher, the expectations of the neighbors, and so on and so forth.

The only aspect that’s missing: the expectations you have for yourself.

Is it the same for you?

Do you also lack a clear picture of what kind of mother you want to be?

And not only that – but what kind of woman you want to be? What kind of work colleague, what kind of project team colleague, what kind of boss, what kind of employee?

Last but not least: What role do you want to play in highly toxic parenthood?

If all of this is currently in a fog and has not been clearly defined by you so far, then your boundaries are also out of reach – neither for you and certainly not for others.

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​Do you need boundaries at all?

Yes, you definitely need boundaries.

In fact, your inner self needs these boundaries with the utmost urgency!

And that’s why your inner self is also sending you these signals, “Hey! Nooooo!”

But since you haven’t listened to it yet, the voice is still very quiet and fades away against the loud din in your head à la “What’s the big deal? It’s just a little thing…”

What remains is confusion. Uncertainty. The feeling that something was wrong, but you can’t grasp it.

You think you’ve done everything right, but your core feels betrayed and sold out.

And even worse: while you think that you have fulfilled the expectations of the others with one or the other boundary-disrespecting concession, exactly the opposite is the case.

The others don’t really care what and how you decide something. It is quite possible that tomorrow they will have already forgotten what you made possible today.

The toxic ex doesn’t care twice – and no, the more concessions you make, the harder he will be to handle! On the contrary: he is getting hungrier for more and more. And he gets the confirmation that you allow everything – so he will demand more and more.

If at some point even your head says “Huh? WTF?” it is doubly and triply difficult to get out of the mess and to be able to lower the barrier confidently.

Where do you start drawing limits?

The best thing to do is to slowly feel your way to your limits.

First of all, get clear about what kind of woman and mother you want to be (see the other examples above).

Important: don’t be guided by how others see you in these respective roles!

So it’s about asking yourself:

What suits me? What is extremely important to me and therefore non-negotiable?

Sit down, take a pen and your favorite journal and write away.

Later you can type or draw the result and hang it somewhere where it will always be in front of your eyes.

Once you have created and clarified this image of yourself, the next question is:

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


How does the woman I want to be act and decide?

This is YOUR guiding question, sweetheart!

In all future decision-making dilemmas, this is the question that will help you get your own personal right answer that you can then use to set limits with your Ex.

If I know I have a certain image of myself as a loving, present mother, I can’t fill my rare free time with unruly requests for favors from my mother.

If I carry the image of a calm, confident ex-wife to a toxic narcissistic man, then it is easier for me to take steps to curb his communication rage and create mental islands for myself where he is not allowed to come.

If I know what role I want to take on at work that corresponds to me and my individual characteristics, then I can clearly separate myself wherever it does not correspond to this image. So I pull back from negative kitchen gossip when I want to be perceived as an expert in my field, and I don’t allow tasks to be put on my desk that don’t match my expertise or steal important time from my main task.

The clearer I am here, the clearer I appear on the outside.

And the magic can unfold….

You’ll find that after the initial stupor, people around you will begin to accept your limitations.

Your ex maybe not as fast as the others, but that doesn’t matter. He does what he wants anyway! This isn’t about him either, it’s about you!

You will see how good it does you when you already have one or two successes in small things.

The tone makes the music

The especially dear and empathic among my readers may think that delimiting is a harsh, direct, terrible thing.

Which of us empaths can be terrible?

Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, being shown boundaries rather brusquely when you’ve had a concern (our toxic ex-partners are usually very good at setting boundaries, after all).

But you can also set limits yourself very lovingly, clearly, and full of understanding for the other person.

You don’t have to become harsh or brusque, anyway!

“Yes, I understand. Nevertheless, I’m afraid I’ll have to decline your request, because this afternoon’s time for the boy is already firmly scheduled.”

“Okay, but I can’t take on that task at the moment. You still told me yesterday that the top priority is that project. I have already started it – everything else takes more time.”

“Honey, Mommy is going to finish her coffee now. When the big hand is on 12, we’ll play blind man’s buff, okay?”

And you smile at that.

Because it’s just a wonderful, liberating feeling when you live in harmony with your inner self and know your own limits and, above all, respect them yourself!

Remember: If you don’t do it yourself, no one else will either.

Are you already good at setting boundaries? How did you manage that? What boundaries are you not allowed to cross? Leave a comment below – the more ideas we collect here, the more helpful it will be for all the other moms who come after you. Thank you!

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