When your toxic Ex is suddenly nice to you


Do you believe in change? Do you believe that people can change, i.e. become insightful and then make every effort to improve their circumstances and their lives and make up for past mistakes? Who don’t just pay lip service to it, but actually move forward step by step and make a transformation happen?

I believe in it. In fact, I am more than convinced of it.

It really is possible!

I see a lot of mothers embarking on this journey.

Who say to themselves: “I can’t go on like this. I have to change something. I’ll start with myself. Step by step.” And you can literally see how these women change. How they become calmer and calmer. More mature. More confident.

They look at the mistakes they made in the past – in dealing with their ex in the relationship. In dealing with their ex after the break-up. In dealing with their children.

They realize how they were conditioned from an early age to always be nice and well-behaved and to please everyone. That it was precisely this behavior that drove them into the arms of a narcissistically disturbed man.

They understand the connection between the helplessness they feel towards their ex and their thinness of skin after one of his mean things when they react more violently than they want to to their children, who are testing their boundaries. Even though they know that they should be calm and level-headed with their children!

At some point on their journey of reflection, they realize that they no longer need to be ashamed. Because they are so well educated and know a lot about psychology, therapy and education, and yet they still fell for such an extremely evil man. They understand that it was almost inevitable.

They understand that they were part of a magnetic couple.

And finally they realize more and more. They soak up everything to prevent such a nightmare from happening again. They learn a hell of a lot about their self-worth, about their triggers, about their needs and values.

They gradually transform their perspective – away from the helplessness they feel and towards the options they have to grab them by the scruff of the neck and never let go.

Towards the options that they can control.

Because the need is great. Because their suffering affects not only themselves, but above all their children.

So something has to happen. Something MUST change. But only THEY THEMSELVES can change.

And these mothers are taking action. Tentatively at first, with small baby steps. Then bigger and bigger and more determined.

It is a joy to be able to watch such a transformation.

Yes, I really believe in it. People can change!


With one exception – narcissistically disturbed personalities

A very important characteristic of a narcissistic personality disorder is the lack of ability to reflect.

“What – me??? I’m great – the others are crazy! I’m perfect, I have no faults! If only everyone was like me, there would be fewer problems in the world!”

When they are forced into therapy due to external pressure, they don’t really know why they are there. So they don’t cooperate, the therapist’s words don’t touch them and pass from ear to ear.

If they see themselves as a victim (and we know that, don’t we?), then they expect the therapist to cure that. But pronto.

Only others have a duty – to help and serve them, if you please – but they themselves have all the rights.

This arrogance has a purpose – their soul protects their self-image, because their self-worth is even lower than our own, which is already shitty when we are at the beginning of our journey.

Only while we empaths secretly say to ourselves “Oh, I’m not worthy of being treated well / paid good money for my work / allowed to set boundaries / allowed to have quirks or special preferences” the pathological narcissist is more likely to say to themselves “I expect you to reflect an inflated value to me that I don’t actually have, but woe betide you if you don’t!”

So far, so good.

Now you’ve been separated for a while, you’ve had a hell of a ride with your ex.

You’ve already learned a lot about what makes him tick and, above all, how he ticks off and how he can pull the puppet strings of everyone involved, including the children.

You’ve seen the brazen lies he can tell in court without batting an eyelid.

You’ve seen him maliciously fail to pay you maintenance here and there, so that you’ve had to run around with the authorities again or get into financial difficulties because maintenance is such an important part of your day-to-day finances.

You saw the hatred on his face after there was an escalation over some little thing just before the child was handed over. That grimace that almost blew you away with its force and negative energy.

And you hear the stories he tells the children at the contact weekend and how perfidiously he tries to manipulate even the youngest ones, because the children ask you why you’re always so angry with poor dad.

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And suddenly he’s nice to you?

Suddenly you get an understanding and nice email from your ex, written matter-of-factly and without reproach.

Maybe even an apology. Or rather: some kind of apology, since he’s having a hard time with it.

That he’s sorry that the argument has escalated so much in the last few months and that he doesn’t understand how it could have happened.

And that you could try again for the sake of the children to work things out between you?

Oh Lord – he has changed! He has realized it! Everything will be different now. Hallelujah!

You can hardly believe it and rub your eyes in amazement.

Sweetheart, this is a trap. Watch out!

As a rule, we have waited so long for a peace offer that we tend to run over to the opposing camp with waving flags and open up all the flanks again.

We can already see ourselves drinking coffee together while the children run around happily in the garden because the parents are finally getting on well again and being nice to each other!

Without you moving back in with him straight away – you’re already happy that you’ve made it this far – but at the bottom of your heart you still have the image of cooperative parenthood, in which everyone treats each other wonderfully harmoniously and respectfully in a patchwork, but everyone is allowed to lead their own lives.

And the children can grow up unscathed and loved, without having to constantly turn the wheel.

Say goodbye to this image, my dear. Let go of it for your own protection.

You can’t do that with a toxic, narcissistic ex-partner. There are certainly men with whom this works, no question. If not in real life around us, then at least from the shallow TV series in the early evening program.

But with yours? Think about it. What does your gut tell you?

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


The risk for you

The tricky thing about his allegedly nice and ostensibly well-intentioned peace offer is that the ball is now in your court.

If you don’t agree with him, you’re the bad guy. He’s always said that, but if he then sees a negative attitude on your part à la “Piss off!” in writing, he can show it to everyone out there: “Here, look!!!! That’s the kind of girl she is! She doesn’t want peace!”

Don’t worry about it, sweetheart. He will only ever claim what does justice to his manufactured self-image in front of third parties.

There may well be a cold, strategic rationale behind this. You may be in a stalemate in court and he wants to reach an out-of-court settlement that saves him money or gives him an advantage that you can’t see at the moment.

In this case, you need to stay alert and react smartly if necessary.

The rule is: don’t give him any opportunities in your new life that he can sink his fangs into. Don’t open your flanks!

In other words, the more he learns about you again in a cozy chat, the more he can hurt and humiliate you again later with this knowledge.

You have to assume that he will do this.

What’s the best way to react when your toxic ex turns into a nice ex?

After all, you don’t want to rekindle the fire of conflict that has obviously gone out.

Be happy that it’s not hate mail. A nice ex is also nice sometimes, and may also be worth a line in your gratitude journal.

After a while (always sleep on it), you can reply to him that you’re happy that he’s found a new way to talk to you and that you hope it continues like this in the future. In any case, it shouldn’t be a problem with you.

If he wants something concrete from you – a concession, a written agreement, a joint meeting without a third party, your participation in a celebration with his family – then stick to it as a guide:

1) The boundaries you have set for yourself remain untouched. This is the protection you have painstakingly built up, please don’t forget about it!

I’m talking about everything that falls under the golden “No Contact!” rule:

  • The separate email inbox
  • No visits to your apartment
  • No joint activities
  • No joint celebrations etc. pp.
  • and everything else you have already established.

2. written agreements only via your lawyer and not written by yourself at the kitchen table

If he is truly remorseful and reformed, then he will understand and not be afraid of a good agreement that is fair to both of you.

You can recognize a person who has changed for the better by the fact that they want the best for others and treat them with respect and appreciation.

This is expressed in many little things. Your gut will tell you faster than your head whether the behavior is right or wrong.

So it’s best to react the way you always do

That is, objectively and confidently, without justification and preferably in a friendly manner.

How would you speak or write to a client in a business transaction? That should set the right tone without you having to be accused of anything.

Time will tell how long the nice phase lasts. In my case, it lasted almost three years.

Just enjoy it. It also gives you time to take a deep breath!

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