Is your toxic Ex’s Next a better match for him than you?

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I’ve already written about your Ex’s Next and my recommendation on the best way to deal with your Ex’s new partner several times – for instance, in this article here.

I have to come back to this topic now because there is another issue that I would like to address in detail.

Even if the majority of mothers have different problems with their toxic ex as opposed to the ex’s new girlfriend or wife, I remember having these very thoughts myself after the break-up and finding them agonizing.

So what’s it all about?

Now, after a long process, you’ve finally broken up with him – or he’s broken up with you – and moved out. You bravely tackle the steps that lie ahead: Furnishing your new apartment, moving house, getting used to your new everyday life with your young children.

No, you never wanted to be a single parent! That was always your nightmare, and it was only out of fear of how you were going to manage it all alone with the small children that you stayed with the toxic, narcissistic father for longer than you should have.

But immediately after your move, you are so relieved to find that a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders:

You come home after work and don’t have to justify yourself.

You no longer have to worry about his temper tantrums and antics.

You no longer have to live up to his expectations.

No more tiptoeing around.

You can put the vase exactly where you want it to be.

And yes – you can even paint your walls a different color because you feel like it!

Wow – what a new attitude to life and what freedom! Your soul is noticeably starting to recover.

Of course it’s also exhausting – but as he didn’t look after the children before, you basically have the same day-to-day work with the kids as before. You just have to bear the additional costs as a single mommy, which is definitely a real stress factor, and you have to give the children more mental support in adjusting to the new everyday routine, but that’s about it.

So you feel increasingly confident that your decision was the right one.

And suddenly, after just a few months, your ex’s Next shows up. The Ex is thrilled and comes over to your place holding hands with her to pick up the kids for his contact weekend.

She’s beautiful, younger and much slimmer than you.

Or she’s average-looking, older and fatter than you.

She has a great job and earns more money than you (he rubs this in your face in an email).

Or it’s the girl before you.

WTF?

And instant thoughts come up that make you feel extremely insecure.

You know 100% that the Ex is highly toxic and has emotionally destroyed you during your relationship. You don’t want him back, never, never ever back again!

And yet… you feel hurt and betrayed.

Crazy, isn’t it?

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The narcissist’s love bombing phase

The beginning of your love story plays like a movie in your mind’s eye.

How he desired you back then! How he admired you! What a high pedestal he built for you!

He admired you for your achievements, which you were justifiably proud of back then.

He compared you to his former girlfriends and especially liked your blonde (or brown or red hair).

He made fun of his ex before you, who always baked cakes that were too rich and therefore looked correspondingly well-fed.

Or the ex is over 10 years older than him and had older kids from before him.

The bottom line is that you thought: Now he’s finally found the woman who really suits him – that’s ME! I’ll do everything I can to make him happy!

And so they lived happily ever after….

CUT!

Do you notice anything?

During the Love-Bombing phase, you were sucked in, given a false sense of security, and manipulated to the hilt. Just like your predecessors and all your successors were, and still are, being manipulated.

But now you’re racking your brain to see if the next girl might be the one who suits him better than you.

The one who will turn him into a loving, balanced man.

That’s what he’s always accusing you of: that he’s only so unbalanced and angry with you because you haven’t tried hard enough. He must be really freaking out if you keep making these demands of him! If you were better behaved, he wouldn’t have to resort to these methods!

Oh, and anyway, you alone are to blame for the failure of the relationship – didn’t you promise to make him happy, to be available for sex whenever he wants and to keep the house clean? Wasn’t that the deal? He goes to work and keeps you out of the equation so you can look after the kids and the house, and yet you’re so ungrateful!

Anyway, now there’s the new girl, and she’s likely to put in a lot of effort. Especially as she probably still thinks she’s hit the jackpot: such a great guy! And such cute little kids!

Incidentally, that’s the key word: small children.

The situation is even more difficult for us empathic mothers with a toxic ex-partner if the children are still young.

After all, there was another phase in your relationship that is now causing you repeated resentment: When you were looking forward to having a baby together during your pregnancy.

What plans you made! You visited other friends with young children and he dutifully played with the kids. Everyone had fun because – it’s showtime!

Everything seemed perfect. You saw yourself raising small children with the man of your dreams in a house with a garden, with a slide, ball, dog and coffee and cake on Sundays with the neighbors and their kids, including a fun barbecue.

Like this.

And now this picture actually seems to be coming true. Only it’s not you who’s running back and forth between the terrace and the kitchen to serve the neighbors and prepare the potato salad, but the Next.

At least your children are jumping around each other, because it’s daddys’ weekend. Do the others sitting around the barbecue know that she’s not the real mommy? It’s quite possible that not everyone knows. But they do see your 2-year-old stumble, fall down, bang her knee and get a band-aid from her stepmom with a few words of comfort.

Who, by the way, is really thriving in her role as second mommy as she secretly wants a child herself and dreams of a big patchwork family.

Uaahh – the Next is living your dream!

Really?

Sweetheart, let me assure you – the Next is never living your dream. At most, she’s living your nightmare.

Please realize one thing: your thought carousel still reflects the aftermath of your Ex’s manipulation.

  • You’re secretly asking yourself:
  • What if he’s right after all?
  • What if I really didn’t care enough about the relationship?
  • What if I’m not good enough to be the partner and mother of his children?
  • What if I didn’t pass the big everyday test and was rightly treated badly and sorted out?
  • And above all: what will the others think of me who witness all this? The neighbors, his relatives, our mutual friends?

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

 

​How do pathological narcissists actually manipulate their partners?

During the getting-to-know-you phase, narcissists slowly feel their way forward and explore the weak points in the woman’s self-esteem and her unfulfilled needs. As soon as they have found them, they latch onto them.

From then on, they respond to this aspect accordingly in the subsequent love bombing phase.

You will notice this as the pedestal on which you stand grows ever higher or wider.

This is followed by words of affirmation (“You’re so great at this, much better than my Ex!”) and you see his shining eyes full of admiration.

If you had a certain idea of who your dream man was beforehand, he will initially do everything he can to match it.

Until you’re hooked and can’t get away so easily.

One important thing you should know: He adapts to each woman individually.

He’s like a chameleon in the getting-to-know-you phase, always ready to sell himself as the man of your dreams first and fill any gaps in the woman’s self-esteem.

It gets even worse when, after the relationship, the holes in the woman’s self-esteem have become real craters in which he digs around all the more – after all, he knows her very well, if not even better than the woman herself!

 

What you can do yourself to stop letting these thoughts drive you crazy

In a nutshell: Ask yourself other questions.

For example, you could reflect on these questions in your journal:

What “hole” in my self-esteem do you think the ex found and answered back when we were getting to know each other?

What did he say to me that particularly drew me in at the time (and to which I initially reacted in disbelief)?

And further: What is now completely turning around and claiming the opposite, that is now hitting me harder than anything else?

Bingo – then you’ve got it.

You can continue to work on this and gradually make sure that this hole closes. Yes, even if it’s been there since you were a child – today you have many opportunities to get help or learn to fill this gap yourself.

This will remain your life’s work. But don’t worry – it’s not a Sisyphean task! It is already a first step if you know where narcissists can latch onto you.

Being mindful of yourself is half the battle.

 

I would also like to invite you to try an experiment

Simply look at your ex’s relationship life like a theater play.

You’re sitting in the front row. You know the lead actor very well, the supporting actors less so.

Since you’re sitting in the front row, you can see very clearly how the lead actor is sweating under his mask with his overly made-up face in the spotlight.

You make a mental note of it, but it doesn’t really affect you. It’s simply not important why the person on stage is sweating like that.

Nor are you interested in what the other audience members in the theater think about it. Maybe you wonder if your neighbor to the right sees the beads of sweat – but of course you don’t talk to her about it. Why would you?

You can assume that at some point the curtain will fall and the play will be over.

But please do yourself a favor and don’t keep jumping on stage – you’re not the director, you’re just the audience in this lousy play.

But you can consider writing a review about it, which only your children can read later.

In conclusion

On that note, Sweetheart – don’t worry about the Next and the idea that you’ve been replaced.

The Next has her own shortcomings, you can count on that. Her path is even longer than yours, she still has to go through all the junk you’ve already gone through.

Of course the great manipulator will continue to manipulate you. You’ll learn to deal with that over time.

You are on the bright road, my dear.

Just look forward and walk towards the light.

 

I look forward to your comment below if you liked this article. You are also welcome to share it if you think it will help other moms too.

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