If you’re reading this, it’s pretty likely that you’re wondering what this even means because you’ve never even fucking heard of it.
I’d never heard of it until I had to deal with it, either.
Believe it or not, there are two ways of ‘parenting’ when you’re separated – the first being ‘co-parenting’ and the second being ‘counter-parenting’.
“What’s the difference?” you ask.
‘Co-parenting’ is doing the utmost for your child with the help of the other parent. The main focus is your child and any negative feelings towards one another are pushed to one side because, ultimately, your child comes first.
‘Counter-parenting’ is quite the opposite – usually one (sometimes both) party/parties will make life extraordinarily difficult for the other parent; getting too involved in their personal life, causing arguments, threatening behaviour or ‘point scoring’. One usually has bad feeling towards the other, resentment or just being a horrid piece of work because they hate their own life, I guess.
Sound or feel familiar?
If so, keep reading.
Over the years, I’ve been made to feel worthless about my parenting – the fact that I’m completely honest and open about my mental illness means that it’s deemed ‘okay’ for people to say you’re an “unfit parent” or, heaven forbid I should stand up for my child without being labelled a “psycho”.
It gets used against me at every given opportunity.
I’ve been beaten down over stuff that doesn’t even apply to being a parent, trivial matters that are nobody else’s business but my own – how I look, who I speak to, who I see in my spare time.
I’ve been spied on in the school playground, you name it.
It sounds pathetic but over time, it grinds you down and it makes you feel incapable of doing the smallest of tasks – it took me a long time to realise that it wasn’t me with the problem and that the other person was ‘projecting’.
This is not okay and if you’re dealing with it, the good news is that you don’t have to anymore.
There’s a term called ‘Grey Rock’ – it’s usually applied when dealing with a narcissist/sociopath/stalker but it can also be used in this situation and this is how you apply it properly;
1. You talk only about your child – keep it as boring and mundane as possible.
2. Ignore any messages or comments that do not relate to your child.
3. Don’t be scared to report the person for harassment to the police – it is harassment, stand up for yourself because the longer you allow it to carry on, the worse it’ll get.
4. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that if what you’re doing is causing no physical or psychological damage to your child, what the other person has said is only an opinion and they can kindly go and fuck themselves.
5. Be factual and to the point – don’t swear, don’t get angry (even if you want to kill them) and don’t get personal. If you need to report them for harassment, police will see you as being “just as bad”, which is rather embarrassing and defeats the whole object. BOLLOCKS.
6. If all else fails, try to use a ‘mediator’ instead.
These techniques should, over time, discourage the said person to hurl further insults or abuse at you and put their child’s feelings first.
If the said parent then begins to hurt the child’s feelings to hurt yours, or, better yet, loses interest in their child’s life because they can’t hurt you anymore, then it’s time to cut all ties – for your child’s sake.
Just like I did.
The Unicorn in Black