By Believe Your Own Mind
Dealing with a toxic or narcissistic ex can feel like riding an emotional rollercoaster, with sudden dips and sharp turns that leave you feeling dizzy and disoriented. These mood swings can occur frequently, often on a daily or even hourly basis, making it difficult to predict how your ex-partner will behave from one moment to the next.

One moment they’re charming and affectionate, the next they’re angry and unpredictable. If you’ve found yourself wondering why your toxic ex has so many mood swings and why they seem to occur so often, you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll explore the underlying reasons behind these mood swings and offer insights into how to cope with them.

1. Underlying Personality Traits : Toxic individuals, particularly those with narcissistic or borderline personality disorder or traits, often exhibit extreme mood swings due to underlying issues with emotional regulation.

Example : Your ex-partner might shower you with love and affection one day, only to lash out at you in anger the next over a minor disagreement. This might be reacting without first pausing to employ self-regulation skills like taking a deep breath or taking a moment to slow down and first consider the consequences of their actions. Just because your ex may have trouble with self-regulation, does not mean you should allow yourself to be harmed by their actions.

2. Manipulative Tactics : Mood swings can also be a form of manipulation, used by toxic individuals to control and manipulate those around them.

Example : Your ex-partner might use their moodiness as a means of eliciting sympathy or attention from you, playing the victim one moment and the aggressor the next to keep you off-balance and under their control. As an example, they might exhibit moodiness when you bring up the topic of receiving child support to condition you to stop raising the issue.

3. Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem : Beneath the surface bravado of a toxic individual often lies deep-seated insecurity and low self-esteem. Their mood swings may be a reflection of their inner turmoil and feelings of inadequacy.

Example : Your ex-partner might become irritable or withdrawn when they perceive a threat to their ego or sense of self-worth. For instance, if your kids share with their other parent that they had a great time with you during your parenting time, or if you advocate for your kids by asking your ex to stop doing a particular behavior around the kids, you may notice a shift in their mood.

4. Lack of Empathy : Toxic individuals often lack empathy for others and have difficulty understanding or relating to the emotions of those around them. Their mood swings usually stem from a lack of emotional connection with others, leading them to prioritize their own needs and desires above all else.

Example : You share with your ex that the kids reported not receiving dinner while with them, or that the ex called them names. Your ex might dismiss your feelings or belittle your and their experiences, leaving you feeling invalidated and unheard.

5. Control Issues : Toxic individuals thrive on control and power dynamics within relationships. Their mood swings are often a manifestation of their need to assert control over others and maintain dominance in the relationship.

Example : Your ex might use their moodiness to manipulate you into complying with their demands or giving them what they want. They may give you the silent treatment when you’re about to take the kids on vacation, or when you’ve bought a new house, or when you don’t acquiesce to their request to change the parenting schedule in their favor. If you do give in to their request, you might find their attitude suddenly improves, if only for a moment.

So, how can you cope with a toxic ex’s frequent mood swings? Here are some tips:

1. Set Boundaries : Establish clear boundaries with your ex or co-parent and stick to them, regardless of their mood swings or manipulative tactics.

Example : When dealing with a toxic ex-partner who crosses boundaries by showing up unannounced, or who calls or texts you at all hours, it’s important to communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively. You can express that visits need to be scheduled in advance or that you’ll only accept calls during certain hours, and enforce consequences if they continue to disregard your boundaries. Consistency in reinforcing boundaries is key, and seeking support from others can be helpful in navigating this challenging situation.

2. Practice Self-Care : Focus on taking care of yourself and prioritize your own emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. The app Believe Your Own Mind provides inspiration and empowerment for mothers coparenting with a high-conflict, narcissistic, or toxic ex. The app helps victims clear the confusion and inner turmoil that comes from interacting with a toxic ex.

3. Stay Calm and Detached: When faced with your ex’s mood swings, try to remain calm and detached. Don’t engage in arguments or fuel the drama, as this only gives them more power over your emotions.

Example : To give yourself time to respond to your ex from a place of detachment, a) give yourself time to take many deep breaths first, b) only communicate in text, email, or a coparenting app like OurFamilyWizard or AppClose, c) don’t immediately jump to respond—give yourself an hour of wait time before replying, d) aim to keep your responses to just a few sentences at most, or to just a few words if possible, and e) consider responding with an appropriate gray rock statement from a list of grey rock statements you keep at the ready.

4. Use Co-Parenting Apps : Utilize co-parenting apps like OurFamilyWizard or AppClose to communicate with your ex-partner in a structured and controlled manner, giving yourself time to respond when you are ready, and minimizing opportunities for conflict and manipulation.

5. Focus on Your Own Growth : Instead of getting caught up in your ex’s mood swings, focus on your own personal growth and healing journey. Surround yourself with positive influences and work towards building a fulfilling and balanced life for yourself and your children.

Example : Join social media groups for those healing from narcissistic abuse or who are navigating the waters of coparenting or parallel parenting with a toxic coparent. Working with a therapist who understands the nature of high-conflict coparents is also beneficial.

In conclusion, understanding why your toxic ex has so many mood swings can help you better cope with their erratic behavior and maintain your own emotional well-being. Whether you’re using OurFamilyWizard, AppClose, or any other co-parenting app, Believe Your Own Mind complements your existing tools by focusing on your emotional well-being and mental clarity. By prioritizing self-care and setting boundaries, you can navigate co-parenting with a toxic ex more effectively and create a healthier environment for yourself and your children.

Remember, utilizing tools like AppClose, the best co-parenting app for high conflict situations, or OurFamilyWizard, among the best apps for co-parenting, can provide structure and organization to your communication with your ex-partner, reducing opportunities for conflict and manipulation in your co-parenting journey.

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