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How To Handle Emotionally Abusive & Toxic Exes

On ex-partners that continue to emotionally manipulate, abuse and attempt to control your life after you've left.

If you have read my first book 'Seconds Please' (you can find it here to read) then you will be aware in someways about my own personal journey through this since leaving my marriage in 2016.

I always like to umbrella statement over these things that of course, if you were to ask others or a someone in my life for their perspective on such things (or me even) that they may hold a different perspective entirely.

As they are allowed.

Each to their own journey.

But this is mine. I stand by it and I don't hesitate to voice it for this one reason.

The mind-blowing amount of women who experience this dynamic within their relationship and who still have to manage and work around it even after they have left their marriage or relationship.


Unfortunately the end of a marriage does not bring with it the end of the patterning that was present within it.




It's why I have very little hesitation in saying what I do and speaking about what I do, even though I receive a reasonable amount of shade in my inbox about my work and that I shouldn't be supporting divorce like I am.

I know that I'm only saying what people are keeping to themselves on the inside.

Everything I am going to share below comes from both my personal and professional experience in coaching women through this situation.

I want you to know that this situation is going to more than likely be an ongoing situation for you to manage and that sadly the only full relief that you may experience from it (or at least close to) is going to be when you have a new partner in your life who is fully present in your life as a stable presence or who you are living with.

But until then how to manage this scenario in your life...



We Must Take Full Ownership Of The Situation We Are In.


At some point of time in the past this person and their qualities was attractive to us and we were attractive to them.


If they are controlling, arrogant, entitled, a user or manipulative now for sure they were, even if in just little ways, in those early days when you met. Yes they have worsened over the years but if we look critically there was almost always evidence of this at the start, but we overlooked it, downplayed it or maybe we even liked it a little.

I liken this to the bully in the playground scenario to help us understand this. The bully knows how to pick out the other child in the playground who he can push around and try it on with. He can pick up on the energy of the child who maybe isn't all that confident, who is having a less than ideal or nurturing time at home. He does all of this without realising he does. We know this phenomenon to be true because so often if you move the child who is being bullied out of one school and place him into another school what happens? They are bullied again only in a different environment.

How is this relevant to this situation?


We must own the qualities within us that once made us attractive to a person who likes to be in control, be dominant and will manipulate to get their own way and to remain dominant and in control.


We must realise that they were attracted to us for a reason and this says something about ourselves also. Which isn't to blame us but we cannot overlook the other piece of the puzzle in the relationship...you.


And we must do the deep inner work to resolve all of what asking that reflection reveals about us.

The lacks and the voids and the beliefs we held about ourselves that their personality made up for in your eyes at that time.


This can be confronting to admit I know. But when we are able to see the situation and ourselves from this place is when we shift out of being a victim and into being in our power.


Stop Needing Them To Change For Life To Feel Better Or More Peaceful


How much of a challenge it is to motivate ourselves and open up to seeing our own wounds, foibles and traits within that we know need to be addressed.


How absolutely impossible it is to make someone see their wounds, foibles and traits when they have no interest or see no need.


Every individual lives their own soul life path journey and it is all we have control over. Release control over anyone else's. It's a futile use of your energy.


We can desire something for someone yes.


But never rely on it. Rely instead on your own ability to grow, evolve and become your best version of self that is no longer triggered or attracted to individuals like this.




Be Like A Grey Rock.


When we are in a conversation or situation with someone who is trying to trigger us emotionally so that we doubt ourselves, stay the same or feel inferior (enter your own personal situation here), I always ask my clients to be like a grey rock.


Be bland with your answers. Let your answers be even tempered, cool, calm and collected and not reactive. Present the facts and don't colour or embellish or add emotive language to the situation when you're in conversation. Be as boring AF as you can with your replies and don't bite. And however they react stay in the same vibration of being a boring, grey rock.

Understand that this person is often naturally more combatitive than you are. They probably even get a bit of a rise out of it all. So don't even try to outwin them in this arena.

Know your worth. Hold your ground. Stay true to the outcome or intention you hold in the situation. Be a grey rock.


Recommit To Yourself.


I made a commitment to myself when I left Perth that I was never again going to tolerate emotionally manipulative or controlling behaviour from someone ever again. I'd already drawn a line on it but this was the firmest, hardest line of no more that I've ever drawn in my own mindset. It was an absolute I'm not buying in to it or going to try and work with it ever again.

And this type of recommitment is going to be important for you.

Because if you have children with an ex-partner who is bringing this dynamic into your life when they are triggered then know that you are more than likely going to experience future reoccurrences of this dynamic. As they see fit!! When you are progressing or moving forward in your life, doing something they don't agree with or want. If they feel they are loosing control or superiority over you or the situation.

This situation is going to take a lot of resilience, confidence and a sense of empowerment greater than you potentially hold now. But I want you know that you can eclipse out of this dynamic and rise above it for the betterment of yourself. And rise above it again when you need to in the future.


It will take skills that you might not know now and a vision for your future grander than you have possibly created for yourself in this moment. But this is the pathway to rising above it.

We should never allow ourselves to be pushed around emotionally by bullies, whether we are in the playground as a child or in our personal relationships as adults.

With love to you if you find yourself in this situation.

Carla xx


If this has resonated with you then please look at my online program 'Newly Divorced'. This program was specifically created for women like you to heal from the trauma and patterning these types of relationships leave us with and to reach an empowered, confident place to overcome and move on from them. You can find more information here.


My greatest advice for you, please don't try to heal this on your own. While all emotional abuse and not physical, this is still trauma.