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Are You Co-Parenting with a Hidden Agenda?

by Michele Germain, LCSW

Divorce or a breakup of a significant relationship can be a devastation ordeal and make co-parenting a huge challenge akin to climbing Mt. Everest. But, no matter what has taken place in your previous relationship or the settlement agreement you must be steadfast in your commitment to co-parent from your “higher self” instead of from your unresolved pain. Your children’s emotional, physical and spiritual well being is what is important.

Co-parenting from your higher self or spiritual center in my opinion is doing what is in the highest good of your children. It is following your heart and head instead of acting out from your pain of the past injustice, betrayals, or an unreasonable settlement. You may have strong justification for feeling angry and betrayed. And it is a common human feeling to want to hurt someone who has hurt you. To rise above, and let go of whatever injustice you may have experienced, takes self-honesty, courage, inner reflection. It requires you to go within and becoming fully conscious, confronting any feelings of revenge or anger, that maybe hidden and spilling over into your co-parenting.

You may or may not be completely conscious of this acting out, or blinded by your emotional pain. It is extremely important, that you do this inquiry, with self-love and self-compassion, instead of judgment and self-condemnation or guilt. As you uncover your inner demons, you will become the master of yourself, instead of a victim to your past.

  • How do you parent? When you co-parent, do you come from your higher self or do you come from your pain?

  • Do you harbor unresolved feelings that get acted out when you interact with your “ex” over the business of the children? Or, do you take your left over pain and express or share it with the appropriate people in a healthy way?

  • When you co-parent do you feel tense, agitated, outwardly angry, acquiescent, or combative and uncooperative? Or do you try to negotiate your differences, and practicing flexibility, patience in spite of how your ex-partner behavior is?

  • Do you try to over control wanting to have complete charge of the children and all the decisions, or manipulate trying to get your way indirectly? Or, are you willing to be flexible?

  • Are you expressing negativity to your children about their mother/father? Do you send messages through your children involving them in the middle of disputes? Or, do you shelter them from your anger and resentment, attempting to express the truth of what is occurring without any negative description or details of disputes?

You may have many opportunities to review your behavior, when you are faced with difficult situations. Here are some situations that may trigger you and send you into a hidden agenda mode, stirring up the old pain and causing you to behave in a way that is not in the best interest of your children. Review the following situations and ask yourself how you manage them. What do you do with your feelings? How do you talk to your children when these events occur? How do you interface with your “ex” if you are faced with any one of these events?


  • When your child or marital support is late.
  • When your “ex” has a new partner.
  • When you are home alone while you’re “ex” is traveling with the children, buying them things to gain their love.
  • When you see that your “ex” has a easier job, a bigger home, more money, more time to enjoy his/her life
  • When your “ex” does not hold up to his/her responsibility in taking time with the children
  • When your “ex” lies about you to your children or tries to sabotage your attempt to discipline the children.
  • When you cannot agree or get any cooperation.

There are so many difficult events that can occur as you go about the business of co-parenting. Or, you can have an ex-spouse, who is cooperative and flexible and still be holding onto feelings of resentment that are hidden. Whatever is occurring in your life situation as a co-parent, it takes a strong soul to stay heart centered. Here are some tips to help you stay grounded as you co-parent from your higher self.


  • Remind yourself that it is not your responsibility or job to fix, punish, or change your “ex”. Accept the ways you are different and do not compare.

  • Stop asking yourself or others “how or why”, your “ex” does what he/she does.

  • Let go of your obsession with your past, and identify what can and can’t be changed.

  • Consider that you are on a spiritual path of moving from a closed and angry heart to a pure loving heart which is your natural state.

  • Forgive yourself for what you think you should have done differently, and love yourself for all your efforts and courage as you move through the task of parenting.

  • Know that the truth does not change know matter what your “ex” says or what the court decides.

  • Find your spiritual center in whatever way that works for you. Church, readings, music, nature are only a few ways to seek the spiritual wisdom within.

  • Ask for guidance and courage to co-parent from your higher self instead of from your wounded self.

  • Praise yourself and honor yourself for all your efforts.

If anything is going to change in your life you must first change yourself. If you let go of the hidden negative agenda’s and come from your higher self you and your children will benefit. Here is where wisdom and strength to co-parent comes from and where you become the master of yourself instead of a victim to your past. You are the healthy role model your children need in order for them to live the life they deserve. Your divine nature is an essential element of your being, it only gets covered over with hurt and emotional pain.

Michele Germain, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and certified bioenergetic analyst with over twenty-five years of experience. As a specialist in divorce recovery for the last decade, she has written articles and conducted workshops on the topic, and has been interviewed on television and radio programs. More information on her work can be found at