Entertainment Love and Romance How to Recognize a Toxic Ex Spouse Share PINTEREST Email Print E+/RapidEye/Getty Images Love and Romance Divorce Relationships Sexuality Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Cathy Meyer University of Florida Cathy Meyer is a certified divorce coach, marriage educator, freelance writer, and founding editor of DivorcedMoms.com. As a divorce mediator, she provides clients with strategies and resources that enable them to power through a time of adversity. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Cathy Meyer Updated September 23, 2017 The toxic ex-wife or husband doesn't respect the boundaries of their relationship with their ex. They have never really let go of their mates and will hang on for dear life all the while undermining your ability to co-parent with them and move on to a new life. Below are 7 tips and guidelines to help you recognize the actions of a toxic ex-wife or husband: They Don’t Respect Your Privacy Even though you are divorced they still feel they have a right to know what you are doing and who you are doing it with. You will be bombarded with questions about your life. Are you seeing anyone? Where were you over the weekend? Your children will be questioned about what you are doing with your life. The toxic ex-wife or husband has no problem using the children to find out information about you and your life. There is a difference between friendly interaction and an attempt to control, which is what the toxic ex wishes to do. They Interfere with New Relationships You’ve heard that old saying, “I don’t want you but I don’t want anyone else to have you.” You may find yourself divorced from someone who feels it is fine that they have moved on with their life but can’t stand the idea of you doing the same. This sort of ex will do whatever it takes to sabotage any new relationship you form. Which, in turn, makes it difficult to form new romantic relationships because not many want to be in a relationship with someone who has a crazy ex meddling in the relationship. They Will Use Your Children Against You This type of toxic ex comes in different forms. They may try and turn your children against you by bad-mouthing you and your actions to the children. Or, they go as far as abandoning their own children to punish you for some wrongdoing they feel you have done. They are willing to hurt their own children in an attempt to control you or get back at you in some way. This is a very dangerous and wounded individual. They Will Blame You for Their Unhappiness It doesn’t matter what they are unhappy about, you will get the blame. If they treat their children badly and cause their children to become angry, you will be blamed. If they lose their job, have car trouble or just can’t seem to catch a break, you will be blamed. You may go months at a time without seeing them or talking to them but, you can bet that if something goes wrong, you will be blamed. They Will Try to Plant Seeds of Doubt You will hear comments projecting failure on your part as a result of your inability to hold the marriage together. They will say and do whatever needed to undermine the goals you set for yourself. Some will go as far as predicting failure for the goals their children set. This is symptomatic of a vengeful and manipulative mindset and any comments from such a person should be ignored. They Will Use You as an Excuse for Their Own Bad Behavior If they choose to ignore the needs of their children, you can bet it will be because of something you said or did. To be able to live with their own bad choices they have to alleviate the guilt by making it appear that they had no choice. All their bad choices are made based on some wrong you did them...in their head, anyway. They Will Use the Court System to Stay Engaged They will defy court orders knowing you will take them back to court. This is a passive/aggressive way of keeping a connection to an ex-spouse. They get to use the court system to punish you and, to stay connected with you. This is one great reason for making sure you have a good settlement agreement before you sign your divorce papers.