The term “co-parenting” is VERY misleading when you are dealing with a narcissist! The prefix “co” implies some sort of “co-operation” as in two people working together…and let’s face it, there is nothing “co” about dealing with a narcissist.
Nothing causes a narcissist to move in for the kill faster than anything that is their target’s weakness. For most mom’s that is their children. We will do anything to keep our children safe which automatically makes them low-hanging fruit to our narcissistic co-parents.
Narcissists have no sense of value. In order to get a sense of value, they must suck it up from the people around them like a dementor from Harry Potter! This is their lifeblood. Without it, they think they don’t exist.
So, what is this lifeblood?
It comes in the form of money, compliments, or prestige….but it also comes from causing pain to people through devaluing and degrading them.
THIS IS WHY SHARING CHILDREN WITH A NARCISSIST WITH WHOM YOU ARE NO LONGER IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE!
It’s not easy to co-parent…much less if you are doing it with a narcissist (you know this already…I know).
Here are 5 Tips on Co-Parenting With A Narcissist (and attempt to preserve your sanity)
1. Create A Parenting Plan
One way to avoid conflict is by having a super-specific parenting plan. It’s important that the details of this document include what time your kids will wake up, where they’ll be for part days and weekdays (including school) when you can pick them up/drop-offs without worrying about traffic or other issues on their route home from an aftercare program — which would take place before pickup so no child gets left behind! You should also add info regarding travel plans such as whether vacations are during summer break etc., anything planned around birthdays & Mother’s Day celebrations father’s day…you get the idea.
The more clearly defined these details become early in life, the less fighting can happen later down the line… and the best part: this strategy works whether the OP (other parents) is a narcissist or not!
2. Set Strict Boundaries
Next, have super strict boundaries. One way to do that is by only having one form of communication: written correspondence with your narcissistic partner through an app on their phone (or computer). There are several on the market right now, and most have similar features. This will help you avoid toxicity and narcissism while still being able to communicate in order words–it’ll be like cutting them off at the source!
All communication should be in writing with a time and date stamp so that it can be downloaded and used as trial exhibits if needed. (Basic2Boss Note: Remember that ALL forms of writing are potential evidence in court…keep yourself in check so that your words don’t bite you later too!)
3. Document, Document, Document
Narcissists love to use the court system as a sword, but they are also manipulative pathological liars who can sometimes have impulsive outbursts. This is where having very thorough documentation will work against them…. their lies won’t hold up in a court of law if there’s clear communication between all parties involved before making decisions about anything concerning children or finances from this point forward.
Keep track of every detail including but not limited to what time the narcissist picks up and drops off the children, how often they ask for a schedule change (and if so why) when he/she is late without any explanation given–even though most people who are late have some sort of reasonable excuse. You also need information on whether or not this person fed their kids while watching them during parenting time; that way you know if there were issues with nourishment!
The smallest and most mundane details often show up later as patterns. Those patterns then become powerful leverage which may be very useful if there is ever an enforcement action or a modification of the custody case.
4. Keep Emotions in Check
Narcissists are master manipulators and they know how to tap into your emotions. They will send inflammatory messages perfectly, carefully curated in such a way that it’s guaranteed you’ll react badly–whether with anger or sadness! For example: “You’re so neglectful!” Your first reaction would be to defend yourself against this attack from someone who doesn’t have any empathy at all; however, the best response is staying calm while being firm but polite no matter what happens next. The best way for us not to get caught in an argument that can spiral out of control is by remaining cool & collected – never overshare on your socials!
DO NOT GIVE IN TO THEM!
When the narcissist’s supply source starts to dry up, initially their narcissistic injury will be inflamed, which will trigger narcissistic rage, but eventually, they will move on. They will realize that this source of supply is all gone so they’ll go off in search of new prey.
5. Expect Challenges
You can make changes to your expectations. If you go into a parenting situation expecting something bad to happen, then when problems arise it may not be as shocking or stressful for you since they’re already there prepared to deal with whatever comes up next rather than going into this unknown territory without any idea what will come about from one moment on end. Finally but most importantly: expect good things!
Co-parenting can be a challenge even if you’re generally agreeable. While some situations may seem particularly difficult when dealing with a narcissist, that’s just part of adjusting to the new normal in your family dynamic!
On A Final Note
Remember that narcissists won’t change. They are like wild animals. It is possible to build a fence around narcissists in such a way that they will be contained. When you co-parent with them and keep their behaviors under control, while never giving up on family time or quality interactions – it’ll become manageable which benefits everyone including children!
REMEMBER: You cannot change/control the narcissist, but you change/control yourself, your reactions, and your outcomes!
In this blog post, we’ve shared five tips for co-parenting with a narcissist. We hope these insights will help you navigate the process of co-parenting while keeping your sanity and self-respect intact. While some people might think it impossible to coexist peacefully with a narcissistic parent, that’s not true. You can get through this – even if they won’t!