Co-parenting with a narcissist: signals, challenges & tips
When co-parenting with a narcissist, things can get heated. The good news is that the situation does not have to be as bad as you imagine. In this read, you will learn how to co-parent with your narcissistic ex and make life enjoyable for your kids.
It is no doubt that parenting is a tough job. Co-parenting is even more challenging, and things are thicker when you are doing it with a narcissist. Many parents that have found themselves in such situations give up as they view this as an impossible task.
You will have to work together with your narcissistic ex-partner for the sake of your children, but it does not have to be a horrible experience. Here is how to go about co-parenting with a narcissist.
The cons of co-parenting with a narcissist
The thought of sharing your kids with a narcissist can be sickening. However, you cannot change the fact that they are part of your kid’s lives. Many challenges come with this, and it is vital to understand them for you to adjust accordingly.
Successful co-parenting requires cooperation from both partners. The experience entails splitting child custody and the time you spend with your children, including holidays.
However, you understand that narcissists are anything but cooperative. They think that they are too important and are in constant need of too much attention, not to mention their lack of empathy.
Turbulent relationships also characterize their history. You can already tell that dealing with narcissistic parents is extremely difficult.
In some cases, your ex might even brainwash your children and turn them against you. There might also be problems with agreeing to custody arrangements and even messing up your child’s appointments, routine, and property. All this is so that your ex can be in control. While this can be tiring, you need to try and work things out.
Pointers for co-parenting with a narcissistic ex-partner
Having known the challenges involved with co-parenting with a narcissist, you might still be in doubt that it will work. The following are useful tips to help you gain back control and raise your children together.
Create a legal parenting strategy
Narcissists mostly want to dictate matters, and having a written agreement will do you good. You can engage your lawyers and have them draft a custody agreement that works.
Hence, if your ex goes against any of the legal demands, then the law can deal with him. Getting a good lawyer is mandatory if you want to work with a reasonable plan. It might be costly, but it will make your parenting journey smooth.
Your parenting strategy should be as detailed as possible and include everything about your child. Ensure you include medical cost payment, visitation schedules, education payment, and all other aspects of your kid’s day to day activities.
Work with the courts
Courts help thousands of people to co-parent with narcissists effectively. The GAL (guardian ad litem) is appointed by the court to look after your child’s interest. You can ask for one if need be.
The appointee interacts with your children and understands them, and recommends what is best for them. The GAL can give insights regarding how much time each parent spends with the child or who should live with them.
Courts have mediators as well, and they facilitate communication and dispute resolutions between parents. They do not give counsel or court orders. Their job is to help parents to work together in different elements, including creating parenting plans. Once the plan is presented in court, a judge can give a court order.
Lower your expectations
You already anticipate hardship while co-parenting with a narcissist. Hence, you must not expect too much from narcissists. Understand that co-parenting is challenging and be ready to tackle the problems head-on.
It might not be easy to stay away from parenting drama, but you must remember to put your child first. Try viewing things from your child’s point of view and respond to situations in a way that prioritizes their feelings.
More so, understand that the narcissistic parent might offer positive support to your children, and you should not deny them that.
Establish and maintain strict boundaries
When you set up firm boundaries, you ate likely to limit your ex from getting into your nerves. For instance, you can decide to only communicate via email to avoid phone call confrontations. You will also be able to document the emails.
You can also extend the boundaries to the relationship your ex has with your kid. If your agreement permits, consider setting a specific time for your ex-partner to call or visit your kids and be firm. The narcissist might overreact at first but will eventually learn to accept the boundaries.
Do not engage in negative talk about your ex in front of your kids
Avoid speaking ill of your ex when your kids are around. Children raised by narcissistic parents go through a lot, and you need to protect them. When you paint a bad picture of the other parent, your kids develop unnecessary pressures, and they have to deal with staff that they did not need to know in the first place. You also create bad blood between them and their parent, and you might regret it later.
When co-parenting with a narcissist, keep emotions out of your relations. Your narcissistic ex will probably want to see you upset, and you should not give them that satisfaction.
Think with clarity
In case of an argument, use the third party to communicate if possible and keep your kids away from your arguments. Also, your mentality needs to be right. You will not be on the same page all the time, but you still have to collaborate. Therefore, you must find ways of working together peacefully.
If you feel like you have tried your best and it is not working, consider counseling. A certified therapist can help you work out your issues and find viable solutions to problems that you think of as impossible.
It helps if both of you express what you feel to a neutral person who can help you reason clearly. You can take your child for therapy as well.
Co-parenting with a narcissist might seem unbearable, but many have done it, and so can you. Follow the tips herein and have the best parenting experience.