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Parenting is never easy, co-parenting is an even more difficult challenge, but co-parenting with a narcissist? It's downright maddening. Those who co-parent with a narcissistic partner surely know how these individuals with massive personality disorders tend to push you around and test your patience.
It's all those things you hate that they dish out when co-parenting, like a less structural parenting methodology, complete lack of respect, and empathy. But you are not to lose heart or give because in all the trials, the best thing to focus upon is your child.
Even when the narcissistic co-parent is intolerable of your feedback and criticism, does not allow compromises and mutual agreements and does everything to bring you down with their negativity, do not give up.
There is always a way out and in this case, it is acting smartly to make the situation work till your child eventually grows up. Here are some of the best tips to help you cope with co-parenting with a narcissistic person.
One thing about narcissists is always wanting to be in the picture, whether or not they've contributed equally to earn that place. The smartest move on your part is to prepare a legal custody agreement or parenting plan so that there is written proof of everything.
You cannot imagine how handy this document will be when your narcissistic co-parent starts demanding more time with the child or tries to gain the upper hand in certain situations. Let the legal plan clearly states visitation schedules for the regular routine and the holidays as well, the parent who'll bear the medical costs etc.
You must write down all that your custody agreement covers in detail so that the narcissist does not exploit any gray area later on.
Draw firm boundaries and make it very clear that you will have zero tolerance if the other tries to cross it. Whether good or bad, the boundaries will limit the narcissist's involvement and say in your life and also the ability to rile you up.
A great idea is to limit your communication to texting or emailing only. This way you get sufficient time to plan your response and also communicate only as much as is needed. Besides, this is also a good way of documenting the other's words, if you ever need any evidence in the future.
Remember, the boundaries can stretch as far as you see fit. If you also want to limit the kind of relationship your narcissistic ex shares with your child, your boundaries can do so.
You can schedule times the ex can meet or talk to your child during visitations in your court agreement.
Till will prove how wise this move will be on your part.
The court provides an option of appointing a GAL (Guardian ad litem) for your child. This is a neutral person who undertakes the responsibility of looking out for the best interests of your child and you must make it a point to choose one.
The guardian, after learning of your child and his/her situation will have the authority to recommend things for your child's needs to the court. In the case of co-parenting, these recommendations include things like how much time to allow the child with each parent and where the child must spend of his/her time etc.
Apart from this, you also allow the court to appoint a mediator to intervene for communication and resolution if need be between you and the other co-parent. Some custody disputes require a mediator while others make it optional.
Co-parenting with a narcissist will definitely be a trial but you must refrain from voicing out your ill feelings, especially in front of the kid. The important thing to remember is that your child belongs as much to them as to you and it is not fair to fill your child's mind with bad images of the other parent.
If nothing else, convince the narcissist to be courteous and polite always towards you and vice versa in the presence of your child. Don't let your conflicts or name-calling episodes break out in front of your child because the impact will be disastrous on the young one.
We all know the typical characteristics of narcissists include lack of respect, empathy, kindness and always being angry, ungrateful, nasty demanding and etc etc. But when it comes to co-parenting, even if it requires superhuman effort, try to rise above the bitter feelings and emotions for the sake of your child.
Keep reminding yourself how your child's wellbeing and happiness is your topmost priority so if you have to strive to maintain your calm and cool, do it when co-parenting.
Stay collected in the presence of the narcissist co-parent so that your child only enjoys a feeling of peace and fulfillment.
Co-parenting with a narcissist will surely take a toll on your mental and emotional health but you if to remember firmly that you're stronger than you were back then. Do not fall victim to their narcissistic abuse ever again, even when they take advantage of the co-parenting situation.
Drawing those boundaries we mentioned, along with the legal parenting plans will be your greatest weapon here. But if you still feel overwhelmed during the process, never hesitate in reaching out for support. If you need therapy to process your feelings and cope with the new situation, get it by all means.
In the end, only remember that the control of your life is in your hands now and just because you share a child does not make you vulnerable to them at any cost.
Co-parenting with a narcissist is perhaps one of the greatest trials in life. But if you plan it all well and with the law's support, exercise your rights correctly and develop a firm strategy, your narcissist ex-partner will never have the satisfaction of hurting you ever again while co-parenting.
The only goal that you must convince the other is to prioritize your child's wellbeing and happiness and allow them only as much involvement as you deem fit.
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