Grow a Pair When Co-Parenting With a Narcissist
“The most crucial thing to keep in mind when co-parenting is that you must constantly work to protect your kids from conflict.”
Everyone who has experienced it understands the effort required for co-parenting. Every aspect of a child’s life cannot be planned, synchronized, and carried out in an easy way, especially when it involves two separate households and an uncooperative team member.
It is impossible to co-parent with a narcissist.
With a person like this, co-parenting is not an option.
Get that idea out of your head.
Co-parenting should be entirely dropped from your vocabulary. A better strategy and approach are required.
Leave any conventional co-parenting rules out of it. You’ll lose your mind doing it, and it won’t work with your narcissistic ex. Your kids need you, and you don’t want to lose your mind. It is your responsibility to create a non-narcissistic family dynamic so that you have a 50% chance of preventing your child from developing into a person who revolves around themselves like your ex.
Trying to co-parent with a narcissist presents a plethora of difficulties. Working with someone who won’t cooperate will make it impossible for you to be productive. Here are a few problems and solutions to the long, tedious, pain in the behind task you will have ahead of you if you attempt to co-parent with a narcissist:
ISSUE 1: Boundary Overstepping
One of the most challenging aspects of co-parenting with a narcissist is boundary crossing. The narcissist will become convinced that it is okay to cross your boundaries if you make an effort to communicate with them. It can take many different forms, such as slurs, profanities, or other similar exchanges during pick-ups, unpleasant yells directed at doctors during appointments, persistent emails, texts, and calls containing obscene threats, and more. If you don’t deal with the issue, it will continue. This is where you put your foot down and grow a big pair. From the start, you must establish and adhere to a set of boundaries. An established set of boundaries entails structure that will protect your kids from your ex’s cunning psychological tricks in a safe, predictable, and secure way. Without a doubt, a child’s development can be negatively impacted by the emotional rollercoaster that comes with having a narcissistic parent.
How can you create boundaries?
Any strategy you choose must be followed through on; there are no other options. Make sure to always act like the grownup. Start by criticizing their actions each time they occur. Make sure they understand that it is not acceptable to act like a model child out of pure self-interest, whether it be by criticizing you for being a few minutes late, acting foolishly during a parent-teacher conference, or refusing to give your children their prescribed medication.
Just keep in mind to never do this in person and, more importantly, to never ever retaliate in front of the kids in order to feed your narcissistic ex’s ego. You must not fall for the narcissist’s bait because they will use every opportunity to communicate with you to push your buttons. They are observing, your kids. Become the brave one.
Keep all communication to email messages if at all possible. Narcissists dislike having their boundaries set by others. Your choice must be firmly defended. Keep in mind that you are your child’s defender and advocate.
ISSUE 2: Total Lack of Communication
A narcissist is impossible to communicate with. No matter how much effort you put into it, co-parenting with a narcissist won’t work. It’s like trying to land a hot air balloon on the moon. You need to focus all of your energy on raising your kids; don’t waste it on that. The narcissist loves to keep you interested, usually for bad reasons and to achieve bad outcomes. Do not fall for it. When you keep responding to their verbal or written blather, they feed off your frailty. Don’t do it; instead, watch the meditation video. You need to escape the frustrating cycle of communication. Master the art of not caring. It is not worth it.
How can communication problems with a narcissist be resolved?
You cannot, in their opinion. Just let that one go. Your narcissistic ex won’t talk to you in a co-parenting environment, so don’t expect them to. False expectations are unpleasant, but it is better to be aware of your position: do not for a moment believe that a narcissist will speak about someone other than themselves. They are far too established and inflated in their grandiose feelings to regard you as important enough to be informed. So now you have to talk to your narcissistic ex about your kids, and anyone who has ever had to call a narcissist ex to ask a question about their kids knows that never goes well. This is where the wine glass comes in handy. No, I’m not advocating that you call your ex after getting wasted. Never do that, especially not around a narcissist. Similar to starting a car in reverse,
The rule is straightforward: when contacting your ex, stick to email and, if necessary, text messages unless there is an emergency that requires a phone call and needs to be addressed by both of you. If the level of conflict is too high and you are unable to resolve it, you can ask that all communications with your ex take place through a platform created to handle communication between co-parenting relationships with high levels of conflict, such as Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents. There are numerous others, many of which have apps. It’s best to refrain from giving them reasons to instigate heated arguments with you, make you feel bad, and cause you to react emotionally and belligerently—just like your ex. Keep in mind that their email responses will almost certainly be filled with unfavorable phrases that reflect their resentment, anger, and, of course, narcissistic tendencies toward you. Allow everything to go.
ISSUE 3: The Button Pushing
No matter how long you’ve been together, narcissists are able to irritate you and get on your nerves unlike anyone else on earth, especially after a divorce. The narcissist will go to great lengths to motivate you and persuade you to reply, retaliate, or respond, including using personal attacks in emails, texts, and during drop-offs and pick-ups. Remember: let all that shit go away. Don’t do it. They feel important because of it. Powerful, and it’s incredibly pitiful that you fall for it. You are your child’s protector and advocate. Your narcissistic ex will therefore find a way to say or do something that pushes your buttons to the breaking point as soon as they start with their narcissistic need to cause you conflict, whether it be by complaining that you’re five minutes late or that you had to send someone else to pick up the child.
How do you remove the button pushes?
Even though it seems impossible, you must learn to communicate with your ex in a cool, collected, and calm manner. Keep your responses short, boring, child-only, business-like, and monotonous. Communicate with your asshole boss as though you had a tenured position and were required to do so. Read your ex’s emails carefully, and only address issues related to co-parenting in your response.
If their comments are too upsetting for you to handle, punch a pillow, call your best friend, or rant to your mother about what a jerk they are, but don’t fall for the trap. No matter what they said, resist the urge to respond angrily. Keep your composure and act professionally. The happiness of your kids should always come first. You are their defender and advocate. Don’t be duped by that nonsense.
ISSUE 4: Kids Are Far from Dumb, They’re On To Them
You will exert every effort to protect your children from conflict as their defender and protector. This is an uphill struggle that involves carrying two rock sacks, walking on shattered glass while wearing a blindfold, and being beaten with your own belt. A narcissist’s behavior and actions toward the kids are out of your control. Your only chance of success is that one day they will grow weary of receiving your impersonal, dull, repetitive email replies and lack of interest in them, and they will move on to another person to narcissistically abuse. You must verify that it is not a child.
How can I stop my children from realizing how selfish my ex is?
The reply is no, you cannot. Your ex’s erratic narcissistic behavior is unpredictable enough to be included in the category of the unknown, and you cannot protect your children from the unknown. You have no control over their screaming and ranting in front of others, especially since your kids are present. They will create their own, age-appropriate impressions of the other parent as they get older. Even though it sounds cliche, you just need to make sure you are always there for them. It can be slightly satisfying, but also heartbreaking, to watch your ex act like an ape in front of the kids. Your kids adore this individual.
Turning kids against you, you fucking scum!
A narcissistic ex will almost certainly turn the kids against the other parent, and that much is almost certain. After all, they should be the ones who always look good. They will lie to the kids about how the marriage ended and will certainly defame you in front of them. Any means at their disposal will be used to try to turn your kids against you. If they have one of those clan-like families, they also have reinforcements.
How can I stop this from happening?
You don’t need to do anything at all. You are the voice and defender for your kids. Children are drawn to parents who give them the freedom to develop their independence. That is utterly incompatible with a narcissistic parent. A narcissistic parent will attempt to coerce their child into a certain stage of development, such as the one that comes with maturation. It will be the only option that is suitable.
Your job will be:
to encourage your child’s individuality and independence while letting them develop into their own person. When your kids want to be independent, your narcissistic ex will find it difficult. Simply stand by them.
so that you can be the composed parent who thinks about how your decisions will affect your child.
to demonstrate and teach social and emotional intelligence. If not already older, your child will soon be able to observe things abstractly as they grow. Be sincere and age-appropriate. I believe in telling it like it is. Period.
to be the parent who does not disparage, slander, or otherwise defame your ex in front of your kids.
Put an end to your attempts to co-parent with your narcissistic ex. Don’t try it; be wiser. For the sake of your children’s safety, be better, be wiser, and let down your guard.
They can succeed because both of their parents love them, and now is THEIR time to shine.