“The most important thing to remember in co-parenting is that you should always strive to protect your children from conflict.”
Everyone who has been through this knows that co-parenting takes effort. There is no easy way to properly plan, coordinate, and execute all aspects of a child’s life, especially when it must be done in two separate homes, with an uncooperative and self-centered team member.
Co-parenting with a narcissist is impossible.
The notion of co-parenting with a person like this does not exist.
Get that thought out of your brain.
Completely remove the term co-parenting from your dialect. You need a better plan and approach.
Forget trying to follow normal co-parenting guidelines. It will be ineffective with your narcissistic ex and will make you lose your sanity. You don’t want to lose your sanity; your children need you. You have the job of providing a non-narcissistic family dynamic, so you have a 50% chance of preventing your child from becoming a self-revolutionary human being like your ex.
There are so many problems when trying to co-parent with a narcissist. You cannot be effective when working with someone who refuses to cooperate. Here are some problems and solutions to the long and tedious homework pain that lies ahead if you try to co-parent with a narcissist:
OUTCOME 1: Exceeding the limits
Pushing boundaries is one of the biggest problems when sharing parenting with a narcissist. Any attempt to communicate with the narcissist will make him believe that he has the right to push your limits. It can range from name calling, swearing, or other similar exchanges during pickup, to nasty screams bombarding doctors during visits, emails, text messages, and constant calls filled with nasty threats. The problem will persist unless you resolve it. This is where you grow a large pair and put your foot down. You must establish a set of limits from day one, and you must stick to them. An established set of boundaries means a structure that will provide a safe, predictable, and safe buffer for your children from your ex’s cunning psychological garbage. Make no mistake: the emotional roller coaster at the mercy of a narcissistic parent can have a detrimental effect on a child’s development.
How are limits set?
You can take a variety of approaches, but whatever you do, you have to stick with it. Just make sure you are always the adult. Start by calling them about their behavior every time it happens. From causing you pain because you are a few minutes late, to acting like an idiot during a parent-teacher conference, to refusing to give your kids prescription drugs, be sure to let them know that it’s not okay to act like a class kid. just because they feel like it.
Just remember to never do this in person and, most importantly, never feed your ex’s narcissistic ego by retaliating in front of kids. Remember that the narcissist will take advantage of every attempt to communicate on your part to push your buttons, and you should not fall for the hook. Your children are watching. Be the one with the balls.
If possible, limit all communication to email messages. Narcissists don’t like when others put limits on them. You must stand firm in your decision. Remember: you are your child’s advocate and protector.
RESULT 2: Total lack of communication
Communication with a narcissistic person is non-existent. Trying to communicate with a narcissist to co-parent is like trying to land on the moon with a hot air balloon – it just isn’t going to work no matter how much effort you put into it. Don’t waste your time on that, you need all your energy for your children. The narcissist thrives on trying to stay engaged, usually for negative reasons and seeking negative results. Don’t be fooled. They feed off your weakness when you continue to respond to their verbal or written nonsense. Don’t do it, do the meditation video instead. You must free yourself from the vicious and tangled cycle of communication. Learn to give a damn. Not worth it.
How do you solve communication problems with a narcissist?
For your part, you can’t. Leave it already. In a world of co-parenting, you can’t expect your ex narcissist to communicate. Having false expectations sucks, but it’s better to know where you stand – don’t think for a second that a narcissist will communicate something about someone other than himself. Their feelings of greatness are too established and extended to consider you important enough to receive information. Which leaves you with the task of having to communicate with your ex narcissist about your children, and everyone who has had to call their ex narcissist with a child-related question knows that that never ends well. This is where the wine glass comes in handy. No, I’m not suggesting that they hit you up and call your ex. Please never do that, especially with a narcissist. It’s like reversing fuel in the opposite direction.
The rule is simple: Unless there is an emergency that needs to be taken care of by both of you, requiring a phone call, limit your communication to emails and, if necessary, text messages when contacting your ex. If the situation is too conflictive and you are unable to deal with it, you can request that all communication with your ex be through a program designed to address communication between high-conflict co-parenting relationships, such as Our Family Wizard and Talking Parents. There are others out there, and many of them have applications. The idea is to avoid giving them ammunition to create high conflict situations, annoy you and end up responding like a baby, acting like your ex. No, hell no. Keep in mind that your email responses are very likely to come back filled with negative words that project their anger, discontent, resentment, and, of course, narcissistic tendencies towards you. Let it go. Let it all go.
RESULT 3: The button pressed
Regardless of the length of your relationship, narcissists have the uncanny ability to irritate you and get under your skin like no other son of a bitch on this planet, especially after a divorce. From personal attacks via email, text messages, and during returns and pickups, the narcissist will go to any lengths to rally you and get you to respond, retaliate, and respond. Do not do it. Remember: let all that shit go. It makes them feel important. Powerful. And it’s extremely pathetic that you fall in love. Seriously, WTF? You are your child’s advocate and protector. So when they start with their narcissistic need to engage you in discord, whether it hurts because you are five minutes late or you had to send someone else to pick up the child, your ex narcissist finds a way to say or do. something that pushes your buttons to the limit.
How do you undo the buttons?
Although it may seem impossible, you should develop a calm, relaxed, and collected communication style with your ex. Stick to short, monotonous, strictly child-related, boring, and commercial responses. Treat the relationship like you have a permanent job and have to communicate with your asshole boss. Read your ex’s emails carefully and limit your response to matters relevant to co-parenting.
If you’re too upset that their comments are too much, you can hit a pillow, call your best friend, or rant with your mom about how idiotic they are, but don’t fall for the hook. No matter what they say, don’t respond in an angry way. You must remain calm and corporate. Remember, the happiness of your children comes first. You are their defender and protector. Don’t fall for that shit.
OUTCOME 4: Children are far from stupid, they go with them
As your advocate and protector, you will do everything in your power to protect your children from conflict. This is an uphill battle carrying bags of rocks, while walking on broken glass, blindfolded, while being beaten with his own belt. You cannot control the way a narcissist behaves and acts with children. Their only hope is that one day they will tire of their boring, monotonous corporate email responses and lack of desire to participate, and will find another target for their narcissism. You must make sure that it is not childish.
How do I keep my kids from realizing that my ex is a selfish jerk?
The answer is: you can’t. It is impossible to protect your children from the unknown, and your ex’s erratic narcissistic behavior is unpredictable enough to fall into the category of unknown. There is nothing you can do about your public speaking and yelling and the fact that your children are witnessing this. Depending on their age, they will form their own age-appropriate images of their other parent. Just make sure you’re always there for them, as cheesy as that sounds. Watching your ex act like a monkey in front of kids can be a bit rewarding, but at the same time it’s heartbreaking. Your kids love this person.
OUTCOME 5: Turn the kids against you, you son of a bitch!
It is almost a given that a former narcissist will poison the children against the other parent. After all, they should be the ones who always look good. They will talk bad about you with the children and will surely tell them lies about how the marriage ended. They will try to turn their children against you in any way they can. And if they have one of those clan families, then they have reinforcements.
What can I do to prevent this?
Nothing. You do not have to do anything. You are the defender and protector of your children. Children tend to gravitate towards the father who allows them to grow independently. A narcissistic parent is the direct contradiction of that. A narcissistic parent will try to force a child into a specific type of development: the one they experience as they grow up. It will be the only acceptable one.
Your work will be:
To nurture your child’s uniqueness and independence, and allow him to become his own person. Your former narcissist will have a hard time when your children want their own independence. Be there for them.
To ensure that you are the calm parent who considers the impact of your actions on your child.
Teach and model social / emotional intelligence. Your child will grow up soon, if not older, and will be able to make abstract observations. Be honest. Be age appropriate. I am a believer to tell it like it is. Period.
Being the parent who doesn’t criticize, poison, or speak ill of your ex in front of your children.
Stop trying to be a shared parent with your narcissist ex. It does not work. Be smart. Be better. Be wiser. Be the one to let your guard down for the welfare of your children.
It’s YOUR time to shine, and you can do it with both parents who love you.