Being in a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, with a narcissist, can be incredibly toxic. While you can cut them out of your life completely, and that is typically the best method, what happens if you can’t? Having a child with a narcissist can be emotionally draining. You may feel extremely uneasy leaving your children in their care because you know that they are primed to manipulate. You may worry that they will use their time alone with the children to turn them against you in order to get what they want. It can be intensely scary. What do you do? Here is your guide on co-parenting with a narcissist.
Tips for Co-Parenting with a Narcissist
The first step in co-parenting successfully with a narcissist is to drop any expectation that they will work with you in an emotional capacity. They will never understand emotionally how you feel regarding any concern. They have an extreme lack of empathy, an inflated ego, and an excessive need for attention. This means they likely will never be able to interact with you in a way that feels meaningful.
Here are some key guidelines to follow when interacting:
- Keep things as objective as possible. Don’t put any emotion into any issue.
- Have a parenting plan laid out in writing. If there is conflict, refer back to the document.
- Set firm boundaries. Always relate back to those established boundaries.
- Be the bigger person. Don’t talk badly about the other parent with your kids present. They will remember you took the high road.
- Parent with emotion. Your kids are going to need a double dose of emotional parenting from you because the other parent lacks the ability to provide that support.
- Document everything so you can refer back to it if issues occur in the future.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can always go back to mediation.
Impacts On Your Children
A narcissist will sometimes interfere with your children’s activities, days, emotions, as a tactic to get to you. This can be stress-inducing to your children and they may begin to act differently. They may act out, talk back to you, feel anxious or depressed. If you feel as though your children are suffering because of the actions of the narcissist, then it may be time to involve a therapist. If you suspect physical abuse or severe emotional abuse then you should speak to an attorney regarding a restraining order.
Co-parenting is not easy by any means with a narcissist, however, it is possible. If you would like assistance in putting together a legally binding parenting plan with a narcissist, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center today, to schedule a FREE virtual consultation.