Dealing with A Narcissistic Co-Parent
Stories of divorced parents (and even the new spouses of those divorced parents) working as a team to raise their children are becoming more common these days. You may, naturally, hope that your post-divorce parenting situation will be the same. Unfortunately, people who are divorcing a narcissist might not ever see that type of cooperation.
If your ex is a narcissist, there are a few things that you might be able to do that could make the situation a little less stressful. There’s a chance that you won’t ever have that storybook co-parenting situation, but being able to reduce the stress in ways that you feel benefits you and your children. Here are the steps to take:
First, you have to remember that the children come first. No matter what types of insane tactics your ex chooses to try, you need to make your decisions based solely on what’s best for the children. The narcissist is likely only going to be concerned with their own feelings and how they can look like the “good guy” in the situation.
Second, you should put up a mental wall. Your ex is probably going to say negative things about you and to you. They might just flat-out lie about you. While you will probably need to address those things, the key to dealing with a narcissist is that you can’t let them know that their antics are impacting you.
Third, you may need to use strict communication rules. Saying things to you just to get you to react is one of the common tactics of a narcissistic individual. Having the rules for communication laid out clearly in the parenting plan may help with this. For example, it might be determined that all communication has to go through a court-monitored system so that there isn’t ever any doubt about the exchanges.
If you’re in this position, discuss the challenges you foresee with your attorney. This gives them the ability to fight back against the narcissistic person and try to find ways to ease the contention.