Co-parenting with an ex who is a narcissist is indeed intimidating, and requires great deal of courage to keep your calm and accept the situation. However, the truth has to be accepted, since as a non-narcissist parent, it is up to you to save your kid from being the victim of the other parent.
Ask for Help
Remember, you’re not alone. It is always good to seek help from responsible friends, the law, police officers, etc. After all, you want to do your best to protect your child from the aggressive behavior of a narcissist partner.
Narcissism is a growing mental disorder these days. Many partners do not realize that they are getting involved with a narcissist, until reality ensues up, and they decide to separate. Any divorce can be mentally upsetting, plus, dealing a narcissist can be really difficult. Co-parenting after a divorce can be really daunting. Considering the emotional pain that you already have gone through, you already have issues to deal with. However, you do not have the liberty to sit brooding over your past, especially if you have a kid. Moreover, you would want to protect your kid from the same turmoil that you have gone through.
Any typical parent will give unconditional love, but with a narcissist, it is conditional love; only until the children behave as per his/her demands. It is going to be your struggle solely to give a normal childhood to your kid, since the narcissist parent will never overlook his own selfish desires.
Tips for Co-parenting with a Narcissist After Divorce
Keep your conversations limited
Narcissists love drama, and hence, they might engage in hateful talks, or try to demean you either on the phone or in person. The best way is not to respond, and be neutral. Do not let their thoughts and actions hurt your emotions. Though it might seem difficult not to react, remember that you have to protect your kids, and it is not worth wasting your time and tears over such people. Speak regarding matters that are related only to parenting and your kid. If there are any disputes, ask the other person to refer to the parenting schedule. There are high chances that they will not follow the schedule, and expect you to be accommodating as per their whims and fancies. However, do not let your mind lose control, at all costs. Think through your brain instead of your heart. It is easy to be impulsive, but you do not want your kid suffering. Do not respond to degrading texts. Use written/documented communication wherever possible.
Avoid clashes, especially in front of your kid
Any kid who has to witness his parents fight undergoes immense emotional chaos. You do not want to bring him up as a damaged personality with low self-esteem. Do not raise your voice or have a quarrel in front of your kid. His childhood deserves to be protected. Do not let the narcissist drag the child unnecessarily into your tiffs.
Hire a legal expert
While co-parenting with a narcissist after a divorce, try to get a good attorney. However, sadly, there might be chances that financial problems may limit you in affording a good attorney. Do not, however, lose faith. If you think he is not performing well, consider a second opinion. Protect your kid from becoming a scapegoat, for the narcissist parent may compel your kid to speak lies or badmouth you. He will try to take the kid’s attention as much as possible, but when it comes to their needs, a narcissist parent will always keep his own life and priorities before anyone else. Your kid cannot get selfless love from him. Hence, as a counterpart, it will again be on you to take the responsibility of showing the love. Kids need to be told that they’re loved unconditionally by you.
Seek therapy for yourselves as well as your children, Do not, in any circumstance, let the kid get involved in adult matters. Do not demean your partner in any way. Your narcissist ex-wife/ex-husband might inflict injustice on the kid, and hence, it is your duty to undo whatever bad has been impacted. A narcissist parent is very possessive of his kids. He will want them to behave like him. You’ve got to undo a lot of things that has been done to the kid. A narcissist is extremely possessive, but will see his kids as a medium for the achievement of his dreams.
Be a good role model to your kids
Being a good model to your kid is of utmost importance, since what you say can damage them and their innocent hearts. Though you cannot control the behavior of the other parent, it is necessary that you do not condemn or say hateful things about them in front of the children. Stay strong, they’re learning life’s lessons in their own way. Be the perfect role model for them to look up to.
Most importantly, get your legal documentation done. Do not leave scope for any kind of ambiguity in the agreement, and strictly adhere to it. Narcissists tend to be selfish and self-obsessed, and hence, might consider your or your kid’s emotions to be trifle or worthless. Document everything that the other person says or writes. You can use it as reference later in case of any disputes.
► Look at the positives of life and be in the pursuit of happiness.
► Under all circumstances, do not let him bog down the confidence of your kid, much as he has done to yours. Protect your kid from being the scapegoat. However, do not encourage negative talk about your partner, since he/she is equally the kid’s parent as you are.
► Accept that he is not going to change. Avoid conflicts, and do not let your emotions go away. Sometimes, they can create huge drama about the divorce.
Books on Co-parenting with a Narcissist
Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield by Tina Swithin
This book describes the author’s own battle to protect her two young daughters during the divorce proceedings, and the struggles that followed.
The Narcissist As Parent by Drew Brett
In this book, the author describes the story of a family whose children are severely damaged emotionally due to a narcissist parent, and their struggle to find a ray of hope.
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl Mcbride
The author of the book, Dr. Karyl McBride, is a psychotherapist, and this book is specifically meant for those daughters who have faced emotional turmoil in the hands of their narcissist mother. She describes her own struggles of being a daughter of a narcissist mother.
As a non-narcissist parent, the burden is on you to relieve your child of all the emotional stress that he has to go through. So, you need to be strong and firm, however difficult it might seem. Be happy, because you want your child to grow up as a happy child. The mentality of the narcissist sociopath is his problem, and not yours. He/she is not going to change, and you need to take the strings of your life in your own hands.