Welcome back to the final wrap-up of our four-part series on narcissism and divorce. Having talked about what divorcing a narcissist is like, we’d like to finish this with a few pointers about co-parenting with a narcissist. Which means we’ve left the hardest part for last. Why? Because if you thought divorcing a narcissist was hard, trying to co-parent with a toxic ex is even harder!
Although ‘co-parenting with a narcissist’ is a topic that could fill many books, we’re just going to focus on a few pointers here. Tips on how to make the best of a very difficult situation. Hopefully these tips serve as a jumping off point for you. If you really are engaged in divorcing a narcissist, and you have children that will be shared when it’s over, you will need more than a few tips. But here goes…
Keep contact to a minimum
Narcissists love to engage. They love the drama and anguish it causes you every time you are forced to interact with them, which is why they continually find ways to engage you. Avoid it! When dropping or picking up the kids, be polite, but don’t get caught up in arguments with them. Don’t exchange more words than necessary. Don’t engage in any way that you can avoid. This will benefit you AND your children.
Be calm and to the point
When dealing with your ex, stay calm and act in a reasonable way. Narcissists love to create conflict, and so by denying them what they want, you don’t feed into their “crazy.” This is incredibly hard, as they probably know all of your buttons and delight in pressing them, but it’s extremely important! DO NOT allow them to get the better of you – it’s the one thing they want most!
Limit your child’s contact
While your child is with you, keep their contact with your ex to a minimum. Obviously you can’t cut off contact completely, but you can insist that your child only speak to your ex on the phone or via text if there is a significant need. Your ex has time with them and so do you, but that doesn’t mean they can invade your time whenever they want to. Your time with your child shouldn’t be interrupted and undermined by your ex.
Establish firm boundaries
Children suffer enormously from the emotional roller coaster that narcissistic parents force them to ride. So do whatever you can to create a safe, structured environment with a predictable schedule and a comfortable emotional space for your child when they’re with you. Also, as we mentioned in the previous point, don’t let your ex and their mind games invade your time with your child any more than it absolutely has to – both for your benefit and for your child’s!
Teach your children strength and independence
Children who are raised by narcissists often become so used to being controlled and toyed with, they have no idea how to stick to their guns or recognise manipulation when it happens. Teach your children to be strong and independent, to abide by their choices and to respect themselves. Recognise their strengths and help them develop their own unique qualities. Your ex isn’t interested in their success as people, only in how they can be used as tools to achieve your ex’s purposes. So be sure to provide your children with the role model they need in life!
We hope these few tips were helpful to you. We understand that co-parenting with a narcissist is a daily battle, and a very difficult process, but you CAN do it. And you can do it well! Believe in yourself, surround yourself with strong, supportive friends and loved ones, and focus on your end game. This is hard, but it won’t last forever. Until then, if you need help dealing with custody issues or other divorce-related concerns, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our experienced family law attorneys have dealt with countless narcissistic people during divorces, we can help you through this as well.