Parenting During The Holidays: What to Expect When Your Ex is a Narcissist

Being a divorced parent during the holidays can be tough. Having to share your kids with your ex can sometimes mean not getting to spend Christmas with them when your  if your parenting time order doesn’t work out in your favor. But there’s a big difference between taking turns to spend the holidays with your children (like normal divorced folks around the Lansing area usually do), and dealing with a narcissistic ex during the ‘merriest time of the year’. 

A little kid eating cookies on a bench in the living room in front of the Christmas tree.

Ho Ho Ho. 

For example, one means learning to readjust your expectations about how much time you get with your kids over the holidays. And the other means having to put up with petty meanness and vindictive spite during the season of giving. Toxic people get pleasure from bullying and controlling others. Anything that gives them power over you will be wielded like a weapon. (We’ve seen countless examples of this over the years as attorneys practicing in Holt, Howell, Okemos and Grand Ledge.)

Narcissists will do things just to hurt you! Holidays or not, they don’t care.

If they know you want to spend the holidays with your children, and the parenting time agreement places the kids with them on that day, you better believe they’ll make a big deal about not letting you have even one extra minute with the kids over Christmas. Even if they aren’t really interested in spending any time with the children themselves. And even if they don’t have any special plans for the day. 

None of that matters. The fact that you want to be with your children is reason enough for them to go out of their way to ruin that for you. To punish you. To cause you anxiety, depression and anguish. So if you aren’t currently scheduled to be with your kids on Christmas, don’t expect your narcissistic ex to make any effort to allow you that pleasure. (And if they agree to give you that time, be prepared: they may well snatch it back at the last minute, simply to cause you pain.)

Narcissistic parents don’t really care about their children’s feelings. Even during the holidays.

Narcissists are self-centered and egomaniacal by nature. In their own worldview, they’re far more important than everyone else. Which means they don’t really care about their children or what’s best for them, and they’ll use their kids like tools to get what they want. And like tools, when they stop serving their purpose they can be tossed aside and replaced. And that’s another thing to watch out for this Christmas.

If your narcissistic ex has already moved on to their next victim, and your family no longer provides them with the love and adoration they need to function, expect to be kicked to the curb. So if your kids are excited about spending Christmas with your ex’s family, prepare yourself for the fact that they might be disappointed. Your ex may call at the last moment to cancel. Or they may simply not show up, and have excuses later on for why it didn’t work out. (And it won’t be their fault!) Either way, be prepared to manage your children’s heartbreak.

Dealing with narcissists is an ongoing battle…

Divorcing a narcissist is like surviving guerilla warfare. And trying to co-parent with a narcissist after a divorce is even harder. They cause so much grief and pain, usually on purpose, and it can be incredibly challenging. Unfortunately, the holidays often provide narcissists with all kinds of opportunities for manipulation and emotional abuse. So if your ex is a toxic human being, you need to be prepared for a few tough times ahead in the coming days. We get it. We’ve helped countless parents from around mid-Michigan deal with their narcissistic “other parent” for decades. We’ll help you through this very difficult time. Together, we can manage this. 

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our skilled and experienced family law attorneys have spent decades helping people from DeWitt, Charlotte, East Lansing, Okemos and Jackson deal with every aspect of their divorces. (Including many situations when the person they’re divorcing is a selfish, abusive narcissist.) We know what you’re up against, and we can help. Call 517 866 1000 to schedule your free phone or Zoom consultation.