Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this discussion on divorcing a narcissistic parent. There are tell-tale red flags of narcissistic parenting you need to watch for during a divorce. In the previous article we talked a little about what narcissism looks like, and shared the first four signs that your spouse is using narcissistic tactics in dealing with your children during your divorce. (And they’re not pretty!) Moving on we’d like to wrap this up with the rest of our list…..
Red flags that your spouse may be a narcissist (and how that could affect your kids)
- They sabotage your efforts to be involved in joint decisions
In an effort to “punish” you, a narcissist will work hard to undermine your efforts to be involved in joint parenting choices, even if it has a negative impact on your child. This could mean rearranging schedules so that you’re prevented from being involved in doctor’s visits, “forgetting” to pass on information about parent teacher conferences, or lying about a child’s financial needs. Whatever the case, they will work to make it harder for you to be involved in your children’s lives. So look out for unexpected schedule changes and dishonesty or withholding important information that pertains to your kid’s wellbeing.
- They use manipulation and emotional abuse to control their kids
A narcissist uses sarcasm, cruel jokes, overt criticism, and even unfiltered verbal abuse to control their children’s behaviors and choices. At this time, when they’re feeling particularly victimized because of the divorce, they’re more likely to need to reassert their sense of control over their environment. This includes their children. So keep a watchful eye out for verbal abuse, degradation, humiliation and other forms of emotional manipulation. Your children may struggle to talk about it, especially if they’ve been threatened, but keep the lines of communication open.
- They are jealous of their children’s accomplishments
Narcissists can’t handle the idea that someone may be better than them at something. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it makes them feel diminished in any way, they will work hard to undermine it in order to make themselves feel better. And during a divorce, when a narcissist’s fragile ego is feeling particularly vulnerable, they may be extra jealous of their children’s accomplishments. This means they’re likely to find ways to diminish their children’s efforts or accomplishments while finding ways to brag about themselves and their own accomplishments.
- They’re more concerned with how others view their parenting efforts
A narcissistic parent is way more concerned with how others perceive them as a parent, than they are about their actual parenting. They don’t really care about being a good parent, as long as other people think they’re a good parent. This means they’re going to go out of their way to look like a devoted, dedicated parent, even if that conflicts with the truth about how they raise their kids. Kids will find it confusing that they’re treated differently in public settings to how they’re treated in private.
Children of narcissistic parents suffer from self-worth issues
Children who are raised by narcissists usually have a poor sense of self worth, and sometimes struggle to relate to others in meaningful ways. Some of them end up with codependency problems in relationships, or anxiety that stems from years of emotional abuse. This sort of trauma can lead to substance abuse problems in the future, clinical depression, and behavioral issues. It’s very important, if you believe your spouse is a narcissist, that you keep a close eye on your children’s well being and potentially even get them some professional help. You may not be able to minimize the contact they have with their other parent, but you can work to reduce the devastating impact it can have on their lives. And even when you cannot minimize the contact between your children and a narcissistic parent, a judge can do that. So look for those red flags!
Having a skilled divorce attorney on your side can make a world of difference
Whether you live in Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Dewitt, Okemos, Leslie or the Jackson area, divorce is incredibly hard. But divorcing a narcissistic parent is a long and painful process that requires diligence, patience, and time. Having kids in the mix only makes the process worse, and the way you can ensure the best outcome in your case is to make sure you have an attorney with extensive experience handling your case. That means hiring a family law attorney with many years of experience dealing with narcissistic spouses. So if you suspect your spouse is a narcissist, and you’re worried about your children’s safety and well being, call The Kronzek Firm at 517 886-1000. Our highly experienced family law attorneys can walk you through every aspect of your divorce, even if you’re up against a narcissistic spouse and the process is loaded with conflict. We’ve been protecting parents and kids for more than 25 years.