Being married to a narcissist, or a “toxic” person, is devastating. But trying to co-parent with one is the equivalent of trying to smuggle snowballs through the Sahara desert in your pockets – It simply can’t be done. Yes, we know, this sounds melodramatic and ridiculous, but the truth is exactly that: co-parenting with a toxic person isn’t possible because true co-parenting requires that the parents work together (hence the term “co” meaning together, or in common.)
Toxic people make terrible parents!
Obviously, a toxic person has no interest in working together with you to do anything, even if it’s beneficial to your child (which just happens to be their child as well!). As Psychology Today explains, “Toxic parents do not treat their children with respect as individuals. They won’t compromise, take responsibility for their behavior, or apologize. Often these parents have a mental disorder or a serious addiction.”
Co-parenting with a toxic ex is a nightmare!
If you didn’t have kids, you could cut ties and simply move on without them. (Yes we know, that’s A LOT easier said than done!) But because you have kids, and the court isn’t likely to take your word for it, you’ll have to find ways to work through the enormous challenges you have ahead of you. So if this sounds like your situation (and your ex really is a narcissist, not just someone you’re mad at that won’t give you what you want) then here’s what you need to do:
Creating safe communication practices is imperative
One of the strategies used by toxic parents to make other parents look and feel bad, is to use communication as a weapon. By either pretending they didn’t get messages you sent, or claiming they sent you information when they didn’t, toxic parents can make life hell for you. From changing drop off locations that they “totally told you about last week” (when they never said a word), to “not getting your message” about you running behind for a pick up, which allows them to tell your kids that you don’t prioritize time with them.
Use methods that can be tracked by the court
One of the best ways to ensure that there are no “misunderstandings” about lost messages and other communication mishaps, is to use a co-parenting communication and planning app. Apps like Coparently, My family wizard and Cozi allow divorced parents to communicate easily, create and adjust schedules, leave memos and reminders, and request schedule changes. Having an app that tracks every dialog, every schedule, and every reminder can be very helpful when your ex is claiming you didn’t keep them informed of changes, or pass on important info about prescriptions or school assignments.
Don’t let a manipulative ex ruin your attempts to be a good parent
Over the years, our experienced family lawyers here at The Kronzek Firm have helped countless parents to deal with toxic exes, and create custody and parenting schedules that meet their family’s needs. But managing custody battles with toxic spouses during a divorce can be extremely difficult, and require a lot of finesse. So don’t get just any lawyer to help you. Call us at 866 766 5245 and make sure you get help from someone who knows exactly what you’re up against. And join us next time for more details on how to manage this situation.