Co-parenting with a narcissist is no picnic for any reasonable, rational person. Often, it can feel like you are literally trying to raise children with your worst enemy.
How do you identify a narcissistic ex? There is no one checklist but here are a few things that could tip you off that you are co-parenting with a narcissist:
- You find it totally impossible to communicate with this person due to their unreasonable, irrational, unyielding and obtuse behavior.
- You constantly feel like you are being manipulated into compromising your values and opinions in order to get anywhere with the situation.
- You are co-parenting with a narcissist if you constantly feel that you are in a power struggle where you always emerge feeling powerless and dominated by this person.
- You find this person to be totally uncompassionate and lacking empathy.
- You feel like you and the kids are being emotionally abused by this person.
- The world revolves around this person and only his or her feelings or circumstances matter.
- It is this person’s way the highway.
- This person has a massive superiority complex and thinks everyone is beneath them.
- There just is no middle ground with this person.
- This person leaves you feeling depressed, disillusioned and hopeless with regard to the children and even to your own life.
No question that narcissists are maestros at family and relationship dysfunction. They really do leave you feeling bad about yourself and even sorry for your children that you could have made such a mistake to have chosen this person as a parent for them. It can be difficult to maintain your cool and composure with this person or to remain focused on what is important which is the wellbeing of your children first and foremost.
Here are 5 things NOT to do when you are co-parenting with a narcissist:
- Don’t try to be “co” parents in the strict sense. Narcissists have no respect for this concept anyway and their sole aim is to frustrate, obfuscate and destroy. So stop kidding yourself. You can try a more hands off approach or a type of parallel parenting structure that reduces direct contact with each other considerably.
- Don’t allow yourself to “pity” your own children. This will not help them one iota. Instead, think of creative ways to maximize your own parenting time with them so that they have a full and happy childhood despite the enemy ex.
- Don’t badmouth the ex no matter how tempting this might be. Let the children draw their own conclusions later on.
- Don’t make excuses for the ex. Again, let the children draw their own conclusions.
- Don’t let yourself become disillusioned or depressed. These emotions are choices you make. Choose to be optimistic about your own ability to create a loving and safe environment for the children.
- Get family therapy or individual therapy for yourself and the children if needed.
- Try to convince the court to shorten the visitation time with the ex if the visits are having a negative impact on the children’s wellbeing.
- Ask for supervised visits too, if the ex is really being emotionally abusive to the children.
- Keep your communication with the ex to emails only when necessary; avoid direct communication and contact
- Stay sane. Do not let this person drive you insane as you will be utterly unable to protect your children if you take leave of your senses and sanity on account of this person.