Co-parenting with a narcissist can be very challenging, as narcissists often have difficulty putting the needs of their children ahead of their own. Narcissists are known as self-centric and ignorant of others. In the worst cases the narcissists often treat the spouse who love/tolerate them as hostile. Narcissists will try very hard to convince people around them that their spouses are narcissists and/or other serious personality disorders.
When it comes to co-parenting with a narcissistic spouse or former spouse, the followings are important:
You have to trust your children:
Children are very sharp in observation. Since both parents are almost THE ONLY important people in the children’s early life, they would observe and know which parent is a bigger problem. A narcissist harms her children no less than her ex-spouse (you). Therefore, you should trust your children. Even when they seem to be convinced by your narcissist ex-spouse’s falso allegations against you, the children KNOW. You just need to wait, while sitll prioritizing the needs of your children and putting their well-being first. This may require making some compromises or finding ways to communicate effectively with the narcissist, even if it’s difficult.
You have to be “fight-ready” when co-parenting with narcissist:
Avoiding narcissists will not see the problem going away. You need to be ready to fight in a smart way. First, you establish clear boundaries with a narcissist and communicate your expectations for how you will co-parent together. Secondly, make sure to document all communication, as narcissists may twist the truth or deny agreements made. Thirdly, try to challenge the narcissist by not complying to everythng she said.
You have to be calm and ready for a long run:
It can be very frustrating to deal with a narcissist, but try your best to stay calm and avoid getting into direct arguments or fights. This will make it easier to communicate and make decisions together. However, be prepared that it will take a long run to get what you want from a narcissist. You might be obstructed from visitation of children, alienated, blackmailed, and stuck in repetitive explanation of something that your narcissistic ex-spouse said about you. Be patient. Don’t try to prove that she is a villain to people now. Use time.
You have to build your people:
It is helpful to talk to a therapist or join a support group for people who are co-parenting with a narcissist. This can provide you with a safe space to vent your frustrations and get advice from others who are in similar situations. Also, consider using a mediator. If communication with the narcissist is really difficult, you may want to consider using a mediator or counselor to help facilitate discussions and decisions related to co-parenting. This can help to ensure that the needs of your children are being met and that conflicts are resolved in a healthy and constructive way.