How to Successfully Co-Parent with a Narcissist

How to Successfully Co-Parent with a Narcissist how to successfully co-parent with a narcissist
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

The end of any relationship is a painful experience, but when you add kids to the picture, it brings a more complicated aspect, which is how both parents will harmoniously meet their kids’ needs. In a ‘normal’ relationship where both parents had a mutual interest in the child’s well-being, growth, and development, they can decide to co-parent.

This is where they agree on how they will mutually meet the child’s welfare and needs, like educational needs or extracurricular activities. This can only happen when the two parents have a friendly and supportive relationship despite living separately.

That’s why it’s a bit complicated to co-parent with someone with narcissistic traits, as it’s not possible to get that level of cooperation and friendliness. When it comes to parenting with a narcissist ex, the best approach is what is referred to as parallel parenting.

Parallel parenting is an approach where parents minimize their interaction with one another but coordinate on the different aspects of child-rearing as required. Parallel parenting is the best choice when dealing with a narcissist parent as it reduces the potential of being hooked back into the cycle of abuse.

The success of this will require more initial planning, and it might require the involvement of a third party to keep things running more smoothly. It’s good to be aware that the fact you’re parenting with a narc or have an agreement with them doesn’t mean that they won’t continue their mischief. There are a number of matters that arise when it comes to parenting with a narcissist because of their controlling and manipulative nature.

Issues That May Arise with Co-parenting with a Narcissist

· Empty and unfulfilled promises to the kids or to the co-parent

· Not following through on some of the commitments

· Talking ill and peddling lies about the co-parent to the kids

· Doing the opposite of what you tell them to do

· Using the kids (directly or indirectly) to pass a message to you

· Acting as if their participation is a choice while the other parent’s involvement is obligatory

· Competing to win the child over through expensive gifts and retreats

· Calling you or texting you at all hours with the pretense that they’re just checking up on the kids

· Doing the opposite of what you expect them to do for the kids (buying them junk food & other unhealthy habits)

· Blaming you for the kid’s shortcomings (like if they get poor grades in school)

· Last-minute changes in the schedule and spontaneous cancellations

· Coming to your home unannounced

There are just many issues that may make it really hard for you to successfully parent with a narcissist ex. That’s why being one step ahead of the game is very important in order to pull this off. This will involve you doing something you wouldn’t have considered under normal circumstances, but it has to be done because you’re dealing with a serial manipulator.*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

How to Successfully Co-parent with a Narcissist (Parallel Parenting)

  1. Avoid Phone Calls or Instant Messaging — Use Email Communication Only

When dealing with a narcissist co-parent, the best way is to minimize communicating with them because the more you interact with them, the more they will try to hurt you with their verbally abusive ways. That’s why email communication is the best way to go.

When you want to communicate with them, send them a detailed email with everything you want to communicate on. Make it official, as if you’re sending it to a busy CEO somewhere; do not overload it with unnecessary details. The beauty of email is that it will provide a certain kind of discipline, as they know they cannot intimidate you since it can be used as evidence, unlike phone calls.*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

will also provide a great reference point in case there are issues later on in your parenting plan. In fact, it’s the best way to document your conversations, which you can present to the court if you ever have to file a harassment order or simply want to demonstrate their instability to your attorney. To make this email system effective, you can also communicate with them about the times you will be checking your emails so that you don’t find yourself mindlessly reloading your email as you wait for their messages.

Do not turn email into another form of instant messaging; reply only when it’s necessary and when it only involves the kid’s welfare. Ignore all the rest of the emails, like those where they will apologize or love bomb you. One last thing is that email communication will not evoke as much emotion from you as a phone call or word-of-mouth communication, where the narcissist might communicate emotionally to try to hurt you or manipulate you.

2. Lower your Expectations & focus on what you Can Control

This is a tough one to accept, as any parent will have thoughts like, “How can they do that to their own kids?” One thing that will save you from mental distress when parenting with a narc is to have zero expectations of what they’re supposed to do and what they’re not.

This is because they think differently from you, and they will go to great and even unnatural extents to satisfy their needs. They might leave the kids alone in the house and go to a party or they might do drugs in front of their kids or just do something which doesn’t uplift the kid’s welfare or something you don’t like.

That’s why it’s good not to dwell so much on the things they do because you will never fully understand, and it will just keep you constantly worried. This will mean that you just have to focus on what you can control in all situations.

This can be biting that bitter pill that when a narc co-parent is with the kids, there’s nothing more you can do, and no obsessively thinking about what may be going on with them will make things better for you. It’s more like you just trust that everything will be okay, and your kids will be back home safe. (Please note — if you suspect any kind of physical or sexual abuse, you should report it to the authorities immediately).

3. Set and Uphold Clear Boundaries

Boundaries are just things you cannot tolerate and an outline of how you deserve to be treated. When it comes to parenting with an ex-narcissist, this will really come in handy, as they will constantly try to walk over you. The best way to handle them is to be assertive and stand your ground on things you cannot tolerate from them.

This can be something like not letting them into your home, or hanging up when they try to manipulate you, or not entertaining last-minute changes in the schedule, or just plainly denying them when they want a ‘favor’ from you, or anything that goes against what you stand for.

As long as you’re still communicating with them, they will always try to control you and manipulate you, and your boundaries will be there to keep you away from their gimmicks. Boundaries will protect you from being taken advantage of by the narcissist.

4. Be the Better Parent

The challenge with parenting with a narcissist is the fact that there’s no mutual cooperation on meeting the kid’s welfare, and that’s why you need to step up and be the better parent in this scenario.

This means that you become the caring parent at all times by listening to your kids and acknowledging their feelings. You focus on nurturing the child in the best way possible and being there for them without even thinking of what the other party is supposed to do. This will also mean working on yourself to the point that your anger or resentment towards the other co-parent does not trickle down to how you take care of your kids.

As a better parent, you also need to avoid talking ill about your ex in front of your kids. If you talk badly about your ex in front of them, it leads to frustration, confusion, and resentment in them. You need to be a great role model of maturity and emotional control since your children are already dealing with enough chaos. You can find better and healthy ways of channeling your frustration about the situation you’re in. The kids will eventually see your ex for who they are. This also means understanding that your kids may be manipulated to hate you, but you’ve got to see through it and still stand up as that caring and loving parent without hating your kids.

5. Document Everything

When dealing with a narcissist co-parent, the best thing to do is to document everything when you have shared custody. This includes recording all visitations, doctor’s appointments, photographs of any dangerous situations the kids are involved in, money you’ve received from the narc for child support.

Be clear enough with everything surrounding your parenting schedule, as these written guidelines and documentation can help mitigate the inevitable fights, and it makes it easier to hold them accountable. This will also prevent the narc from shifting the blame or gaslighting you on something, as it’s well-documented. This information can also be shared with legal authorities if need be or when you need an adjustment in the parenting plan.

Parenting with a narcissist is not an easy thing to do, but it is still possible for you to make it work and have your kids’ needs met while still taking care of yourself. It’s good to understand that the fact that you’ve separated from a narcissist does not mean they’ve left your life completely; they will still try to win you back.

This is because for them, it’s all about supply and getting their needs met. That’s why the only one who can keep them away is you. You need to be assertive and keep your boundaries up. Do not entertain their mischief, as if you do, they will subject you to the same cycle of abuse.

As you have made this decision to leave the relationship, commit to also healing to the point that the narcissist does not trigger you, and you can see through their manipulation from 50 miles away; their manipulative tactics become like a joke to you. If you have to seek help to do it, do it and do not postpone it.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

Share your love
Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

Articles: 844

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *