I am here to be controversial, as I am going to put my hand on my heart and say ‘You can’t Co-Parent with a Narcissist.’
What you must understand, is you must be in control in a way that your ex still thinks he is in control. It may sound convoluted, but all we have to think about is our ex’s ego and we know how big that is? You can’t argue with a narcissist, as they are always right. You must simply have boundaries of cement, that take into account your children’s best interest at all times.
I was fortunate, as my ex lived overseas. However, I had to be more than accommodating for him when he would visit, always requesting access visits at the 11th hour. I always accommodated his requests, as I kept thinking of the long-term relationship between my daughter and her father. By this stage I had forgiven him for the cruel and unfair behaviour he had inflicted on me throughout our marriage. I didn’t care about my ex’s needs, I was only concerned with the emotional stability of our daughter and to foster her relationship with her father. I have to say I am so proud I chose the high road, as her father died very young, when our daughter was only 12.
Most Important Fact – Finalise Parenting Orders
The number one rule for all women who have a narcissistic ex is ensure you get ‘Parenting Orders’ in black and white as soon as you can. Your ex may not abide by the orders, but it will alleviate any semblance of blackmail towards you. The narcissist will always try and bully, blackmail and threaten you once the relationship is over, and they know your most painful Achilles heel is your children. Having parenting orders legally finalised will alleviate any attempt for your ex to control you in this area.
Facts you must understand about co-parenting with a narcissistic ex
1. The demise of the relationship will always be your fault
It doesn’t matter that your marriage or relationship broke down due to the reckless, vulgar, bad, insane behaviour of your narcissistic ex, it will always be your fault. A narcissist you must understand in their eyes, is a superior human being. Regardless of your ex’s bad behaviour whatever it was, it was your fault, as remember they can never accept any blame in bad behaviour. Accept this as it is simply who they are.
2. They must be the ‘fun parent’
Taking the children to early morning school activities, collecting them from after-school activities, all the mundane actives we need to do as parents, will not fit in with the narcissists schedule. The narcissist puts their schedule, their life before your child’s so prepare yourself for this, and don’t think you can modify the narcissist, you will simply enter in an argument that you will not win. Work around your ex to ensure your child or children’s schedule is cared for in any way you can.
3. Lead by example to demonstrate to your children what a ‘good solid parent’ looks and feels like
When your ex cancels weekend visits, or even holidays at the last minute with a devastating effect on your children, please don’t take this opportunity to badmouth your ex. Comfort your children, and listen to them voice their anger, frustration and hurt, but don’t agree with them, as this will taint their opinion of their father. They will come to the realisation that their parent is a selfish, self-absorbed narcissist when they are old enough on their own volition.
4. Handover Tips
If your ex attempts to start an argument during the handover, simply say ‘Stop’ this is not the time and place, and smile for the children. The children do not need to be implicated in whatever issues you have between the two of you. If this continues on a repeated basis, as your ex wants to bully you, simply have a family member, preferably a male to either be with you or have your parents be there when the children return and you don’t have to see your ex. This works very well, as it disempowers the narcissist.
5. If your ex interferes with communication with your children- seek legal advice
If your ex does not allow you to see your children as specified or speak with them as confirmed, do not let this slide for an extended period. The most important factor here, is your ex will be telling your children that you are not seeing them because you don’t want to. They will be filling their heads up with lies, and sadly sometimes the children believe the delusional stories the narcissist feeds them, so please do not allow time to lapse. If this is happening to you, seek immediate legal advice. If any legal proceedings are taking an extended amount of time, in the waiting time ensure you: –
- Show up
- Demonstrate how much you love them, whatever you say you are going to do, with them or for them, make sure you do it
- Tell them how much you love them, as children can never be told too many times we love them
When we have loved and ended a relationship with a narcissist, we must reflect and understand with exact clarity why we entered into the relationship in the first place, to ensure we don’t repeat this pattern.