5 Tips for Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

A narcissist is a person who admires themselves to an excessive degree. They want to talk about themselves constantly. They have to be the best at everything, which makes them incredibly competitive. If you start a conversation about any topic, they can turn that topic around to themselves. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, you know how draining it can be. It’s likely the reason that you severed the relationship. That doesn’t mean you’re done with this person if you have children together. It can be tough co-parenting with a narcissist, but it’s possible if you make a plan.

Communication Boundaries

For most narcissists, it’s difficult for them to relinquish control. They also live for moments when they can get you completely riled. You have to be aware of the patterns of your particular narcissist. It’s helpful if you strive for communication with your ex on your own terms. Instead of communicating over the phone, insist that you use texts or emails. It’ll give you more time to consider your responses, and you’ll have a record of what was said. When the child is involved in communication, make sure there are clear boundaries of when the child can communicate with your ex.

Parent Coordinator

If you have trouble setting clear boundaries or your ex willfully ignores your attempts at boundaries, you can have the court appoint a special coordinator. This person is specially trained and works to work with both sides to set up a schedule for visitation and communication. It’ll reduce your stress to have someone who will enforce the boundaries. When your stress is reduced, that will reflect in your children too. Your attorney should be able to help you get a parent coordinator appointed by the court.

Emotional Support

The reactions you have to your ex could be some of the same reactions that people have when they’ve been a victim of a traumatic past. Don’t assume that you can handle the person now that you’re out of the relationship. If you’re co-parenting, you’re not completely out of the relationship at all. Find a therapist who has dealt with this kind of emotional relationship. A therapist for the children is important too. Make sure that the entire family is treated and given skills for dealing with difficult people in general and their parent in particular.

Document Everything

The narcissist can be a master manipulator who can actually make you doubt your own sanity at times. For this reason, it’s important to have documentation of everything. You can do this with communications when you ensure that you talk by email or text. Keep a calendar of everything including visitation. While this won’t have any sway with your ex, it’s helpful when you have to take him or her to court for some reason.

Keep Conflict from Children

It’s never a good idea to talk badly about the other parent with the child. If your ex does something that hurts the child, it can be difficult to hold yourself to that promise. In general terms, you can give them the tools to deal with difficult people. Vent to your therapist or friends if you need to talk about your ex.

There’s no magic for co-parenting with a narcissist when you have to co-parent with him or her. All you can do it limit your communication and ensure that you’re documenting every interaction. Ask your lawyer to put you in touch with a parent coordinator if boundaries are difficult.