Forget Co-Parenting with a Narcissist
The concept of co-parenting with a narcissist does not exist.
There is very little research about narcissistic parenting, narcissistic family dynamics, or the effects that this disorder has on children. Complicating matters is the fact that adult children who do seek therapy do not typically identify growing up in a narcissistic household as the presenting problem.
The following strategies can help you redefine your parenting plan and learn to adjust to solo parenting so you and your children thrive.
9 Strategies for Overcoming Parental Narcissism
1. Minimize contact. High-conflict people love to engage in psychological battle. The hidden agenda is to keep you entrenched in the relationship, even years after the ink has dried on the divorce decree. I have seen few dynamics more toxic than exposing a child to constant below-the-belt blows and mental warfare.
2. Establish firm boundaries. Structure in all settings can provide children with a safe, predictable, and secure buffer from insidious psychological damage. The emotional roller coaster a narcissistic parent perpetrates can be even more detrimental to a child’s healthy ego-development than overt abuse.
3. Avoid feeling sorry for your child. Nobody deserves to grow up with a selfish, self-absorbed adult, but there are worse plights. Showing pity for others only perpetuates a victim mentality and prohibits them from moving forward and seeking healthy relationships of their own.
4. Vow to be calm, pleasant, and non-emotional. This is a Herculean task if ever there was one, but if your ex is gaining emotional intensity and threatening to take you along for the ride, someone’s got to consider the impact on the kids. Deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness and support groups can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being.