14 Rules For Co-Parenting With A Narcissist – Master the Art

To have a smooth life, either after separating or divorcing a narcissist, you need to know the Rules For Co-Parenting With A Narcissist, especially for the sake of your children. This will ensure the tranquility of your life and also save your children from all the trauma that the narcissistic parent in the relationship may create.

Shared parenting arrangements may be tough on kids and on the parents too. It may even be tougher when one of the parents is a narcissist. Co-parenting involves two partners who are either separated, not in a relationship or are not living together. Even under the best circumstances, it is difficult to communicate, make decisions for your kids, decide upon duties and other important aspects become difficult when you decide to co-parent.

In simple normal conditions, this may seem a little difficult initially but it may familiarize you soon once you start practicing and check the practicality of the co-parenting methods, rules, and techniques. But what happens when you have to share the task of co-parenting with someone who displays narcissistic traits?

Being in a relationship and living under the same roof may seem like a task with the narcissist, so it may seem intimidating once you part ways with them and decide on co-parenting for the sake of your children.

Daunting as it may seem, co-parenting is actually not as tough as you might have imagined. Just establishing a few rules, and boundaries, avoiding some topics, ignoring the manipulation at times and a few more steps can actually make co-parenting with a narcissist easier than you might have expected.

Is Co-Parenting with a narcissist possible?

Co-parenting involves two partners who are either separated, not in a relationship or are not living together. Even under the best circumstances, it is difficult to communicate, make decisions for your kids, decide upon duties and other important aspects become difficult when you decide to co-parent.

Shared parenting arrangements may be tough on kids and on the parents too. It may even be tougher when one of the parents is a narcissist. However co-parenting with a narcissistic partner is possible in a safe and efficient way by communicating efficiently, keeping minimal expectations, organizing responsibilities, and building healthy boundaries.

14 Rules For Co-Parenting With A Narcissist

1. Understand that you are co-parenting with a narcissist

Dealing with an ex is difficult, but it becomes even more overwhelming when you have to deal with a narcissistic narcissist. You need to acknowledge the fact that you are dealing with someone who is emotionally draining and can cause stress for you and your children too.

Also, prepare your children and disclose the facts about the narcissistic parent to them too. They might hesitate to believe so but when you explain the details and certain reasons for their toxic behavior they might eventually get through the situation. This way you and the children are both aware of the tyrant narcissist you must face.

Thus learning more about certain toxic traits and finding ways to make co-parenting easier can actually create a healthy environment for you and your children. Acknowledge your children of the specific aspects and traits of a narcissist when they are mature enough to understand so that the transition between parents becomes easier.

The important traits that need to be understood and highlighted are,

  • Lack of Empathy
  • Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Abuse
  • Manipulation and control
  • No concept of maintaining boundaries
  • Belittling and degrading others to prove a point
  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • The sense of entitlement and self-worth

2. Maintaining Communication

Communicating with a narcissist is challenging, especially after parting ways. However, the best way to ensure that the co-parenting plan works effortlessly is by maintaining healthy communication. Maintaining effective communication is effective for you and your children too.

Here are some tips to keep the communication healthy and efficient,

  • It is expected while communicating with a narcissist that they may behave vigorously and in a hostile manner, but you need to keep your calm and composure to avoid getting into unwanted conflicts.
  • Using “I” statements to avoid accusations.
  • Try to stay away from conflicts and manipulative tactics, if you have to be a part of any sort of toxicity just dodge it by changing the topic.
  • Make a habit of using shared communication platforms for important dates, messaging apps for texting, or using emails to share mutual information to avoid direct contact.
  • Avoid involving personal issues or feelings with your narcissistic ex. This may ensure that the conversations are to the point and completely related to co-parenting only.
  • Seeking professional help or having a mediator if the process of communication seems strenuous.

3. Managing your emotional well-being

Dealing with a narcissist is strenuous and emotionally draining, especially after separation and trying to work out the co-parenting methods. Dealing with all these may make your life a little tedious, so it is important to ensure your emotional well-being.

When you have found your freedom from all the trauma in your life by parting ways with the narcissist, it becomes difficult to once again incorporate the toxicity while you co-parent. The navigation of this dynamic change can be made smooth by taking extra care of your emotional well-being. The same goes for your children, ensure their well-being as they would be facing both parents simultaneously.

4. Avoid getting into power struggles

Narcissists would always provoke you to fight for power. They always need a tight grip to gain control and power in all situations. They might try the same while co-parenting. Hence remember here that the focus of the whole co-parenting is your children and their best interests and not proving who is more capable, or powerful here.

The best way to avoid power struggles is by establishing boundaries and claiming consequences when they break those boundaries.

How to deal with power struggles?

Power struggles may still occur as you are dealing with a narcissist, but here are ways to control them,

  • You cannot control the narcissist’s responses, but you can control your own responses.
  • The best way to avoid power struggles is by being calm.
  • Remember your children’s needs and their priorities, that would help you in maintaining your composure.
  • If the situation goes out of control, you may seek a mediator which can include friends, family, or even a professional therapist.

5. Document Everything

When dealing with a narcissist, it is important to keep a record of every important interaction, agreement, and document. Write notes or maintain records to avoid misunderstanding in the future.

If you are dealing with a narcissist who is strong-headedly trying to seek revenge by hook or crook as you have separated ways with them, then the co-parenting situation may get difficult, so documenting everything is important to keep records. Keep a record of all conversations, texts, emails, and everything related to them blackmailing you for seeking their revenge. This documentation may be useful if the matter gets out of hand and it becomes necessary to seek legal action against them.

6. Building a Support Network

It is emotionally and mentally draining when you have a narcissistic ex and you have to co-parent with them. You can let go of the trauma by seeking help from people who care about you and also find ways to cope with your ex-narcissistic partner by getting some professional help.

You can also connect with other parents who have gone through similar experiences in life. Connecting with such parents socially can bring validation, emotional support, and valuable perceptions. Do not hesitate to reach out to friends and family for emotional support and also join some social groups, or some communities or therapy groups that help in healing and dealing with trauma.

You may also seek support from your friends and family to help you out with childcare.

7. Protect your kids from conflict and negativity

Do not get into any conflict with your ex-narcissistic partner in front of your kids as this might affect their emotional and mental health. Conflicts may cause stress, anxiety, sadness, fear, and distress for your children.

If your partner insists to continue fighting in from of your children by provoking you and calling names you could just ask your children to leave the premises or just ignore the narcisist.

8. Accept the situation as it is

Accepting things as they are, is the best way to adjust with a narcissistic co-parent. This seems a better option than changing them. It is almost impossible to change the narcissist, so it is better to accept things as they come but yes it is also important to speak up against the negativity that they try to fill up in your life.

9. Make a Parenting Plan

It is a necessity to create an efficient parenting plan while dealing with a narcissist as the co-parent of your children. This will make sure that everyone is aware of how things may work out and children also know what is expected from them when they have to spend time with their respective parents.

A parenting plan should be considered a serious agreement that may or may not be legalized and should be agreed upon by both co-parents. Also, you may add consequences when the contract may be breached by either of the parents.

10. Focus on your child’s best interests

When dealing with a narcissistic co-parent, the crucial point is to focus on your child’s best interests. Set your priority list around your child’s welfare. Narcissists often brag about how they are good with kids and can handle them efficiently, but their priority is just themselves and they may just neglect the responsibility of the child. So it comes to you in total to think and plan in the best interest of your children.

11. Set and Maintain clear boundaries

Narcissists hardly respect other people’s boundaries and often try to cross them thus it becomes crucial to mark your boundaries clearly as their behavior is ego-driven. Setting boundaries might upset the narcissistic co-parent at first, but with time this would ensure your mental peace, individuality, and privacy.

You decide for yourself and your children what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Setting boundaries would allow you to not break them thus preventing you from giving into narcissistic manipulative tactics. Thus it may be advisable to build and implement healthy co-parenting boundaries.

12. Be empathetic with your children

Narcissists have a limited capacity for empathy and often view others as objects to serve their needs, desires, and wishes. Thus they may also treat the children in the same way. What you have to do is be open about the divorce with the children, and also acknowledge them regarding narcissism and how that can affect a person’s conduct. How should the children cope with such a parent with narcissistic traits and maintain their well-being?

If your child is younger they may not be able to understand the meaning of narcissism, and might just go around repeating whatever they learned, and, might also discuss the same with their father. So be careful about your younger children. If your children are mature enough, they will understand this and try to find ways to cope with their narcissistic parent.

Children may easily absorb the wrong and negative behavior of their narcissistic parent. So explain to them that this behavior is not appropriate and not normal.

Here one thing is important that the children need to know that it is not their fault and they do not need to be defensive and insecure with everyone.

If your children are of a mature age, they might find ways to cope with all the anger, manipulation, and abuse in their own creative ways.

13. Maintain Perspective

When you are co-parenting with a narcissist, it is possible that you may lose your perspective in the meantime. While you have a heated situation with the narcissist, you may want to step aside from the issue and focus on the real deal which is the children’s welfare and well-being.

Do not let the narcissistic co-parent seek what they wish to satisfy their inflated sense of self and egos, instead keep your energy focused on maintaining the well-being of your children.

14. Make everything Legal

The narcissistic co-parent would like to have a dn would fight for as many child custody rights as possible. Narcissists may be more interested in winning the child custody case, more than actually caring for the child’s welfare. They just want to be proven and chosen as faultless and perfect parents in the eyes of the law. Thus they might be doing their best to win the child custody rights.

Thus having things work out lawfully might be best for everyone, this way the narcissist cannot manipulate you or the kids into some low tricks and win the children over. Handling things lawfully may limit their opportunities to abuse and manipulate the children and disregard their responsibilities.

Final Thoughts

Daunting as it may seem, co-parenting is actually not as tough as you might have imagined. Just establishing a few rules, and boundaries, avoiding some topics, ignoring the manipulation at times and a few more steps can actually make co-parenting with a narcissist easier than you might have expected.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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