Florida Women's Law Group
Tips For Co-Parenting With A NarcissistAuthor: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Apr 01 2021
Co-parenting after a divorce can be difficult even in the most amicable of divorces. When one of the parents is a narcissist it will be anything but cooperative and unfortunately, he will be in your life until they are grown. There’s the old saying “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” but when co-parenting with a narcissist you expect the worst and prepare for the worst. A narcissist needs attention to survive, and nothing will bring him more joy then pushing your buttons to get you riled up. His behavior will never change, and he will continue to try and control you, the children and every situation. While you cannot control him, you can control yourself and how you react to his antics. There are things you can do to try and make it easier and maintain your sanity.
Develop a Parenting Plan – First and foremost, during the divorce set up a detailed parenting plan. This plan will be agreed on by both of you and finalized by a judge, believe me, this will come in handy. A narcissist lives for drama and control, interfere with your children’s schedules and routines and will not adhere to agreements. If they continually violate the parenting plan it can be legally enforced.
The plan needs to be as specific as possible, the more details it includes minimizes the chances of him manipulating it. Your plan should include your children’s daily schedules, visitation schedules, holidays, medical costs, extra-curriculars and how pick-ups and drop-offs will be handled. The more you can cover will help eliminate arguments and keep interactions to a minimum.
Set Boundaries and Limit Communication – A narcissist needs a target to get their supply from to survive. Now that you are no longer married, you are not responsible for making him happy and making him feel good about himself. That doesn’t mean he won’t try, however. He loves to get a reaction from you, even if it is negative, it lets him know that he still has control over you. You need to set firm boundaries with him and limit your communications.
All communication should be through text or email and only about the children and be concise and business-like. Try to not overshare or give him any details about your personal life. When limiting your interactions with him it gives him less of an opportunity to bait you into an argument or make you feel as if you must defend yourself. Treat this relationship as a business and do not let your emotions get involved.
Document EVERYTHING – He will not be able to control his need for vengeance and bullying, especially when it comes to you. Expect texts, email and voicemails that disparage and torment you. Save all of them. Keep a calendar or journal of all the times he is late picking up or dropping off the kids, requests for schedule changes and other details when he deviates from the schedule. You will need this information. He will take you back to court at some time if just to torture you. If you have documentation of him not following the parenting plan it will work in your favor with the judge.
Learn to Control Your Reactions – You know that he is looking to get a reaction out of you, it feeds him to see you cry, get angry or plead with him. The best thing you can do is remain calm, cool and collected. If he can’t get a reaction out of you, he has no power over you. This is not easy, when he is trashing you to your kids, sending you nasty texts and playing the victim, you are going to want to go at him guns blazing. You must be the bigger person, take a deep breath and ignore him. If he sends you a text to instigate you, and he will, do not respond. Take 24 hours to let your emotions settle down and then answer him. Remember, you will never change his mind, he is never wrong and he will never see things your way. Do not give him the satisfaction of letting him get you fired up. More motivation for you is that it will make him crazy that he can no longer control you.
Be an Example – A narcissist does not have the ability to put his children’s needs before his own. He needs to win at everything, and this includes the children. Be prepared for him to use parental alienation as he tries to turn the kids against you. He will bad-mouth you, blame you for the divorce, lie and try to get the kids on his side.
This will be the most heart-breaking part of co-parenting. You will need to take the high road even though you are crumbling inside. You will want to expose him for the piece of *#*& he is but the best thing you can do is stay calm and be the better person. Children are smarter than we think and in time they will see through his façade. Your job is to be the healthy, normal adult. Show your children what it is like to have empathy, respect and compassion. When you provide a stable foundation and unconditional love they learn healthy actions and reactions to life’s ups and downs. Do not sink to his level and retaliate or bad-mouth him to your kids, be the example. Then when you are alone you can scream every swear word you know and get out all your anger without them seeing it.
To get through these years with your narcissistic ex you need to maintain perspective and realize that the majority of his actions are driven by his ego. By not emotionally responding to his tantrums and smear campaigns it ends his power over you. You cannot control him, but you can control yourself. Limit your interactions with him and if he is trying to bait you, walk off, hang up or ignore him. Let your mantra be calm, cool and collected.
A narcissist has a ‘take no prisoners’ mentality and with an inexperienced attorney your future and your children’s is at stake. Your attorney will fight for the best outcome for you, protect you and be your communication source with your husband. Take back control of your life and your future with Florida Women’s Law Group. We were built to help women just like you and are here to support you throughout the entire process and empower you to end up better both financially and emotionally.