How to Coparent with a Narcissist
If your ex spouse is a narcissist, that was likely one of the major reasons behind your divorce. While your marriage may be over, if children are involved, you and your ex have a responsibility to remain linked for the sake of your children. Coparenting with a narcissist can be challenging. If your ex is constantly seeking to antagonize you, belittle you, and rile you up, making parenting decisions together can be extremely difficult. While there is no magic trick that can make coparenting with a narcissist suddenly easier, there are a few tips and tricks you can employ to keep things smooth between the two of you.
Establish a Detailed Custody Agreement
If you know that parenting with your ex will be difficult in the future, seek the help of a qualified family law attorney. Inform the attorney of your spouse’s behavior, and be sure that every detail of your custody agreement is mapped out. Make important decisions like who is paying for what, and what your parenting schedule looks like, so that nothing can be questioned later. An attorney will also be able to provide advice on how to parent in high conflict situations.
Take Care of Yourself
Coparenting with a high conflict individual can be stressful. For you to be the best parent you can be to your child, you need to take care of yourself. Find an outlet, like exercising or meditation, or meet with professional help like a counselor or therapist. When it comes time to see or speak to your ex, be prepared, level headed, and ready to make the best decisions you can for your child. If your ex sees you sweat, they will only attack you more. For this reason, do your best to avoid arguing with your ex. No matter how badly you feel the urge to strike back at your ex, prioritize your child. Narcissists feed off of making their victims feel upset, so the more you argue, the more likely the attacks from your ex will continue.
As we stated earlier, many narcissists thrive when they notice they are upsetting their victim. To protect both you and your child, be prepared to set boundaries. Establish how you will communicate with your ex. Specialists recommend email, as you can think calmly about your words as you write them, and review what you have written before sending it. Phone calls can lead to frustration and arguing between you and your ex, and you want to keep conflict to a minimum. If your ex desires to speak to your child while they are in your care, establish the amount of time they can speak, and the number of calls they can make.
Seek the Help of a Parent Coordinator
In many high-conflict cases, a judge can choose to appoint a parent coordinator. A parent coordinator is a specialist trained in dealing with high conflict parenting situations. They can help coordinate communication between both coparents, and can also assist with scheduling out parenting time. A parenting coordinator can be a stress reliever for both you and your child.
Keep Record of Everything
Many attorneys recommend keeping a record of everything that transpires between you, your ex, and your child. If your ex missed parenting time with your child, make a note of it. Keep records of the phone calls you and your child receive from your ex, including the number of calls you receive and the time of day they came in. Additionally, note what the conversation was about, and use direct quotes if possible. All of this information will be useful if future legal action is necessary to protect you or your child.
Parenting with a narcissist is not easy, and at times, you may wish to fight back. Ultimately, remind yourself that no matter how badly your ex is upsetting you, the goal of the entire situation is to keep your child healthy and safe. In these types of difficult situations, working with a qualified DuPage County family law attorney is especially necessary. At the Abear Law Offices, our team of skilled divorce and family law attorneys has years of combined experience handling a wide variety of cases. Contact a member of our team today at 630-904-3033 to learn more about our services, and to schedule a consultation to review your case.