If you are coParenting with a narcissist, you will be “surviving coParenting,” as the experience will not be cooperative. I should know. I was married to the same one twice.
You are surviving coParenting because you will be engaging very differently than the coParent who is not working with a narcissist. This type of person has such an elevated sense of self importance and egotism that the world revolves around “them” only.
My advice is to just assume that you will be doing everything with your child. Your ex, who is the narcissist, is too focused on just themselves, which includes their career or a new partner.
They will also be trying to argue with you and manipulate you. They will also be trying to talk you into a situation when you agree with them on all levels. Everything is your fault, he or she will say, because they are perfect and they would never do anything wrong. Things can always be better. If you throw a kid party, they will complain about missing the chips.
Here are some helpful tips that I have learned from my own experience in coParenting with a narcissist.
- Understand that not everything is your fault and just let it go. Don’t take anything personally.
- Do not engage. Communicate with simple information. Yes and no answers.
- Don’t try to defend yourself. Disengage when the subject of the child gets off track.
- Keep the kids in mind, first and only.
- Do not look for any camaraderie. Don’t expect the narcissist to be a buddy.
- Do not look for or expect any compassion.
- Don’t get caught in the trap of telling them more about your life. They will fish for information and then most likely will use it against you.
- Ignore their attempts to get back together. I re-married my ex, a narcissist. It was all lies. They will always try to charm you to get back together with them. They figure you would want to get back together with them. They think, “how could she/not”?
- Don’t buy into any of their compliments. Oh, my hair looks nice today? Okay, what time are you picking up the kid?
- You are best to compliment a narcissist. If you make it all about them, they are more agreeable!
Here is another great article, offering advice on coParenting with a narcissist.
Author Debbie Ficarra has been the proud owner of La Canada preschool, located outside of Loa Angeles, for 13 years. Prior to becoming a mother to three daughters, Ficarra gained her childhood education, acquiring her AA in Child Development and BA and Masters in Human Development. She also took the required coursework for a degree in Marriage and Family. Ficarra then purchased La Cañada Preschool, which was a dream come true. As a divorcee, and now newly married, Ficarra also knows about working through a divorce with young children. Her main goal in life – family and at work – is to provide the best environment for her preschool students that range between the ages of two and five.