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Is it possible to co-parent with a narcissist?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Firm News

Having a family is something many Washington residents aspire to and cherish. However, divorce happens, especially if your former spouse is a narcissist. Is it possible to co-parent with such a person?

Co-parenting with a narcissist is challenging

Co-parenting always requires some flexibility and working together with your former spouse. If your child’s other parent is a narcissist, it can be a challenge and seem even impossible.

A narcissist doesn’t want to compromise or work with you. They believe they are always right. They aren’t open to negotiation even when children are involved. They have an obsessive need for adoration and attention, a lack of empathy, a huge sense of self-importance and difficulty with relationships of all kinds.

Considering these factors, you will have to take charge when the court has ordered you and your former spouse to share parenting duties.

How to co-parent with a narcissist

If you have to co-parent with your narcissistic former spouse, you will have to establish a parenting plan that works for you. You can’t work with them, so you will have to force the issue and stress that this is the plan and you both must stick to it. Keep firm boundaries with them and limit your communication. You might want to communicate only through email if phone calls and texts are too much.

Establish boundaries between your former spouse and your child as well. A narcissist might try to manipulate the child and speak negatively about you to them. It’s normal for a child to have a difficult time when a narcissistic parent is in the picture. Avoid badmouthing your former spouse in their presence, but be sympathetic and comforting when your child needs it.

You should always document everything when co-parenting with a narcissist. That way, you have a record in case something happens in the future and you need help from the court.