Coparenting with a narcissist isn’t easy. They may always want to be in control and to be “right” even though they may not be at all. It’s possible for you to get through troubling disputes and coparenting issues even if your ex-spouse is a narcissist, though.
What you need to learn as a parent without this narcissistic trait is that you can, and should, shut down the other person in a way that reduces their impact on you and your relationship with your child. How can you do that? Here are three tips.
- Remember that a narcissist doesn’t care about your emotional needs
You may be upset about the other parent bringing home your child late, but they won’t care if they’re a narcissist. They are more concerned about their own needs. To shut this down and improve your situation, don’t feed into the other person’s actions. Don’t act upset, just make a point-blank statement that they were late and that you noted it. Then, if it happens again, go straight to your attorney.
- Learn to use praise rather than criticism
Narcissists are tricky in that they want to be praised and can become hostile when criticized. In your situation, you could use this to your advantage by praising when they are early or on time. You could point out dissatisfaction without finger-pointing. For example, “I would appreciate it if Sam was home at 10:00 p.m.” This doesn’t blame the other person, but it points out what you want.
- Don’t ignore the challenges
If the other parent is challenging you and causing real problems in your life, don’t delay in getting help to deal with this issue. When a narcissist is angry or upset, they can do things that are harmful to you and your relationship with your child. If they’re being vulgar, rude or intentionally causing conflicts, then make sure you get the court involved.
It isn’t easy to coparent with a narcissist, but it’s possible to minimize conflict and address conflicts when they do occur. If you are having a lot of issues with your coparent, you may want to consider returning to court to modify your custody schedule and parenting plan.