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How to co-parent with a narcissist

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Child Custody and Visitation

In California, there are many people who may serve in a co-parenting role. Usually, co-parents are separated partners or spouses who are parents of a child; however, they are not always biological parents. Co-parenting can sometimes be difficult, and this is especially true if one of the parties involved is a narcissist. It can seem nearly impossible to co-parent with a narcissist, but there are a couple important things that co-parents can do to make the challenge more manageable.

Set strict boundaries

Narcissists want total control of everyone and everything, and they do not respect the boundaries of others. In healthier relationships, parents and co-parents can work together enough to be friends or share details of their personal lives. However, narcissists tend to use personal information to overstep boundaries or create other problems for their ex-partners. For co-parents contending with a narcissist, it is better to exchange only the information that the narcissist needs to know, such as the terms of the child custody agreement and what will benefit the children. Work schedules and other information that may affect visiting times can also be shared. There is no need to share personal hobbies or events that happen when the narcissist has the children. Setting strict boundaries limits how much a narcissist can impede on a co-parent’s time with children.

Develop a parallel parenting structure

This strategy takes persistence and a lot of effort. However, it can help limit a narcissist’s interference even more. Setting up a parallel parenting structure involves establishing legal boundaries in addition to personal boundaries. For co-parents who struggle to maintain civility when communicating with a narcissist, this option can be especially beneficial.

In addition to trying to intrude on the co-parent’s time with the kids, a narcissist may demand to know all the details of the visit. Narcissists often ask kids to take photos or videos during their time with the co-parent. They may show little regard for custody schedules. For anyone who suspects that a former partner may be a narcissist, it helps to learn more about the common narcissism signs and behaviors to take measures to co-parent successfully.