Are you co-parenting with a narcissist?
It can be a challenging experience because of how narcissists manipulate and make you feel. Narcissist parents are often quite controlling and engaging to form power struggles in the relationship, as they have yet to let go of their ego. And, how they treat their children can make you cringe.
When a narcissist sees you happy, they will fear you the most because they feel like they are losing the ability to gaslight you. Most often they will play the victim to keep you in the toxic cycle begging them to change. Whatever you do, don’t fall for it. To make things easier on yourself and find inner peace, there are some things that you can do to disarm the narcissistic co-parent.
Here 5 Co-Parenting Tips To Disarm The Narcissist Parent:
1. Don’t Sink To Their Level, Stay Outside Of The Perceived Conflict
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and sink to someone else’s level, but it’s important to stay outside of the conflict. Responding with anger or pointing the finger back at them will only escalate the situation and make it harder to resolve. This keeps the power struggle alive.
Try walking away for a few minutes, or even hours, to give yourself time to calm down and approach the situation objectively. Self-love will be vital to keeping yourself collected and not allowing them to emotionally trigger you to attack back.
2. Don’t Feed Their Ego, Stay Children Centered
We know narcissists have big egos and are never short on their demands to control the narrative. They struggle to see anything outside of themselves and will continue to fight for control over the parenting of children as well.
They will use manipulation tactics to get you to cave and feel sorry for them, but this is the last thing you want to do when they start flipping the script or throwing a fit. The narcissist is no different than a two year old having a tantrum to get their way. As parents, you know it is not ideal to give into children’s tantrums but to ignore the poor behavior.
When you keep a child-centered approach in your communication you are attempting to cease the fire they are creating. You no longer need to put up with their behavior or ego demands because this only keeps their false narrative thriving. This will require being constructive, concise, and calm in asserting what best meets your children’s needs.
3. Don’t Take Responsibility For Their Emotion, Stay Grounded In Values
People pleasers are often taken advantage of because they put others first. The narcissist has a way of making others feel bad for them and projecting their emotions onto others. Their gaslighting techniques are typically never short of avoiding responsibility for their actions or their emotions. This is not your job as we are all responsible for processing our own emotions.
It is important to stay grounded in your values and know what you stand for. This gives you a clear roadmap to follow when things feel like they are spiraling out of control. Your values will guide you in doing what is best for you and your children. We recommend determining your top five core values to operate from in your home and with your co-parent.
4.Don’t Use Ultimatums, Stay Calm And Set Boundaries
People use ultimatums as a way to try and control the other person. They are often seen as threats, demanding requests, and backfire as soon as they are delivered. This will only increase the conflict in the co-parenting relationship.
Boundaries are useful in that they honor respect for yourself while simultaneously respecting the co-parenting relationship. They are established from a We Mindset to best meet the needs of the parents and the children. Being concise and constructive in your boundaries gives each parent a say to move to calmer waters.
5. Don’t Give Them Negative Emotion, Stay Matter Of A Fact
When you get emotional, you stop thinking straight and make bad decisions. Also, the more emotion you give a narcissist the more they will use it against you to gain control over the situation. They are energy vampires and need to feed off others’ emotions to fulfill the void deep within themselves.
It’s important to stay calm and logical when communicating with them as it’s in the best interest of your mental health and keeps you from getting trapped in the toxic cycle. You can achieve this by staying matter-of-fact and not giving the other person any emotion to work with. This will help them understand your point of view better which will allow the resolution to be presented.
If you find yourself in a co-parenting relationship where you are constantly at a crossroad with your child’s narcissist parent, it’s time to take a step back and assess the situation. It may be that you are falling into one of these five traps and not even realizing it because it's all you know with them. Set-up a call today for more information on how to deal with difficult people without sacrificing your own sanity or values.