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How to handle co-parenting with a narcissist

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce sets the stage for how couples will co-parent. When one spouse exhibits narcissistic behavior, the other may want to explore ways to deal with it moving forward.

Family court prefers couples to share joint legal and physical custody of children. Unless the narcissistic parent exhibits dangerous behavior, it is typically insufficient grounds for a judge to disqualify parental rights. Learn how to co-parent with a narcissist to get on a path to a better post-divorce relationship.

What is narcissistic behavior?

When someone needs to feel important above all else, it seeps into the way he or she parents. A parent with this disorder may guilt children into doing things they do not want to. A narcissistic parent is also devoid of boundaries and may attempt to maintain control over what their children say, do or even feel.

How does a parenting plan work?

A parenting plan creates a guide for parents to follow after their split. The more specific you make the parenting plan, the easier it becomes to enforce. This may prove vital when co-parenting with a narcissist because of his or her need for control and difficulty with compromise. When parents have a legal document to enforce, it raises the stakes and may even act as evidence of a parent’s poor behavior should a return to court become necessary.

What else can help?

Remain mindful of the way narcissists behave. This personality type likes to enforce rules but not follow them when it does not suit their interests. The other parent may want to begin keeping accurate records of conversations, schedule changes and difficulties with the other. Children should also undergo continuous therapy to help them process the divorce and move forward with a complicated parenting figure.

A court modification in custody or visitation remains an option after divorce if the circumstances warrant it.

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