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How can effectively co-parent with a narcissist?

While the term narcissist gets thrown around quite a bit these days, parenting with an ex who exhibits narcissistic tendencies greatly complicates a divorce. It is in the best interest of both parties to act civilly and respectfully to ensure their children remain unaffected by the divorce proceedings. 

Unfortunately, your ex may let personal issues and grievances get in the way of good parenting, which can have a negative impact on the parenting plan you have developed. Healthline offers the following recommendations if you find yourself constantly butting heads with a narcissistic ex-spouse. 

Create boundaries and keep them

While it is normally best to be flexible when it comes to your parenting plan, your ex might take advantage of this flexibility at every turn. Stick to the provisions laid out in your parenting plan and do not deviate, no matter what your former spouse has to say about it. For example, if your ex is consistently late when picking up your child for visits, insist they arrive on time or it may affect the length of time they can spend with your child. 

Try to keep your emotions in check

A person with narcissistic tendencies is likely to antagonize you emotionally in order to elicit a response. When you react in a strong way, you will only feed into this cycle. Instead, keep your emotions in check the best you can. If your ex leaves a nasty message for you via voicemail, take some time and reply via text or email. That way, you can really think about what you are going to say and withhold your angry emotions to the best of your ability. 

Keep records regarding your ex’s behavior

At some point, you may need to get the court involved if your ex routinely ignores your custody agreement. Your case will be backed up by evidence, which can include call logs, records of the dates and times when your ex was late or absent, or testimony from others in your child’s life (such as babysitters or teaching staff). This evidence improves the chance that the court will take decisive action to prevent your ex’s alienating behavior.