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Co-parenting with a narcissist: how you can make it work

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Family Law

If you have children, co-parenting continues even after your Indiana divorce. While this can be a daunting prospect under the best circumstances, it may feel virtually impossible if your ex suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or exhibits many of the associated traits.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, narcissistic traits include an overinflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. Your ex may use your kids, friends and family against you, creating conflict and satisfying their need for control. Despite the challenges, you can make co-parenting work.

Establish a legal parenting plan

Many narcissists lack consideration for the feelings and needs of others. They seldom compromise willingly and want as much control in the situation as possible. Your ex may manipulate every aspect not covered by a formal, court-approved plan. As a result, you might consider making the parenting plan as thorough as possible and consider including items such as the following:

  • Who pays for medical expenses and schooling?
  • What is the daily visitation schedule/routine?
  • Who do the children visit on specific special occasions and holidays?

By going through the court system and filing a formal parenting plan, enforcement lies with a neutral third party. This helps you minimize the control your ex has over the situation.

Establish communication methods

Narcissists typically enjoy seeing others upset. If discussions often become heated, they may leave you in emotional turmoil. Avoid confrontations by using a method of communication that enables you to remain distant, such as email. This can help you avoid using your children as go-betweens.

You can establish acceptable communication methods in the parenting plan. If your ex sends an email that causes an emotional response, you can take your time responding. Gather your thoughts and put distance between them and you before answering the message. Understanding your options when creating a comprehensive parenting plan is critical. It can help you minimize the control your ex has and lets you move forward with your lives.