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How do you co-parent when your ex is a narcissist?

Being married to a narcissist was a living nightmare. You may be relieved to finally be free of him or her, but you still have to share the parenting with your ex. Unfortunately, narcissists often continue to make life difficult for their exes for as long as they maintain contact with them. You and other Michigan parents who are divorced from narcissists might wonder if it is possible to co-parent.

The answer is yes, but it is rarely easy. This does not mean that you have the luxury of cutting off your ex if he or she has visitation rights. Psychology Today has provided the following tips on getting through the parenting years with a narcissistic ex-spouse:

  • Understand that narcissists thrive on drama and contention. Your ex will try to look like the good guy, while painting you as the crazy or bad parent. If you realize this, you may avoid letting it get under your skin.
  • Refrain from arguing with your ex in front of your children, or arguing at all. Reason and logic simply do not get through to narcissists. To keep your sanity, you will need to set boundaries and stick with them. This may include writing down your rules and texting or emailing them to your ex, repetitively, if he or she challenges you. Your ex will not be able to say that he or she was unaware of your expectations.
  • Whenever possible, limit your conversations with your ex to text message or email, so you have a written record. Keep screenshots and copies of written communication with your ex.
  • Look for signs of anxiety or depression in your child, which are common among those who are subjected to a narcissist’s abuse. If your child is in counseling, you may need to seek a court order to prevent your ex from switching counselors or trying to end the counseling.

Dealing with a narcissist can be emotionally damaging and exhausting. You may need legal advice if your ex continually tries to make it difficult to parent your child.