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  • Lynn Catalano

How to Co-Parent with Your Narcissistic Ex

After coaching many clients 1:1 while they are co-parenting with their narcissistic ex, I’ve developed

5 critical factors to be aware of:

  1. Show your high emotional intelligence – keep your emotions in check. Don’t take their bait. Don’t react to their provocation.

  2. Be present with your children. Be aware of any changes in your children. Remember Ted Lasso – Be curious, not judgmental. Ask great questions and develop an open, genuine relationship with them, no matter their age. As they grow, they will know they can depend on you and that you are genuinely interested in their life.

  3. Try to maintain peace with your ex. Remember, you no longer have to be married to this person or live with them. Your children are the only important thing you share. Focus on the children. Sometimes it may be necessary to empathize with your narcissistic ex. I know how difficult that sounds. Believe it or not, they actually like when you empathize with them. Say something like “I understand that must make you angry.” It will go a long way. But you should still document everything.

  4. Be aware of the effect this type of behavior has on your child. Children who lie about or exaggerate the negative qualities of one parent to please the other are taught a very dangerous skill: how to manipulate the truth to advance one’s cause at the expense of others. This is not a quality that most parents want their children to learn and for good reason.

  5. Find professional support. This is exactly why people hire me. I help give you clarity and understanding of how your narcissistic ex operates. I also guide you through possible parenting issues and give you solutions. It’s critical to talk to someone but make sure they are familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. I only coach people who’ve suffered narcissistic abuse.

Often, the narcissistic ex sets a course to rewrite history and find a replacement for you (the non narcissist parent). This seems to be a heightened form of gaslighting. They want your children to forget about you completely. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to be aware of the signs.

Parental Alienation

What is it? Parental alienation occurs when a child refuses to have a relationship with a parent because of the manipulation, (like telling them exaggerated or false information) by the other parent. This often happens during a divorce or custody battle.

What are signs of parental alienation?

  • Defying court orders

  • Talking negatively with derogatory comments about the other parent

  • Attempting to or outright restricting the time the child can spend with the other parent

  • Blaming the other parent for the divorce

  • Threatening to withhold affection if the child expresses positive thoughts or feelings about the other parent

How is this the person I was once in love with?

Unfortunately, since everything is a competition to them, narcissists are more concerned with winning than actually having a relationship with anyone including their children. They see their children as props in their “show.” I talked about this in a previous blog:

“Discovering your parent is a narcissist and realizing they’ll never be the parent you need is incredibly difficult and depressing. More people than you realize are affected by this and grow up with low self-esteem, filled with shame and guilt.”

Be the dependable parent for your children. If you’ve suffered narcissistic abuse from a toxic relationship, it helps enormously to talk to someone. I’m a narcissistic abuse recovery coach and a survivor of narcissistic abuse and now I coach people on their healing journey. I give people clarity, validation & comfort.

Click here and book a free session with me. We’ll figure out if I can help you.

Learn more about me here:

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