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Co-parenting is a dance to learn and it may always require effort for both parties involved, however, co-parenting with someone who is truly diagnosed with the personality disorder known as narcissism may require extra effort in order to build strength and reduce frustration and stress.
Below are 4 tips to help make this journey of parenting with another easier:
Narcissists will often not respect your boundaries, therefore, there is constant testing and pushing of them. Make a list of 5-10 important boundaries for you in your parenting relationship and stick to those. You may need to repeat them until you sound like a broken record, but this is important that you stay strong and consistent in these boundaries so that they know you wont budge.
I.E. “I need a week notice if you want to see our child over the weekend so that I can plan.”
We can only control what goes on in our own home. If we spend too much energy on what we cant control we will wind up feeling defeated and discouraged. Whatever you think is lacking in the other home (ex: structure, empathy, respect), make a priority in your home. Try to do something consistent and routine when you make the transition back to your home with the child(ren).
I.E. before we make the transition to the other parents house we go out for froyo, when you make the transition to come back to your house you listen to the same song on the way home
Come up with a parenting plan and have it documented and signed. If necessary, get lawyers and notaries involved to ensure validity. Stick to the parenting plan and do not budge if they try to get you to change up or sway anything in the parenting plan because it can come back to bite you. Essential things to include in the parenting plan: drop off/pick up information, discipline, holiday info, extracurricular info, device info.
Remember: this may look different in both households but still come up with a plan for both households if necessary
Although this may be cliché, it is most important. Co-parenting with someone that is constantly feeding negativity into your life can wear you down. Make sure you have a support network and therapist to listen and help guide you on this journey. Do one “BIG” thing for yourself each week and tell yourself “I’m doing this because I love you.” Live each day with little self care gifts to yourself along the way. Remember you are doing the best you can!
I.E. A BIG self care may look like getting a mani/pedi
A little daily self care may look like drinking your favorite tea each night before bed