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How to coParent with a Narcissist

Yes, your ex is difficult, maybe even impossible, but is he/she really a narcissist? What you need to know when you think your coParenter is a narcissist.
(1 minute 44 seconds read)

Hon. Sherrill Ellsworth (RET)
Judge Ellsworth was one of the court's most respected and admired bench officers. She retired from the bench to focus on having a greater impact on today’s families by making our courts more accessible, effective, and efficient.

How to coParent with a Narcissist

If you want to know how to coParent with a narcissist, first make sure you are actually dealing with a “real” and not perceived narcissist or other personality disorder.

Real Narcissism

If, in fact, you are dealing with a genuine case of narcissism, the best course of action would be, in all likelihood,  intervention, usage of a neutral third party, mediation, and counseling. Each party will also have to do a lot of hard work to transcend the disorder or illness and be child-centered in your coParenting.

Perceived Narcissism

If you want to learn how to coParent with a difficult person, that is a pony with different stripes, but here are a few strategies to help you deal with a difficult coParenter.

Take Stock

First, don’t add fuel to the fire by calling your coParenter a narcissist or other names. Take a step away from the conflict to access the best use of your emotional, financial, and physical resources. Taking inventory or stock of your life helps you be better equipped to let things that really don’t matter to you slide. Why incite a fight when it is something that you may not really care about?

Communicate in Bite-Sized Chunks

Next, with deliberateness, begin to communicate with your ex in small bits of information or making small requests. This may be difficult because it is a slow process. When your coParenter is responsive, however, the outcome is positive—not because you got your way, but because it is a child-centered approach.

Establish Rapport

Praise your coParenter with sincerity. Expand the dialogue over time and consider inviting a third party who is neutral to assist you and your coParenter to be able to sort through decision-making without running back to court.

Whatever you do, don’t call names or affix false labels like narcissism. Bones may not be broken but words can sting and are incendiary, capable of burning up every hope or expectation of child-centric decision making.

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