A Compassionate Advocate
For Arizona Families

Co-parenting with a narcissistic individual

Parenting after divorce is challenging and emotionally taxing under any circumstances, and although co-parenting is a positive choice in many cases, raising your child with a parent who has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be extremely difficult.

At times you might feel that parenting with them is impossible. After all, the most common characteristics of people with NPD include:

  • Seeing their child as a source of validation
  • They shame their child’s emotions
  • They play favorites among their children
  • They have poor boundaries
  • They can expect the child to be a caregiver
  • They put their own needs first

Co-parenting with an individual who has NPD is challenging, to say the least. However, many parents find themselves in this situation and wonder what they can do to successfully continue to parent their child and do what is best for them while simultaneously trying to minimize the damage caused by the other parent.

How to cope and manage

  • Accept what is happening. It is impossible to change the other person; accepting this will help you focus on managing your day-to-day matters instead of fighting against what you have no control over.
  • Resist their attempts to gaslight you. People with NPD are known to gaslight people, which is the act of making someone feel that they are crazy or delusional. Ignoring their twisted reality and remaining confident in what you know to be true is critical in coping with them.
  • Prioritize self-compassion and self-care. Dealing with a narcissistic individual is challenging and tiring for anyone, especially if they are your child’s other parent. Making sure you have a support system and care for yourself as much as possible will give you the energy to deal with the day-to-day difficulties of co-parenting with a person with NPD.

Co-parenting after divorce presents challenges in every situation, but when one parent has a personality disorder, it can make parenting much harder and more difficult for you and your children.

Knowing what to do and how to react to their actions is critical to surviving and thriving and ensuring your child’s emotional safety and stability.