Co-parenting can be a difficult task no matter the circumstances. However, if you think your co-parent could possibly be a narcissist, the situation can be made even more difficult. Thankfully, there are some actions you can take when dealing with someone who frequently exhibits narcissistic behaviors. Our law firm is here to help. Continue reading or contact one of our Child Custody Lawyers in Mansfield, MA today!
IS MY CO-PARENT A NARCISSIST?
If the person you are co-parenting with displays narcissistic traits, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are truly a narcissist. Only a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). About six percent of American adults suffer from this disorder. The most common symptoms are an exaggerated feeling of superiority, lack of empathy for others, envious tendencies, a constant desire for attention/praise, and a habit of using manipulation tactics. While everyone has selfish tendencies from time to time, a person might have NPD if they regularly show these symptoms. Even if your co-parent doesn’t have NPD, it can still be unpleasant to maintain a relationship with someone who frequently exhibits any of these behaviors.
A co-parent with narcissistic tendencies might:
- Manipulate the children into turning against you
- Be sensitive to any criticism or constructive feedback
- Refuse to be flexible for schedule arrangements
- Put their own needs before yours and the children’s
WHAT ARE TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY CO-PARENTING WITH A NARCISSISTIC PERSON?
While co-parenting with a narcissistic person can certainly be an adverse experience, there are some actions you can take to alleviate any problems that arrive. The most important thing you can do is ensure that you have a valid legal parenting agreement. You can hire a child custody attorney or mediator to help you and your co-parent come to a reasonable parenting schedule that fits both of your needs (and the children’s needs). Once you have a solid plan in place, you can refer back to it anytime the narcissistic co-parent tries to manipulate their way into altering the plan. A legally binding contract can prevent them from using manipulation or exploitation tactics.
You might also wonder about the well-being of your children in the care of a person who exhibits narcissistic behaviors. You can protect your children from their behavior by providing them with a safe and loving home away from your co-parent. When possible, you should try to keep the children out of any arguments with your co-parent. If the other parent’s actions turn abusive, you can report them to family protective services and seek full custody of your children.
If you believe you’re dealing with a narcissistic co-parent, you should speak with an experienced child custody attorney who has your best interests in mind. The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley is here to fight for you! Contact us today for an initial consultation.